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The Kingdom of Love and Other Poems by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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(Oh! silent moon, what secrets do you hide!)

The warm red lips of thirsting love
On cheek and brow were pressed;
As the bees know where honeys grow,
They sought her mouth, her breast.
(Oh! the dead moon holds many a dead delight.)

The speaker stirred and gruffly spake,
"Come, wife, where have you been?"
She whispered low, "Dear God, I go -
But 'tis the seventh sin."
(Oh! the sad secrets of that orb of white.)


Don't look for the flaws as you go through life;
And even when you find them,
It is wise and kind to be somewhat blind
And look for the virtue behind them.
For the cloudiest night has a hint of light
Somewhere in its shadows hiding;
It is better by far to hunt for a star,
Than the spots on the sun abiding.

The current of life runs ever away
To the bosom of God's great ocean.
Don't set your force 'gainst the river's course
And think to alter its motion.
Don't waste a curse on the universe -
Remember it lived before you.
Don't butt at the storm with your puny form,
But bend and let it go o'er you.

The world will never adjust itself
To suit your whims to the letter.
Some things must go wrong your whole life long,
And the sooner you know it the better.
It is folly to fight with the Infinite,
And go under at last in the wrestle;
The wiser man shapes into God's plan
As water shapes into a vessel.


The gate was thrown open, I rode out alone,
More proud than a monarch who sits on a throne.
I am but a jockey, yet shout upon shout
Went up from the people who watched me ride out;
And the cheers that rang forth from that warm-hearted crowd,
Were as earnest as those to which monarch e'er bowed.

My heart thrilled with pleasure so keen it was pain
As I patted my Salvator's soft silken mane;
And a sweet shiver shot from his hide to my hand
As we passed by the multitude down to the stand.

The great waves of cheering came billowing back,
As the hoofs of brave Tenny rang swift down the track;
And he stood there beside us, all bone and all muscle,
Our noble opponent, well trained for the tussle
That waited us there on the smooth, shining course.
My Salvator, fair to the lovers of horse,
As a beautiful woman is fair to man's sight -
Pure type of the thoroughbred, clean-limbed and bright, -
Stood taking the plaudits as only his due,
And nothing at all unexpected or new.

And then, there before us the bright flag is spread,
There's a roar from the grand stand, and Tenny's ahead;
At the sound of the voices that shouted "a go!"
He sprang like an arrow shot straight from the bow.
I tighten the reins on Prince Charlie's great son -
He is off like a rocket, the race is begun.
Half-way down the furlong, their heads are together,
Scarce room 'twixt their noses to wedge in a feather;
Past grand stand, and judges, in neck-to-neck strife,
Ah, Salvator, boy! 'tis the race of your life.
I press my knees closer, I coax him, I urge,
I feel him go out with a leap and a surge;
I see him creep on, inch by inch, stride by stride,
While backward, still backward, falls Tenny beside.
We are nearing the turn, the first quarter is past -
'Twixt leader and chaser the daylight is cast.
The distance elongates, still Tenny sweeps on,
As graceful and free-limbed and swift as a fawn;
His awkwardness vanished, his muscles all strained -
A noble opponent, well born and well trained.
I glanced o'er my shoulder, ha! Tenny, the cost
Of that one's second flagging, will be--the race lost.
One second's weak yielding of courage and strength,
And the daylight between us has doubled its length.

The first mile is covered, the race is mine--no!
For the blue blood of Tenny responds to a blow.
He shoots through the air like a ball from a gun,
And the two lengths between us are shortened to one,
My heart is contracted, my throat feels a lump,
For Tenny's long neck is at Salvator's rump;
And now with new courage grown bolder and bolder,
I see him, once more running shoulder to shoulder.
With knees, hands, and body I press my grand steed
I urge him, I coax him, I pray him to heed!
Oh, Salvator! Salvator! list to my calls,
For the blow of my whip will hurt both if it falls.
There's a roar from the crowd like the ocean in storm
As close to my saddle leaps Tenny's great form:

One more mighty plunge, and with knee, limb, and hand,
I lift my horse first by a nose past the stand.
We are under the string now--the great race is done,
And Salvator, Salvator, Salvator won!
Cheer, hoar-headed patriarchs; cheer loud, I say.
'Tis the race of a century witnessed to-day!
Though ye live twice the space that's allotted to men,
Ye never will see such a grand race again.
Let the shouts of the populace roar like the surf
For Salvator, Salvator, king of the turf!
He has broken the record of thirteen long years;
He has won the first place in a vast line of peers.
'Twas a neck-to-neck contest, a grand, honest race,
And even his enemies grant him his place.
Down into the dust let old records be hurled,
And hang out 2.05 in the gaze of the world.


