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Voices for the Speechless

Part 2 out of 5

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* * * * *


Languor is not in your heart,
Weakness is not in your word,
Weariness not in your brow.
Ye alight in our van! at your voice.
Panic, despair flee away.
Ye move through the ranks, recall
The stragglers, refresh the outworn,
Praise, reinspire the brave.

Order, courage return;
Eyes rekindling, and prayers
Follow your steps as you go.
Ye fill up the gaps in our files,
Strengthen the wavering line,
Stablish, continue our march,
On, to the bound of the waste,
On, to the City of God.


* * * * *



Be kind to dumb creatures, be gentle, be true,
For food and protection they look up to you;
For affection and help to your bounty they turn.
Oh, do not their trusting hearts wantonly spurn!

Be kind to dumb creatures, nor grudge them your care,
God gave them their life, and your love they must share;
And He who the sparrow's fall tenderly heeds,
Will lovingly look on compassionate deeds.

The brave are the tender,--then do not refuse
To carefully cherish the brutes you must use;
Make their life's labor sweet, not dreary and sad,
Their working and serving you, easy and glad.
_Chorus:_ "Be kind," etc.

He made them and blessed them, the least are his care:
The swallow that wings her swift flight through the air,
The dog on your hearthstone, the horse in your barn,
The cow in your pasture, the sheep on your farm.
_Chorus:_ "Be kind," etc.

_Our Dumb Animals._

* * * * *


Do something! do it soon! with all thy might;
An angel's wing would droop if long at rest,
And God inactive were no longer blest.
Some high or humble enterprise of good
Contemplate till it shall possess thy mind,
Become thy study, pastime, rest, and food,
And kindle in thy heart a flame refined:
Pray heaven for firmness thy whole soul to bind
To this high purpose: to begin, pursue,
With thoughts all fixed, and feelings purely kind;
Strength to complete, and with delight review,
And strength to give the praise where all is due.


* * * * *


The measureless gulfs of air are full of Thee:
Thou art, and therefore hang the stars: they wait
And swim, and shine in God who bade them be,
And hold their sundering voids inviolate.

A God concerned (veiled in pure light) to bless,
With sweet revealing of his love, the soul;
_Towards things piteous, full of piteousness;
The Cause, the Life, and the continuing Whole.

He is more present to all things He made
Than anything unto itself can be;
Full-foliaged boughs of Eden could not shade
Afford, since God was also 'neath the tree._


* * * * *


Be firm and be faithful; desert not the right;
The brave are the bolder, the darker the night;
Then up and be doing, though cowards may fail;
Thy duty pursuing, dare all, and prevail.

If scorn be thy portion, if hatred and loss,
If stripes or a prison, remember the cross!
God watches above thee, and He will requite;
Stand firm and be faithful, desert not the right.


* * * * *


Our hearts' pure service, Love, be thine,
Who clothest all with rights divine,
Whose great Soul burns, though ne'er so dim,
In all that walk, or fly, or swim.

All Father! who on Mercy's throne
Hear'st thy dumb creatures' faintest moan,--
Thy love be ours, and ours shall be
Returned in deeds to thine and Thee.


* * * * *


Sweet morn! from countless cups of gold
Thou liftest reverently on high
More incense fine than earth can hold,
To fill the sky.

_The lark by his own carol blest_,
From thy green harbors eager springs;
And his large heart in little breast
Exulting sings.

The fly his jocund round unweaves,
_With choral strain the birds salute
The voiceful flocks_, and nothing grieves,
And naught is mute.

To thousand tasks of fruitful hope,
With skill against his toil, man bends
And finds his work's determined scope
Where'er he wends.

From earth, and earthly toil and strife,
To deathless aims his love may rise,
Each dawn may wake to better life,
With purer eyes.


* * * * *


In holy books we read how God hath spoken
To holy men in many different ways;
But hath the present worked no sign nor token?
Is God quite silent in these latter days?

The word were but a blank, a hollow sound,
If He that spake it were not speaking still;
If all the light and all the shade around
Were aught but issues of Almighty Will.

So, then, _believe that every bird that sings_,
And every flower that stars the elastic sod,
And every thought the happy summer brings,
To the pure spirit is a word of God.


* * * * *


At Atri in Abruzzo, a small town
Of ancient Roman date, but scant renown,
One of those little places that have run
Half up the hill, beneath a blazing sun,
And then sat down to rest, as if to say,
"I climb no farther upward, come what may,"--
The Re Giovanni, now unknown to fame,
So many monarchs since have borne the name,
Had a great bell hung in the market-place
Beneath a roof, projecting some small space,
By way of shelter from the sun and rain.
Then rode he through the streets with all his train,
And, with the blast of trumpets loud and long,
Made proclamation, that whenever wrong
Was done to any man, he should but ring
The great bell in the square, and he, the King,
Would cause the Syndic to decide thereon.
Such was the proclamation of King John.