"I think I hear the sound of horses feet
Beating upon the gravelled avenue.
Go to the window that looks on the street,
He would not let me die alone, I knew."
Back to the couch the patient watcher passed,
And said: "It is the wailing of the blast."

She turned upon her couch and, seeming, slept,
The long, dark lashes shadowing her cheek;
And on and on the weary moments crept,
When suddenly the watcher heard her speak:
"I think I hear the sound of horses' hoofs--"
And answered, "'Tis the rain upon the roofs."

Unbroken silence, quiet, deep, profound.
The restless sleeper turns: "How dark, how late!
What is it that I hear--a trampling sound?
I think there is a horseman at the gate."
The watcher turns away her eyes tear-blind:
"It is the shutter beating in the wind."

The dread hours passed; the patient clock ticked on;
The weary watcher moved not from her place.
The grey dim shadows of the early dawn
Caught sudden glory from the sleeper's face.
"He comes! my love! I knew he would!" she cried;
And, smiling sweetly in her slumbers, died.


How will it be when one of us alone
Goes on that strange last journey of the soul?
That certain search for an uncertain goal,
That voyage on which no comradeship is known?
Will our dear sea sing with the old sweet tone,
Though one sits stricken where its billows roll?
Will space be dumb, or from the mystic pole
Will spirit-messages be backward blown?
When our united lives are wrenched apart,
And day no more means fond companionship,
When fervent night, and lovely languorous dawn,
Are only memories to one sad heart,
And but in dreams love-kisses burn the lip, -
Dear God, how can this same fair world move on?


In Nature's bright blossoms not always reposes
That strange subtle essence more rare than their bloom,
Which lies in the hearts of carnations and roses,
That unexplained something by men called perfume.
Though modest the flower, yet great is its power
And pregnant with meaning each pistil and leaf,
If only it hides there, if only abides there,
The fragrance suggestive of love, joy, and grief.

Not always the air that a master composes
Can stir human heart-strings with pleasure or pain.
But strange, subtle chords, like the scent of the roses,
Breathe out of some measures, though simple the strain.
And lo! when you hear them, you love them and fear them,
You tremble with anguish, you thrill with delight,
For back of them slumber old dreams without number,
And faces long vanished peer out into sight.

Those dear foolish days when the earth seemed all beauty,
Before you had knowledge enough to be sad;
When youth held no higher ideal of duty
Than just to lilt on through the world and be glad.
On harmony's river they seemed to afloat hither
With all the sweet fancies that hung round that time -
Life's burdens and troubles turn into air-bubbles
And break on the music's swift current of rhyme.

Fair Folly comes back with her spell while you listen
And points to the paths where she led you of old.
You gaze on past sunsets, you see dead stars glisten,
You bathe in life's glory, you swoon in death's cold.
All pains and all pleasures surge up through those measures,
Your heart is wrenched open with earthquakes of sound;
From ashes and embers rise Junes and Decembers,
Lost islands in fathoms of feeling refound.

Some airs are like outlets of memory's oceans,
They rise in the past and flow into the heart;
And down them float shipwrecks of mighty emotions,
All sea-soaked and storm-tossed and drifting apart:
Their fair timbers battered, their lordly sails tattered,
Their skeleton crew of dead days on their decks;
Then a crash of chords blending, a crisis, an ending -
The music is over, and vanished the wrecks.


Love gives us copious potions of delight,
Of pain and ecstasy, and peace and care;
Love leads us upward, to the mountain height,
And, like an angel, stands beside us there;
Then thrusts us, demon-like, in some abyss:
Where, in the darkness of despair, we grope,
Till, suddenly, Love greets us with a kiss
And guides us back to flowery fields of hope.

Love makes all wisdom seem but poorest folly,
And yet the simplest mind with Love grows wise,
The gayest heart he teaches melancholy,
Yet glorifies the erstwhile brooding eyes.
Love lives on change, and yet at change Love mocks,
For Love's whole life is one great paradox.


Like the tenth wave, that offers to the shore
Accumulated opulence and force,
So does my heart, which thought it loved of yore,
Carry increasing passion down the course
Of time to proffer thee.
Oh! not the faint
First ripple of the sea should be its pride,
But the great climax of its unrestraint,
Which culminates in one commanding tide.

The lesser billows of each crude emotion
Break on life's strand, recede, and then unite
With love's large sea; and to some late devotion
Unrecognised, they bring their lost delight.
So all the vanished fancies of my past
Live yet in this one passion, grand and vast.


So thou hast the art, good dame, thou swearest,
To keep Time's perishing touch at bay
From the roseate splendour of the cheek so tender,
And the silver threads from the gold away;
And the tell-tale years that have hurried by us
Shall tiptoe back, and, with kind good-will,
They shall take their traces from off our faces,
If we will trust to thy magic skill.

Thou speakest fairly; but if I listen
And buy thy secret and prove its truth,
Hast thou the potion and magic lotion
To give me also the HEART of youth?
With the cheek of rose and the eye of beauty,
And the lustrous locks of life's lost prime,
Wilt thou bring thronging each hope and longing
That made the glory of that dead Time?

When the sap in the trees sets young buds bursting,
And the song of the birds fills the air like spray,
Will rivers of feeling come once more stealing
From the beautiful hills of the far-away?
Wilt thou demolish the tower of reason
And fling for ever down into the dust
The caution Time brought me, the lessons life taught me,
And put in their places my old sweet trust?

If Time's footprint from my brow is driven,
Canst thou, too, take with thy subtle powers
The burden of thinking, and let me go drinking
The careless pleasures of youth's bright hours?
If silver threads from my tresses vanish,
If a glow once more in my pale cheek gleams,
Wilt thou slay duty and give back the beauty
Of days untroubled by aught but dreams?

When the soft, fair arms of the siren Summer
Encircle the earth in their languorous fold.
Will vast, deep oceans of sweet emotions
Surge through my veins as they surged of old?
Canst thou bring back from a day long vanished
The leaping pulse and the boundless aim?
I will pay thee double for all thy trouble,
If thou wilt restore all these, good dame.



How shall a maid make answer to a man
Who summons her, by love's supreme decree,
To open her whole heart, that he may see
The intricate strange ways that love began.
So many streams from that great fountain ran
To feed the river that now rushes free,
So deep the heart, so full of mystery;
How shall a maid make answer to a man?

If I turn back each leaflet of my heart,
And let your eyes scan all the records there,
Of dreams of love that came before I KNEW,
Though in those dreams you had no place or part,
Yet, know that each emotion was a stair
Which led my ripening womanhood to YOU.


Nay, I was not insensate till you came;
I know man likes to think a woman clay,
Devoid of feeling till the warming ray
Sent from his heart lights her with sudden flame.
You asked for truth; I answer without shame;
My human heart pulsed blood by night and day,
And I believed that Love had come my way
Before he conquered with your face and name.

I do not know when first I felt this fire
That lends such lustre to my hopes and fears,
And burns a pathway to you with each thought.
I think in that great hour when God's desire
For worlds to love flung forth a million spheres,
This miracle of love in me was wrought.

An open door, a moonlit sky,
A child-like maid with musing eye,
A manly footstep passing by.

Light as a dewdrop falls from space
Upon a rosebud's folded grace,
A kiss fell on her girlish face.

"Good-night, good-bye," and he was gone.
And so was childhood; it was dawn
In that young heart the moon shone on.

His name? his face? dim memories;
I only know in that first kiss
Was prophesied this later bliss.

The dreams within my bosom grew;
Nay, grieve not that my tale is true,
Since all those dreams led straight to you.

One time when Autumn donned her robes of splendour
And rustled down the year's receding track,
As I passed dreaming by, a voice all tender
Haled me with youth's soft call to linger back.
I turned and listened to a golden story!
A wondrous tale, half human, half divine -
A page from bright September's book of glory,
To memorise and make forever mine.
Strange argosies from passion's unknown oceans
Cruised down my veins, a vague elusive fleet,
With foreign cargoes of unnamed emotions,
While wafts of song blew shoreward, dim and sweet,
And sleeping still (because unwaked by you)
I dreamed and dreamed, and thought my visions true.
I woke when all the crimson colour faded
And wanton Autumn's lips and cheeks were pale;
And when the sorrowing year had slowly waded,
With failing footsteps, through the snow-filled vale.
I woke and knew the glamour of a season
Had lent illusive lustre to a dream,
And looking in the clear calm eyes of Reason,
I smiled and said, "Farewell to things that seem."
'Twas but a red leaf from a lush September
The wind of dreams across my pathway blew,
But oh! my love! the whole round year remember,
With all its seasons I bestow on you.
The red leaf perished in the first cold blast
The full year's harvests at your feet I cast.


Absolve me, prince; confession is all over.
But listen and take warning, oh! my lover.
You put to rout all dreams that may have been;
You won the day, but 'tis not all to win;


Sit still, I say, and dispense with heroics!
I hurt your wrists? Well, you have hurt me.
It is time you found out that all men are not stoics,
Nor toys to be used as your mood may be.
I WILL NOT let go of your hands, nor leave you
Until I have spoken. No man, you say,
Dared ever so treat you before? I believe you,
For you have dealt only with BOYS till to-day.