How swift the happy days in Atri sped,
What wrongs were righted, need not here be said.
Suffice it that, as all things must decay,
The hempen rope at length was worn away,
Unravelled at the end, and strand by strand,
Loosened and wasted in the ringer's hand,
Till one, who noted this in passing by,
Mended the rope with braids of briony,
So that the leaves and tendrils of the vine
Hung like a votive garland at a shrine.

By chance it happened that in Atri dwelt
A knight, with spur on heel and sword in belt,
Who loved to hunt the wild-boar in the woods,
Who loved his falcons with their crimson hoods,
Who loved his hounds and horses, and all sports
And prodigalities of camps and courts;--
Loved, or had loved them: for at last, grown old,
His only passion was the love of gold.

He sold his horses, sold his hawks and hounds,
Rented his vineyards and his garden-grounds,
Kept but one steed, his favorite steed of all,
To starve and shiver in a naked stall,
And day by day sat brooding in his chair,
Devising plans how best to hoard and spare.

At length he said: "What is the use or need
To keep at my own cost this lazy steed,
Eating his head off in my stables here,
When rents are low and provender is dear?
Let him go feed upon the public ways;
I want him only for the holidays."
So the old steed was turned into the heat
Of the long, lonely, silent, shadeless street;
And wandered in suburban lanes forlorn,
Barked at by dogs, and torn by brier and thorn.

One afternoon, as in that sultry clime
It is the custom in the summer-time,
With bolted doors and window-shutters closed,
The inhabitants of Atri slept or dozed;
When suddenly upon their senses fell
The loud alarum of the accusing bell!
The Syndic started from his deep repose,
Turned on his couch, and listened, and then rose
And donned his robes, and with reluctant pace
Went panting forth into the market-place,
Where the great bell upon its cross-beam swung
Reiterating with persistent tongue,
In half-articulate jargon, the old song:
"Some one hath done a wrong, hath done a wrong!"

But ere he reached the belfry's light arcade
He saw, or thought he saw, beneath its shade,
No shape of human form of woman born,
But a poor steed dejected and forlorn,
Who with uplifted head and eager eye
Was tugging at the vines of briony.
"Domeneddio!" cried the Syndic straight,
"This is the Knight of Atri's steed of state!
He calls for justice, being sore distressed,
And pleads his cause as loudly as the best."

Meanwhile from street and lane a noisy crowd
Had rolled together like a summer cloud,
And told the story of the wretched beast
In five-and-twenty different ways at least,
With much gesticulation and appeal
To heathen gods, in their excessive zeal.
The Knight was called and questioned; in reply
Did not confess the fact, did not deny;
Treated the matter as a pleasant jest,
And set at naught the Syndic and the rest,
Maintaining, in an angry undertone,
That he should do what pleased him with his own.

And thereupon the Syndic gravely read
The proclamation of the King; then said:
"Pride goeth forth on horseback grand and gay,
But cometh back on foot, and begs its way;
Fame is the fragrance of heroic deeds,
Of flowers of chivalry and not of weeds!
These are familiar proverbs; but I fear
They never yet have reached your knightly ear.
What fair renown, what honor, what repute
Can come to you from starving this poor brute?
He who serves well and speaks not, merits more
Then they who clamor loudest at the door.
Therefore the law decrees that, as this steed
Served you in youth, henceforth you shall take heed
To comfort his old age, and to provide
Shelter in stall, and food and field beside."

The Knight withdrew abashed; the people all
Led home the steed in triumph to his stall.
The King heard and approved, and laughed in glee,
And cried aloud: "Right well it pleaseth me!
Church-bells at best but ring us to the door;
But go not in to mass; my bell doth more:
It cometh into court and pleads the cause
Of creatures dumb and unknown to the laws;
And this shall make, in every Christian clime,
The Bell of Atri famous for all time."

_Tales of a Wayside Inn, second day, 1872._

* * * * *


"Yes, well your story pleads the cause
Of those dumb mouths that have no speech,
Only a cry from each to each
In its own kind, with its own laws;
Something that is beyond the reach
Of human power to learn or teach,--
An inarticulate moan of pain,
Like the immeasurable main
Breaking upon an unknown beach."

Thus spake the poet with a sigh;
Then added, with impassioned cry,
As one who feels the words he speaks,
The color flushing in his cheeks,
The fervor burning in his eye:
"Among the noblest in the land,
Though he may count himself the least,
That man I honor and revere
Who without favor, without fear,
In the great city dares to stand
The friend of every friendless beast,
And tames with his unflinching hand
The brutes that wear our form and face,
The were-wolves of the human race!"