You women lay stress on your fine perception,
Your intuitions are prated about;
You claim an occult sort of conception
Of matters which men must reason out.
So then, of course, when you ask me kindly
"To call again soon," you read my heart.
I cannot believe you were acting blindly;
You saw my passion for you from the start.

You are one of those women who charm without trying;
The clay you are made of is magnet ore,
And I am the steel; yet, there's no denying
You led me to loving you more and more.
You are fanning a flame that may burn too brightly,
Oft easily kindled, but hard to put out;
I am not a man to be played with lightly,
To come at a gesture and go at a pout.

A brute you call me, a creature inhuman;
You say I insult you, and bid me go.
And you? Oh, you are a saintly woman,
With thoughts as pure as the drifted snow.
Pah! you are but one of a thousand beauties
Who think they are living exemplary lives:
They break no commandments, and do all their duties
As Christian women and spotless wives.

But with drooping of lids, and lifting of faces,
And baring of shoulders, and well-timed sighs,
And the devil knows what other subtle graces,
You are mental wantons, who sin with the eyes.
You lure love to wake, yet bid it keep under,
You tempt us to fall, but bid reason control;
And then you are full of an outraged wonder
When we get to wanting you, body and soul.

Why, look at yourself! You were no stranger
To the fact that my heart was already on fire.
When you asked me to call you knew my danger,
Yet here you are, dressed in the gown I admire;
For half of the evil on earth is invented
By vain, pretty women with nothing to do
But to keep themselves manicured, powdered, and scented,
And seek for sensations amusing and new.

But when I play at love at a lady's commanding,
I always am certain to win one game;
So there--there--there! I will leave my branding
On the lips that are free now to cry "Shame, shame!"
You hate me? Quite likely! It does not surprise me,
Brute force? I confess it; BUT STILL YOU WERE KISSED;
And one thing is certain--you cannot despise me
For having been played with, controlled, and dismissed.

And the next time you see that a man is attracted
By the beauty and graces that are not for him,
Don't lead him on to be half distracted;
Keep out of deep waters although you can swim.
For when he is caught in the whirlpool of passion,
Where many bold swimmers are seen to drown,
A man will reach out and, in desperate fashion,
Will drag whoever is nearest him down.

Though the strings of his heart may be wrenched and riven
By a maiden coquette who has led him along,
She can be pardoned, excused, and forgiven,
For innocence blindfolded walks into wrong.
But she who has willingly taken the fetter
That Cupid forges at Hymen's command -
Well, she is the woman who ought to know better;
She needs no mercy at any man's hand.

In the game of hearts, though a woman be winner,
The odds are ever against her, you know;
The world is ready to call her a sinner,
And man is ready to make her so.
Shame is likely, and sorrow is certain,
And the man has the best of it, end as it may.
So now, my lady, we'll drop the curtain,
And put out the lights. We are through with our play.


The passion you forbade my lips to utter
Will not be silenced. You must hear it in
The sullen thunders when they roll and mutter:
And when the tempest nears, with wail and din,
I know your calm forgetfulness is broken,
And to your heart you whisper, "He has spoken."

All nature understands and sympathises
With human passion. When the restless sea
Turns in its futile search for peace, and rises
To plead and to pursue, it pleads for me.
And with each desperate billow's anguished fretting.
Your heart must tell you, "He is not forgetting."

When unseen hands in lightning strokes are writing
Mysterious words upon a cloudy scroll,
Know that my pent-up passion is inditing
A cypher message for your woman's soul;
And when the lawless winds rush by you shrieking,
Let your heart say, "Now his despair is speaking."

Love comes, nor goes, at beck or call of reason,
Nor is love silent--though it says no word;
By day or night, in any clime or season,
A dominating passion must be heard.
So shall you hear, through Junes and through Decembers,
The voice of Nature saying, "He remembers."


She's the jauntiest of creatures, she's the daintiest of misses,
With her pretty patent leathers or her alligator ties,
With her eyes inviting glances and her lips inviting kisses,
As she wanders by the ocean or strolls under country skies.

She's a captivating dresser, and her parasols are stunning;
Her fads will take your breath away, her hats are dreams of style;
She is not so very bookish, but with repartee and punning
She can set the savants laughing and make even dudelets smile.

She has no attacks of talent, she is not a stage-struck maiden;
She is wholly free from hobbies, and she dreams of no "career";
She is mostly gay and happy, never sad or care-beladen,
Though she sometimes sighs a little if a gentleman is near.

She's a sturdy little walker and she braves all kinds of weather,
And when the rain or fog or mist drive rival crimps a-wreck,
Her fluffy hair goes curling like a kinked-up ostrich feather
Around her ears and forehead and the white nape of her neck.

She is like a fish in water; she can handle reins and racket;
From head to toe and finger-tips she's thoroughly alive;
When she goes promenading in a most distracting jacket,
The rustle round her feet suggests how laundresses may thrive.

She can dare the wind and sunshine in the most bravado manner,
And after hours of sailing she has merely cheeks of rose;
Old Sol himself seems smitten, and at most will only tan her,
Though to everybody else he gives a danger-signal nose.

She's a trifle sentimental, and she's fond of admiration,
And she sometimes flirts a little in the season's giddy whirl;
But win her if you can, sir, she may prove your life's salvation,
For an angel masquerading oft is she, the Summer Girl.


Through the open door of dreamland
Came a ghost of long ago, long ago.
When I wakened, all unheeding
Was the phantom to my pleading;
For he would not turn and go,
But beside me all the day,
In my work and in my play,
Trod this ghost of long ago, long ago.

Not a vague and pallid phantom
Was this ghost that came to me, followed me:
Though he rose from regions haunted,
Though he came unbid, unwanted,
He was very fair to see.
Like the radiant sun in space
Was the halo round the face
Of that ghost that came to me, followed me.

And he wore no shroud or cere-cloth
As he wandered at my side, close beside:
He was clothed in royal splendour
And his eyes were deep and tender,
While he walked in stately pride;
And he seemed like some great king,
Not afraid of anything,
As he wandered at my side, close beside.

Then I turned to him commanding
That he go the way he came, whence he came.
But he answered me in sorrow,
"May the Past not seek to borrow
From the Present without blame -
Just one memory from its store,
Ere it goes to come no more,
Back the pathway that it came, whence it came?"

Then ashamed of my full coffers,
I gave forth from Memory's hold (wondrous hold!)
All I owed of tax and duty
For remembered hours of beauty,
Which I paid in thoughts of gold;
Yet my present seemed to be
Richer still for all the fee
I gave forth from Memory's hold (wondrous hold!).


I will paint you a sign, rumseller,
And hang it above your door;
A truer and better signboard
Than ever you had before.
I will paint with the skill of a master,
And many shall pause to see
This wonderful piece of painting,
So like the reality.

I will paint yourself, rumseller,
As you wait for that fair young boy,
Just in the morning of manhood,
A mother's pride and joy.
He has no thought of stopping,
But you greet him with a smile,
And you seem so blithe and friendly,
That he pauses to chat awhile.

I will paint you again, rumseller,
I will paint you as you stand,
With a foaming glass of liquor
Extended in your hand.
He wavers, but you urge him -
Drink, pledge me just this one!
And he takes the glass and drains it,
And the hellish work is done.

And next I will paint a drunkard -
Only a year has flown,
But into that loathsome creature
The fair young boy has grown.
The work was sure and rapid.
I will paint him as he lies
In a torpid, drunken slumber,
Under the wintry skies.

I will paint the form of the mother
As she kneels at her darling's side,
Her beautiful boy that was dearer
Than all the world beside.
I will paint the shape of a coffin,
Labelled with one word--"Lost"
I will paint all this, rumseller,
And will paint it free of cost.

The sin and the shame and the sorrow,
The crime and the want and the woe
That are born there in your workshop,
No hand can paint, you know.
But I'll paint you a sign, rumseller,
And many shall pause to view
This wonderful swinging signboard,
So terribly, fearfully true.

(Intended for recitation at club dinners.)

To-night when I came from the club at eleven,
Under the gaslight I saw a face -
A woman's face! and I swear to heaven
It looked like the ghastly ghost of--Grace!

And Grace? why, Grace was fair; and I tarried,
And loved her a season as we men do.
And then--but pshaw! why, of course, she is married,
Has a husband, and doubtless a babe or two.

She was perfectly calm on the day we parted;
She spared me a scene, to my great surprise.
"She wasn't the kind to be broken-hearted,"
I remember she said, with a spark in her eyes.

I was tempted, I know, by her proud defiance,
To make good my promise there and then.
But the world would have called it a mesalliance!
I dreaded the comments and sneers of men.

So I left her to grieve for a faithless lover,
And to hide her heart from the cold world's sight
As women do hide them, the wide earth over;
My God! WAS it Grace that I saw to-night?

I thought of her married, and often with pity,
A poor man's wife in some dull place.
And now to know she is here in the city,
Under the gaslight, and with THAT face!

Yet I knew it at once, in spite of the daubing
Of paint and powder, and she knew me;
She drew a quick breath that was almost sobbing
And shrank in the shade so I should not see.

There was hell in her eyes! She was worn and jaded
Her soul is at war with the life she has led.
As I looked on that face so strangely faded
I wonder God did not strike me dead.