_Tales of a Wayside Inn, second day, 1872._

* * * * *


Mr. George Herbert's love to music was such that he went usually twice
every week, on certain appointed days, to the Cathedral Church in
Salisbury. When rector of Bemerton, in one of his walks to Salisbury, he
saw a poor man with a poorer horse, that was fallen under his load; they
were both in distress, and needed present help, which Mr. Herbert
perceiving, put off his canonical coat and helped the poor man to unload,
and after to load his horse. The poor man blessed him for it, and he
blessed the poor man; and was so like the good Samaritan, that he gave him
money to refresh both himself and his horse; and told him, "_That if he

Thus he left the poor man: and at his coming to his musical friends at
Salisbury, they began to wonder that Mr. George Herbert, who used to be so
trim and clean, came into that company so soiled and discomposed; but he
told them the occasion. And when one of the company told him "he had
disparaged himself by so dirty an employment," his answer was: "That the
thought of what he had done would prove music to him at midnight; and that
the omission of it would have upbraided and made discord in his conscience,
whensoever he should pass by that place; for if I be bound to pray for all
that be in distress, I am sure that I am bound, so far at it is in my
power, to practise what I pray for. And though I do not wish for a like
occasion every day, yet let me tell you, I would not willingly pass one day
of my life without comforting a sad soul, or showing mercy, and I praise
God for this occasion."


* * * * *


Hast thou given the horse strength?
Hast thou clothed his neck with his trembling mane?
Hast thou taught him to bound like the locust?
How majestic his snorting! how terrible!
He paweth in the valley; he exulteth in his strength,
And rusheth into the midst of arms.
He laugheth at fear; he trembleth not,
And turneth not back from the sword.
Against him rattle the quiver,
The flaming spear, and the lance.
With rage and fury he devoureth the ground;
He will not believe that the trumpet soundeth.
At every blast of the trumpet, he saith, Aha!
And snuffeth the battle afar off,--
The thunder of the captains, and the war-shout.

_Job, chap._ 39, NOYES' _Translation_.

* * * * *



When Allah's breath created first
The noble Arab steed,--
The conqueror of all his race
In courage and in speed,--

To the South-wind He spake: From thee
A creature shall have birth,
To be the bearer of my arms
And my renown on earth.

Then to the perfect horse He spake:
Fortune to thee I bring;
Fortune, as long as rolls the earth,
Shall to thy forelock cling.

Without a pinion winged thou art,
And fleetest with thy load;
Bridled art thou without a rein,
And spurred without a goad.


* * * * *


Come, my beauty! come, my desert darling!
On my shoulder lay thy glossy head!
Fear not, though the barley-sack be empty,
Here's the half of Hassan's scanty bread.

Thou shalt have thy share of dates, my beauty!
And thou know'st my water-skin is free:
Drink and welcome, for the wells are distant,
And my strength and safety lie in thee.

Bend thy forehead now, to take my kisses!
Lift in love thy dark and splendid eye:
Thou art glad when Hassan mounts the saddle,--
Thou art proud he owns thee: so am I.

Let the Sultan bring his boasted horses,
Prancing with their diamond-studded reins;
They, my darling, shall not match thy fleetness
When they course with thee the desert plains!

We have seen Damascus, O my beauty!
And the splendor of the Pashas there;
What's their pomp and riches? why, I would not
Take them for a handful of thy hair!


* * * * *


Yet pity for a horse o'erdriven,
And love in which my hound has part,
Can hang no weight upon my heart,
In its assumptions up to heaven:

And I am so much more than these
As thou, perchance, art more than I,
And yet I would spare them sympathy,
And I would set their pains at ease.

TENNYSON'S _In Memoriam._

* * * * *


Gamarra is a dainty steed,
Strong, black, and of a noble breed,
Full of fire, and full of bone,
With all his line of fathers known;
Fine his nose, his nostrils thin,
But blown abroad by the pride within!
His mane is like a river flowing,
And his eyes like embers glowing
In the darkness of the night,
And his pace as swift as light.

Look,--how 'round his straining throat
Grace and shining beauty float!
Sinewy strength is in his reins,
And the red blood gallops through his veins--
Richer, redder, never ran
Through the boasting heart of man.
He can trace his lineage higher
Than the Bourbon dare aspire,--
Douglas, Guzman, or the Guelph,
Or O'Brien's blood itself!

He, who hath no peer, was born,
Here upon a red March morn;
But his famous fathers dead
Were Arabs all, and Arabs bred,
And the last of that great line
Trod like one of a race divine!
And yet,--he was but friend to one
Who fed him at the set of sun
By some lone fountain fringed with green;
With him, a roving Bedouin,
He lived (none else would he obey
Through all the hot Arabian day),--
And died untamed upon the sands
Where Balkh amidst the desert stands!


* * * * *


The king looked on him kindly, as on a vassal true;
Then to the king Ruy Diaz spake, after reverence due,
"O king! the thing is shameful, that any man beside
The liege lord of Castile himself, should Bavieca ride.

"For neither Spain nor Araby could another charger bring
So good as he, and certes, the best befits my king,
But, that you may behold him, and know him to the core,
I'll make him go as he was wont when his nostrils smelt the Moor."

With that the Cid, clad as he was, in mantle furred and wide,
On Bavieca vaulting, put the rowel in his side;
And up and down, and round and round, so fierce was his career,
Streamed like a pennon on the wind, Ruy Diaz' minivere.

And all that saw them praised them,--they lauded man and horse,
As matched well, and rivals for gallantry and force;
Ne'er had they looked on horsemen might to this knight come near,
Nor on other charger worthy of such a cavalier.

Thus, to and fro a-rushing, the fierce and furious steed,
He snapped in twain his nether rein: "God pity now the Cid!
God pity Diaz!" cried the lords,--but when they looked again,
They saw Ruy Diaz ruling him with the fragment of his rein;
They saw him proudly ruling with gesture firm and calm,
Like a true lord commanding, and obeyed as by a lamb.

And so he led him foaming and panting to the king,
But, "No," said Don Alphonso, "it were a shameful thing,
That peerless Bavieca should ever be bestrid
By any mortal but Bivar,--mount, mount again, my Cid!"

LOCKHART'S _Spanish Ballads._

* * * * *


Word was brought to the Danish king,
That the love of his heart lay suffering,
And pined for the comfort his voice would bring;
(Oh! ride as though you were flying!)
Better he loves each golden curl
On the brow of that Scandinavian girl
Than his rich crown-jewels of ruby and pearl;
And his Rose of the Isles is dying.

Thirty nobles saddled with speed;
Each one mounted a gallant steed
Which he kept for battle and days of need;
(Oh! ride as though you were flying!)
Spurs were struck in the foaming flank;
Worn-out chargers staggered and sank;
Bridles were slackened, and girths were burst:
But ride as they would, the king rode first;
For his Rose of the Isles lay dying.

His nobles are beaten, one by one;
They have fainted, and faltered, and homeward gone;
His little fair page now follows alone,
For strength and for courage trying,
The king looked back at that faithful child:
Wan was the face that answering smiled.
They passed the drawbridge with clattering din:
Then he dropped; and only the king rode in
Where his Rose of the Isles lay dying.

The king blew a blast on his bugle horn;
No answer came, but faint and forlorn
An echo returned on the cold gray morn,
Like the breath of a spirit sighing.
The castle portal stood grimly wide;
None welcomed the king from that weary ride;
For, dead in the light of the dawning day,
The pale sweet form of the welcomer lay,
Who had yearned for his voice while dying.

The panting steed with a drooping crest
Stood weary.
The king returned from her chamber of rest,
The thick sobs choking in his breast;
And that dumb companion eying,
The tears gushed forth, which he strove to check;
He bowed his head on his charger's neck:
"O steed, that every nerve didst strain,
Dear steed, our ride hath been in vain,
To the halls where my love lay dying!"


* * * * *

Go forth under the open sky and list
To Nature's teachings.


* * * * *


"Yesterday we buried my pretty brown mare under the wild-cherry tree. End
of poor Bess."

When a human being dies,
Seeming scarce so good or wise,
Scarce so high in scale of mind
As the horse he leaves behind,
"Lo," we cry, "the fleeting spirit
Doth a newer garb inherit;
Through eternity doth soar,
Growing, greatening, evermore."
But our beautiful dumb creatures
Yield their gentle, generous natures,
With their mute, appealing eyes,
Haunted by earth's mysteries,
Wistfully upon us cast,
Loving, trusting, to the last;
And we arrogantly say,
"They have had their little day;
Nothing of them but was clay."

Has all perished? Was no mind
In that graceful form enshrined?
Can the love that filled those eyes
With most eloquent replies,
When the glossy head close pressing,
Grateful met your hand's caressing;
Can the mute intelligence,
Baffling oft our human sense
With strange wisdom, buried be
"Under the wild-cherry tree?"
Are these elements that spring
In a daisy's blossoming,
Or in long dark grasses wave
Plume-like o'er your favorite's grave?
Can they live in us, and fade
In all else that God has made!
Is there aught of harm believing
That, some newer form receiving,
They may find a wider sphere,
Live a larger life than here?
That the meek, appealing eyes,
Haunted by strange mysteries,
Find a more extended field,
To new destinies unsealed;
Or that in the ripened prime
Of some far-off summer time,
Ranging that unknown domain,
We may find our pets again?