While I have been happy and gay and jolly,
Received by the very best people in town,
That girl whom I led in the way to folly,
Has gone on recklessly down and down.

* * *

Two o'clock, and no sleep has found me;
That face I saw in the street-lamp's light
Peers everywhere out from the shadows around me -
I know how a murderer feels to-night.


It was long and long ago our love began;
It is something all unmeasured by time's span:
In an era and a spot, by the Modern World forgot,
We were lovers, ere God named us, Maid and Man.

Like the memory of music made by streams,
All the beauty of that other love life seems;
But I always thought it so, and at last I know, I know,
We were lovers in the Land of Silver Dreams.

When the moon was at the full, I found the place;
Out and out, across the seas of shining space,
On a quest that could not fail, I unfurled my memory's sail
And cast anchor in the Bay of Love's First Grace.

At the foot of Aristarchus lies this bay,
(Oh! the wonder of that mountain far away!)
And the Land of Silver Dreams all about it shines and gleams,
Where we loved before God fashioned night or day.

We were souls, in eerie bodies made of light;
We were winged, and we could speed from height to height;
And we built a nest called Hope, on the sheer Moon Mountain Slope,
Where we sat, and watched new worlds wheel into sight.

And we saw this little planet known as Earth,
When the mighty Mother Chaos gave it birth;
But in love's conceit we thought all those worlds from space were
For no greater aim or purpose than our mirth.

And we laughed in love's abandon, and we sang,
Till the echoing peals of Aristarchus rang,
As hot hissing comets came, and white suns burst into flame,
And a myriad worlds from out the darkness sprang.

I can show you, when the Moon is at its best,
Aristarchus, and the spot we made our nest,
Oh! I always wondered why, when the Moon was in the sky,
I was stirred with such strange longing, and unrest.

And I knew the subtle beauty and the force
Of our love was never bounded by Earth's course.
So with Memory's sail unfurled, I went cruising past this world,
And I followed till I traced it to its source.


In a mansion grand, just over the way
Lives bonny, beautiful Dell;
You may have heard of this lady gay,
For she is a famous belle.
I live in a low cot opposite -
You never have heard of me;
For when the lady moon shines bright,
Who would a pale star see?
But ah, well! ah, well! I am happier far than Dell,
As strange as that may be.

Dell has robes of the richest kind -
Pinks and purples and blues;
And she worries her maid and frets her mind
To know which one to choose.
Which shall it be now, silk or lace?
In which will I be most fair?
She stands by the mirror with anxious face,
And her maid looks on in despair.
Ah, well! ah, well! I am not worried, you see, like Dell,
For I have but one to wear.

Dell has lovers of every grade,
Of every age and style;
Suitors flutter about the maid,
And bask in her word and smile.
She keeps them all, with a coquette's art,
As suits her mood or mirth,
And vainly wonders if in ONE heart
Of all true love has birth.
Ah, well! ah, well! I never question myself like Dell,
For I KNOW a true heart's worth.

Pleasure to Dell seems stale and old,
Often she sits and sighs;
Life to me is a tale untold,
Each day is a glad surprise.
Dell will marry, of course, some day,
After her belleship is run;
She will cavil the matter in worldly way
And wed Dame Fortune's son
But, ah, well! sweet to tell, I shall not dally and choose like Dell,
For I love and am loved by--ONE.


One night Nurse Sleep held out her hand
To tired little May.
"Come, go with me to Wonderland,"
She said, "I know the way.
Just rock-a-by--hum--m--m,
And lo! we come
To the place where the dream-girls play."

But naughty May, she wriggled away
From Sleep's soft arms, and said:
"I must stay awake till I eat my cake,
And then I will go to bed;
With a by-lo, away I will go."
But the good nurse shook her head.

She shook her head and away she sped,
While May sat munching her crumb.
But after the cake there came an ache,
Though May cried: "Come, Sleep, come,
And it's oh! my! let us by-lo-by" -
All save the echoes were dumb.

She ran after Sleep toward Wonderland,
Ran till the morning light;
And just as she caught her and grasped her hand,
A nightmare gave her a fright.
And it's by-lo, I hope she'll know
Better another night.


In Vanity Fair, as we bow and smile,
As we talk of the opera after the weather,
As we chat of fashion and fad and style,
We know we are playing a part together.
You know that the mirth she wears, she borrows;
She knows you laugh but to hide your sorrows;
We know that under the silks and laces,
And back of beautiful, beaming faces,
Lie secret trouble and grim despair,
In Vanity Fair.