* * * * *


A Bedouin of true honor, good Nebar,
Possessed a horse whose fame was spread afar;
No other horse was half so proud and strong;
His feet were like the north wind swept along;
In his curved neck, and in his flashing eye,
You saw the harbingers of victory.

So, many came to Nebar day by day,
And longed to take his noble horse away;
Large sums they offered, and with grace besought.
But, all in vain; the horse could not be bought.

With these came Daher, of another tribe,
To see if he might not the owner bribe;
Yet purposeless,--no money, skill, nor breath
Could part the owner from his horse till death.

Then Daher, who was subtle, mean, and sly,
Concluded, next, some stratagem to try;
So, clothed in rags, and masked in form and face,
He as a beggar walked with limping pace,
And, meeting Nebar with the horse one day,
He fell, and prostrate on the desert lay.

The ruse succeeded; for, when Nebar found
A helpless man in sorrow on the ground,
He took him up, and on the noble steed
Gave him a place; but what a thankless deed!
For Daher shouted, laughed, and, giving rein,
Said, "You will never see your horse again!"

"Take him," said Nebar, "but, for Mercy's sake,
Tell no man in what way you choose to take,
Lest others, seeing what has happened me,
Omit to do some needed charity."
Pierced by these words, the robber's keen remorse
Thwarted his plan, and he returned the horse,
Shame-faced and sorrowful; then slunk away
As if he feared the very light of day!


* * * * *


Your horse is faint, my King, my lord! your gallant horse is sick,--
His limbs are torn, his breast is gored, on his eye the film is thick;
Mount, mount on mine, O mount apace, I pray thee, mount and fly!
Or in my arms I'll lift your Grace,--their trampling hoofs are nigh!

My King, my King! you're wounded sore,--the blood runs from your feet;
But only lay a hand before, and I'll lift you to your seat;
Mount, Juan, for they gather fast!--I hear their coming cry,--
Mount, mount, and ride for jeopardy,--I'll save you, though I die!

Stand, noble steed! this hour of need,--be gentle as a lamb;
I'll kiss the foam from off thy mouth,--thy master dear I am,--
Mount, Juan, mount; whate'er betide, away the bridle fling,
Drive on, drive on with utmost speed,--My horse shall save my King!

LOCKART'S _Spanish Ballads._

* * * * *

"BAY BILLY."--(Extracts.)

At last from out the centre fight
Spurred up a general's aid.
"That battery must silenced be!"
He cried, as past he sped.
Our colonel simply touched his cap,
And then, with measured tread,

To lead the crouching line once more
The grand old fellow came.
No wounded man but raised his head
And strove to gasp his name,
And those who could not speak nor stir,
"God blessed him" just the same.

This time we were not half-way up,
When, midst the storm of shell,
Our leader, with his sword upraised,
Beneath our bayonets fell.
And, as we bore him back, the foe
Set up a joyous yell.

Just then before the laggard line
The colonel's horse we spied,
Bay Billy with his trappings on,
His nostrils swelling wide,
As though still on his gallant back
The master sat astride.

Right royally he took the place
That was of old his wont,
And with a neigh that seemed to say,
Above the battle's brunt,
"How can the Twenty-second charge
If I am not in front?"

No bugle-call could rouse us all
As that brave sight had done.
Down all the battered line we felt
A lightning impulse run.
Up! up! the hill we followed Bill,
And we captured every gun!

And then the dusk and dew of night
Fell softly o'er the plain,
As though o'er man's dread work of death
The angels wept again,
And drew night's curtain gently round
A thousand beds of pain.

At last the morning broke. The lark
Sang in the merry skies
As if to e'en the sleepers there
It bade awake, and rise!
Though naught but that last trump of all
Could ope their heavy eyes.

And as in faltering tone and slow,
The last few names were said,
Across the field some missing horse
Toiled up with weary tread,
It caught the sergeant's eye, and quick
Bay Billy's name he read.

Not all the shoulder-straps on earth
Could still our mighty cheer;
And ever from that famous day,
When rang the roll-call clear,
Bay Billy's name was read, and then
The whole line answered, "Here!"


* * * * *

We cannot kindle when we will,
The fire that in the heart resides;
But tasks in hours of insight willed,
Can be through hours of gloom fulfilled.


* * * * *



What was it, that passed like an ominous breath--
Like a shiver of fear, or a touch of death?
What is it? The valley is peaceful still,
And the leaves are afire on top of the hill.
It was not a sound--nor a thing of sense--
But a pain, like the pang of the short suspense
That thrills the being of those who see
At their feet the gulf of Eternity!