In Vanity Fair, on dress parade,
Our colours look bright and our swords are gleaming;
But many a uniform's worn and frayed,
And most of the weapons, despite their seeming,
Are dull and blunted and badly battered,
And close inspection will show how tattered
And stained are the banners that float above us.
Our comrades hate, while they swear to love us;
And robed like Pleasure walks gaunt-eyed Care,
In Vanity Fair.

In Vanity Fair, as we strive for place,
As we rush and jostle and crowd and hurry,
We know the goal is not worth the race -
We know the prize is not worth the worry;
That all our gain means loss for another;
That in fighting for self we wound each other;
That the crown of success weighs hard and presses
The brow of the victor with thorns--not caresses;
That honours are empty and worthless to wear,
In Vanity Fair.

But in Vanity Fair, as we pass along,
We meet strong hearts that are worth the knowing
'Mong poor paste jewels that deck the throng,
We see a solitaire sometimes glowing.
We find grand souls under robes of fashion,
'Neath light demeanours hide strength and passion;
And fair fine honour and godlike resistance
In halls of pleasure may have existence;
And we find pure altars and shrines of prayer
In Vanity Fair.


[This recitation is intended to be given with an accompaniment of
waltz music, introducing dance-steps at the refrain "With one, two,
three," etc.]

A giddy young maiden with nimble feet,
Heigh-ho! alack and alas!
Declared she would far rather dance than eat,
And the truth of it came to pass.
For she danced all day and she danced all night;
She danced till the green earth faded white;
She danced ten partners out of breath;
She danced the eleventh one quite to death;
And still she redowaed up and down -
The giddiest girl in town.
With one, two, three; one, two, three; one, two, three--kick;
Chassee back, chassee back, whirl around quick.
The name of this damsel ended with E -
Heigh-ho; alack and a-day!
And she was as fair as a maiden need be,
Till she danced her beauty away.
She danced her big toes out of joint;
She danced her other toes all to a point;
She danced out slipper and boot and shoe;
She danced till the bones of her feet came through.
And still she redowaed, waltzed, and whirled -
The giddiest girl in the world.
With one, two, three; one, two, three; one, two, three--kick;
Chassee back, chassee back, whirl around quick.

Now the end of my story is sad to relate -
Heigh-ho! and away we go!
For this beautiful maiden's final fate
Is shrouded in gloom and woe.
She danced herself into a patent top;
She whirled and whirled till she could not stop;
She danced and bounded and sprang so far,
That she stuck at last on a pointed star;
And there she must dance till the Judgment Day,
And after it, too, for she danced away
Her soul, you see, so she has no place anywhere out of space,
With her one, two, three; one, two, three; one, two, three--kick;
Chassee back, chassee back, whirl about quick.


We plucked a red rose, you and I,
All in the summer weather;
Sweet its perfume and rare its bloom,
Enjoyed by us together.
The rose is dead, the summer fled,
And bleak winds are complaining;
We dwell apart, but in each heart
We find the thorn remaining.

We sipped a sweet wine, you and I,
All in the summer weather.
The beaded draught we lightly quaffed,
And filled the glass together.
Together we watched its rosy glow,
And saw its bubbles glitter;
Apart, alone we only know
The lees are very bitter.

We walked in sunshine, you and I,
All in the summer weather:
The very night seemed noonday bright,
When we two were together.
I wonder why with our good-bye
O'er hill and vale and meadow
There fell such shade, our paths seemed laid
For evermore in shadow.

We dreamed a sweet dream, you and I,
All in the summer weather,
Where rose and wine and warm sunshine
Were mingled in together.
We dreamed that June was with us yet,
We woke to find December.
We dreamed that we two could forget,
We woke but to remember.


"Dying? I am not dying? Are you mad?
You think I need to ask for heavenly grace?
_I_ think YOU are a fiend, who would be glad
To see me struggle in death's cold embrace.

"But, man, you lie! for I am strong--in truth
Stronger than I have been in years; and soon
I shall feel young again as in my youth,
My glorious youth--life's one great priceless boon.

"O youth, youth, youth! O God! that golden time,
When proud and glad I laughed the hours away.
Why, there's no sacrifice (perhaps no crime)
I'd pause at, could it make me young to-day.

"But I'm not OLD! I grew--just ill, somehow;
Grew stiff of limb, and weak, and dim of sight.
It was but sickness. I am better now,
Oh, vastly better, ever since last night.

"And I could weep warm floods of happy tears
To think my strength is coming back at last,
For I have dreamed of such an hour for years,
As I lay thinking of my glorious past.

"You shake your head? Why, man, if you were sane
I'd strike you to my feet, I would, in truth.
How dare you tell me that my hopes are vain?
How dare you say I have outlived my youth?