The air of the valley has felt the chill:
The workers pause at the door of the mill;
The housewife, keen to the shivering air,
Arrests her foot on the cottage stair,
Instinctive taught by the mother-love,
And thinks of the sleeping ones above.
Why start the listeners? Why does the course
Of the mill-stream widen? Is it a horse--
Hark to the sound of his hoofs, they say--
That gallops so wildly Williamsburg way!
God! what was that, like a human shriek
From the winding valley? Will nobody speak?
Will nobody answer those women who cry
As the awful warnings thunder by?

Whence come they? Listen! And now they hear
The sound of galloping horse-hoofs near;
They watch the trend of the vale, and see
The rider who thunders so menacingly,
With waving arms and warning scream
To the home-filled banks of the valley stream.
He draws no rein, but he shakes the street
With a shout and the ring of the galloping feet;
And this the cry he flings to the wind;
"To the hills for your lives! The flood is behind!"

But onward still,
In front of the roaring flood is heard
The galloping horse and the warning word.
Thank God! the brave man's life is spared!
From Williamsburg town he nobly dared
To race with the flood and take the road
In front of the terrible swath it mowed.
For miles it thundered and crashed behind,
But he looked ahead with a steadfast mind;
"They must be warned!" was all he said,
As away on his terrible ride he sped.


* * * * *


A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet:
That was all! and yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.

He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders, that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.

It was twelve by the village clock
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer's dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.

It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, blank and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.

It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadows brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket-ball.

You know the rest. In the books you have read,
How the British Regulars fired and fled,--
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farm-yard wall,
Chasing the red-coats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.

So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,--
A cry of defiance and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.


* * * * *

SHERIDAN'S RIDE.--(Extracts.)

Up from the South at break of day,
Bringing to Winchester fresh dismay,
The affrighted air with a shudder bore,
Like a herald in haste, to the chieftain's door
The terrible grumble, and rumble, and roar,
Telling the battle was on once more,
And Sheridan twenty miles away.

But there is a road from Winchester town,
A good broad highway leading down;
And there, through the flush of the morning light,
A steed as black as the steeds of night,
Was seen to pass, as with eagle flight,
As if he knew the terrible need;
He stretched away with his utmost speed;
Hills rose and fell; but his heart was gay,
With Sheridan fifteen miles away.

Under his spurning feet the road
Like an arrowy Alpine river flowed,
And the landscape sped away behind
Like an ocean flying before the wind,
And the steed, like a bark fed with furnace fire,
Swept on, with his wild eye full of ire.
But lo! he is nearing his heart's desire;
He is snuffing the smoke of the roaring fray,
With Sheridan only five miles away.

The first that the general saw were the groups
Of stragglers, and then the retreating troops,
What was done? what to do? a glance told him both,
Then striking his spurs, with a terrible oath,
He dashed down the line, mid a storm of huzzas,
And the wave of retreat checked its course there, because
The sight of the master compelled it to pause.
With foam and with dust the black charger was gray;
By the flash of his eye, and the red nostril's play,
He seemed to the whole great army to say,
"I have brought you Sheridan all the way
From Winchester down, to save the day!"

Hurrah! hurrah for Sheridan!
Hurrah! hurrah for horse and man!
And when their statues are placed on high,
Under the dome of the Union sky,
The American soldiers' Temple of Fame;
There with the glorious general's name,
Be it said, in letters both bold and bright,
"Here is the steed that saved the day,
By carrying Sheridan into the fight,
From Winchester, twenty miles away!"


* * * * *

GOOD NEWS TO AIX.--(Extract.)

I sprang to the stirrup, and Joris and he;
I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped all three;
"Good speed!" cried the watch as the gate-bolts undrew,
"Speed!" echoed the wall to us galloping through.
Behind shut the postern, the lights sank to rest,
And into the midnight we galloped abreast.

Not a word to each other; we kept the great pace,--
Neck by neck, stride by stride, never changing our place;
I turned in my saddle and made its girths tight,
Then shortened each stirrup and set the pique right,
Rebuckled the check-strap, chained slacker the bit,
Nor galloped less steadily Roland a whit.

'Twas moonset at starting; but while we drew near
Lokeren, the cocks crew and twilight dawned clear;
At Boom a great yellow star came out to see;
At Dueffeld 'twas morning as plain as could be;
And from Mecheln church-steeple we heard the half-chime,--
So Joris broke silence with "Yet there is time!"

At Aerschot, up leaped of a sudden the sun,
And against him the cattle stood, black every one,
To stare through the mist at us galloping past,
And I saw my stout galloper, Roland, at last,
With resolute shoulders, each butting away
The haze, as some bluff river headland its spray.
* * * * *

(But "Roos" and the "Roan" fell dead on the way; the latter, when Aix was
in sight!)

And there was my Roland to bear the whole weight
Of the news which alone could save Aix from her fate,
With his nostrils like pits full of blood to the brim,
And with circles of red for his eye-sockets' rim.