"'In heaven I may regain it'? Oh, be still!
I want no heaven but what my glad youth gave.
Its long, bright hours, its rapture and its thrill -
O youth, youth, youth! it is my YOUTH I crave.

"There is no heaven! There's nothing but a deep
And yawning grave from which I shrink in fear.
I am not sure of even rest or sleep;
Perhaps we lie and THINK as I have here.

"Think, think, think, think, as we lie there and rot,
And hear the young above us laugh in glee.
How dare you say I'm dying! I AM NOT.
I would curse God if such a thing could be.

"Why, see me stand! why, hear this strong, full breath -
Dare you repeat that silly, base untruth?"
A cry--a fall--the silence known as death
Hushed his wild words. Well, has he found his youth?


What a terrible night! Does the Night, I wonder -
The Night, with her black veil down to her feet
Like an ordained nun, know what lies under
That awful, motionless, snow-white sheet?
The winds seem crazed, and, wildly howling,
Over the sad earth blindly go.
Do they and the dark clouds over them scowling,
Do they dream or know?

Why, here in the room, not a week or over -
Tho' it must be a week, not more than one -
(I cannot recken of late or discover
When one day is ended or one begun),
But here in this room we were laughing lightly,
And glad was the measure our two hearts beat;
And the royal face that was smiling so brightly
Lies under that sheet.

I know not why--it is strange and fearful,
But I am afraid of her, lying there;
She who was always so gay and cheerful,
Lying so still with that stony stare:
She who was so like some grand sultana,
Fond of colour and glow and heat,
To lie there clothed in that awful manner
In a stark white sheet.

She who was made out of summer blisses,
Tropical, beautiful, gracious, fair,
To lie and stare at my fondest kisses -
God! no wonder it whitens my hair
Shriek, O wind! for the world is lonely;
Trail cloud-veil to the nun Night's feet!
For all that I prize in life is only
A shape and a sheet.


Oh! I know a certain woman who is reckoned with the good,
But she fills me with more terror than a raging lion could.
The little chills run up and down my spine whene'er we meet,
Though she seems a gentle creature and she's very trim and neat.

And she has a thousand virtues and not one acknowledged sin,
But she is the sort of person you could liken to a pin.
And she pricks you, and she sticks you, in a way that can't be said -
When you seek for what has hurt you, why, you cannot find the head.

But she fills you with discomfort and exasperating pain -
If anybody asks you why, you really can't explain.
A pin is such a tiny thing--of that there is no doubt -
Yet when it's sticking in your flesh, you're wretched till it's out!

She is wonderfully observing. When she meets a pretty girl
She is always sure to tell her if her "bang" is out of curl.
And she is so sympathetic; to her friend who's much admired,
She is often heard remarking: "Dear, you look so WORN and tired!"

And she is a careful critic; for on yesterday she eyed
The new dress I was airing with a woman's natural pride,
And she said: "Oh, how becoming!" and then softly added, "It
Is really a misfortune that the basque is such a fit."

Then she said: "If you had heard me yestereve, I'm sure, my friend,
You would say I am a champion who knows how to defend."
And she left me with a feeling--most unpleasant, I aver -
That the whole world would despise me if it hadn't been for her.

Whenever I encounter her, in such a nameless way
She gives me the impression I am at my worst that day;
And the hat that was imported (and that cost me half a sonnet)
With just one glance from her round eyes becomes a Bowery bonnet.

She is always bright and smiling, sharp and shining for a thrust;
Use does not seem to blunt her point, nor does she gather rust.
Oh! I wish some hapless specimen of mankind would begin
To tidy up the world for me, by picking up this pin.


Oh! not for the great departed,
Who formed our country's laws,
And not for the bravest-hearted,
Who died in freedom's cause,
And not for some living hero
To whom all bend the knee,
My muse would raise her song of praise -
But for the man TO BE.

For out of the strife which woman
Is passing through to-day,
A man that is more than human
Shall yet be born, I say.
A man in whose pure spirit
No dross of self will lurk;
A man who is strong to cope with wrong,
A man who is proud to work.

A man with hope undaunted,
A man with godlike power,
Shall come when he most is wanted,
Shall come at the needed hour.
He shall silence the din and clamour
Of clan disputing with clan,
And toil's long fight with purse-proud might
Shall triumph through this man.

I know he is coming, coming,
To help, to guide, to save.
Though I hear no martial drumming,
And see no flags that wave.
But the great soul travail of woman,
And the bold free thought unfurled,
Are heralds that say he is on the way -
The coming man of the world.

Mourn not for vanished ages,
With their great heroic men,
Who dwell in history's pages
And live in the poet's pen.
For the grandest times are before us,
And the world is yet to see
The noblest worth of this old earth
In the men that are to be.

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