Then I cast loose my buff-coat, each holster let fall,
Shook off both my jack-boots, let go belt and all,
Stood up in the stirrup, leaned, patted his ear,
Called my Roland his pet-name, my horse without peer;
Clapped my hands, laughed and sang, any noise, bad or good,
Till at length into Aix Roland galloped and stood.

And all I remember is, friends flocking round
As I sat with his head 'twixt my knees on the ground,
And no voice but was praising this Roland of mine,
As I poured down his throat our last measure of wine,
Which (the burgesses voted by common consent)
Was no more than his due who brought good news from Ghent.


* * * * *


Only a fallen horse, stretched out there on the road,
Stretched in the broken shafts, and crushed by the heavy load;
Only a fallen horse, and a circle of wondering eyes
Watching the 'frighted teamster goading the beast to rise.

Hold! for his toil is over--no more labor for him;
See the poor neck outstretched, and the patient eyes grow dim;
See on the friendly stones now peacefully rests his head--
Thinking, if dumb beasts think, how good it is to be dead;
After the burdened journey, how restful it is to lie
With the broken shafts and the cruel load--waiting only to die.

Watchers, he died in harness--died in the shafts and straps--
Fell, and the great load killed him; one of the day's mishaps--
One of the passing wonders marking the city road--
A toiler dying in harness, heedless of call or goad.

Passers, crowding the pathway, staying your steps awhile,
What is the symbol? "Only death? why should you cease to smile
At death for a beast of burden?" On through the busy street
That is ever and ever echoing the tread of the hurrying feet!

What was the sign? A symbol to touch the tireless will.
Does he who taught in parables speak in parables still?
The seed on the rock is wasted--on heedless hearts of men,
That gather and sow and grasp and lose--labor and sleep--and then--
Then for the prize! A crowd in the street of ever-echoing tread--
The toiler, crushed by the heavy load, is there in his harness--dead.


* * * * *


For my part, I cannot but charge his using his servants like so many beasts
of burden, and turning them off, or selling them when they grew old, to the
account of a mean and ungenerous spirit which thinks that the sole tie
between man and man is interest or necessity. But goodness moves in a
larger sphere than justice. The obligations of law and equity reach only to
mankind, but kindness and beneficence should be extended to creatures of
every species; and these still flow from the breast of a well-natured man,
as streams that issue from the living fountain. A good man will take care
of his horses and dogs, not only while they are young, but when old and
past service. Thus the people of Athens, when they had finished the temple
called Hecatompedon, set at liberty the beasts of burden that had been
chiefly employed in the work, suffering them to pasture at large, free from
any other service. It is said that one of these afterwards came of its own
accord to work, and, putting itself at the head of the laboring cattle,
marched before them to the citadel. This pleased the people, and they made
a decree that it should be kept at the public charge so long as it lived.
The graves of Cimon's mares, with which he thrice conquered at the Olympic
games, are still to be seen near his own tomb. Many have shown particular
marks of regard, in burying the dogs which they had cherished and been fond
of; and amongst the rest Xantippus of old, whose dog swam by the side of
his galley to Salamis, when the Athenians were forced to abandon their
city, and was afterwards buried by him upon a promontory, which to this day
is called the Dog's Grave. We certainly ought not to treat living creatures
like shoes or household goods, which, when worn out with use, we throw
away; and were it only to learn benevolence to humankind, we should be
merciful to other creatures. For my own part, I would not sell even an old
ox that had labored for me; much less would I remove, for the sake of a
little money, a man grown old in my service, from his usual lodgings and
diet; for to him, poor man! it would be as bad as banishment, since he
could be of no more use to the buyer than he was to the seller. But Cato,
as if he took a pride in these things, tells us, that when consul, he left
his war-horse in Spain to save the public the charge of his conveyance.
Whether such things as these are instances of greatness or littleness of
soul, let the reader judge for himself.

_From "Cato the Censor," in the "Lives."_

* * * * *


The gentleness of chivalry, properly so called, depends on the recognition
of the order and awe of lower and loftier animal life, first clearly
taught in the myth of Chiron, and in his bringing up of Jason, AEsculapius,
and Achilles, but most perfectly by Homer, in the fable of the horses of
Achilles, and the part assigned to them, in relation to the death of his
friend, and in prophecy of his own. There is, perhaps, in all the "Iliad,"
nothing more deep in significance--there is nothing in all literature more
perfect in human tenderness, and honor for the mystery of inferior
life--than the verses that describe the sorrow of the divine horses at the
death of Patroclus, and the comfort given them by the greatest of gods.


* * * * *


Sir Robert Clayton, a British cavalry officer, says of some war horses
which had been humanely turned out to perpetual pasture, that while the
horses were grazing on one occasion, a violent thunderstorm arose; at once
the animals fell into line and faced the blazing lightning under an
impression that it was the flash of artillery and the fire of battle.

* * * * *


Once into a quiet village,
Without haste and without heed,
In the golden prime of morning,
Strayed the poet's winged steed.

It was Autumn, and incessant
Piped the quails from shocks and sheaves,
And, like living coals, the apples
Burned among the withering leaves.

Loud the clamorous bell was ringing
From its belfry gaunt and grim;
'Twas the daily call to labor,
Not a triumph meant for him.

Not the less he saw the landscape,
In its gleaming vapor veiled;
Not the less he breathed the odors
That the dying leaves exhaled.

Thus, upon the village common,
By the school-boys he was found;
And the wise men, in their wisdom,
Put him straightway into pound.

Then the sombre village crier,
Ringing loud his brazen bell,
Wandered down the street proclaiming:
There was an estray to sell.

And the curious country people,
Rich and poor, and young and old,
Came in haste to see the wondrous
Winged steed with mane of gold.

Thus the day passed, and the evening
Fell, with vapors cold and dim;
But it brought no food nor shelter,
Brought no straw nor stall, for him.

Patiently, and still expectant,
Looked he through the wooden bars,
Saw the moon rise o'er the landscape.
Saw the tranquil, patient stars;

Till at length the bell at midnight
Sounded from its dark abode,
And, from out a neighboring farm-yard,
Loud the cock Alectryon crowed.

Then, with nostrils wide distended,
Breaking from his iron chain,
And unfolding far his pinions,
To those stars he soared again.

On the morrow, when the village
Woke to all its toil and care,
Lo! the strange steed had departed,
And they knew not when nor where.

But they found, upon the greensward
Where his struggling hoofs had trod,
Pure and bright, a fountain flowing
From the hoof-marks in the sod.

From that hour, the fount unfailing
Gladdens the whole region round,
Strengthening all who drink its waters,
While it soothes them with its sound.


* * * * *


Nay, the man hath no wit, that cannot, from the rising of the lark to the
lodging of the lamb, vary deserved praise on my palfrey; it is a theme as
fluent as the sea; turn the sands into eloquent tongues, and my horse is
argument for them all; 'tis a subject for a sovereign to reason on, and for
a sovereign's sovereign to ride on; and for the world (familiar to us and
unknown), to lay apart their particular functions and wonder at him.

_Henry V._ Act 3, Sec. 7.

* * * * *


Our steeds are impatient! I hear my blithe Gray!
There is life in his hoof-clang, and hope in his neigh;
Like the flash of a meteor, the glance of his mane
Shall marshal your march through the darkness and rain.


* * * * *


The proud steed bends his stately neck
And patient waits his master's word,
While Fido listens for his step,
Welcome, whenever heard.
King Charlie shakes his curly ears,
Secure his home, no harm he fears;
Above the peaceful pigeons coo
Their happy hymn, the long day through.

What means this scene of quiet joy,
This peaceful scene without alloy!
Kind words, kind care, and tender thought
This picture beautiful have wrought.
Its lesson tells of care for all
God's creatures, whether great or small,
And they who love "the least of these,"
Are sure a loving God to please.

_Our Dumb Animals._

* * * * *


* * * * *


Whither, 'midst falling dew,
While glow the heavens with the last steps of day
Far through their rosy depths, dost thou pursue
Thy solitary way?

Vainly the fowler's eye
Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong,
As, darkly painted on the crimson sky,
Thy figure floats along.

Seek'st thou the plashy brink
Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide,
Or where the rocking billows rise and sink
On the chafed ocean side?

There is a Power whose care
Teaches thy way along that pathless coast,--
The desert and illimitable air,--
Lone wandering, but not lost.

All day thy wings have fanned,
At that far height, the cold, thin atmosphere;
Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land,
Though the dark night is near.

And soon that toil shall end;
Soon shalt thou find a summer home, and rest
And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend
Some o'er thy sheltered nest.

Thou'rt gone--the abyss of heaven
Hath swallowed up thy form--yet on my heart
Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast given,
And shall not soon depart.

He, who from zone to zone
Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,
In the long way that I must tread alone
Will lead my steps aright.


* * * * *


Through my north window, in the wintry weather,--
My airy oriel on the river shore,--
I watch the sea-fowl as they flock together
Where late the boatman flashed his dripping oar.

I see the solemn gulls in council sitting
On some broad ice-floe, pondering long and late,
While overhead the home-bound ducks are flitting,
And leave the tardy conclave in debate,

Those weighty questions in their breasts revolving,
Whose deeper meaning science never learns,
Till at some reverend elder's look dissolving,
The speechless senate silently adjourns.

He knows you! "sportsman" from suburban alleys,
Stretched under seaweed in the treacherous punt;
Knows every lazy, shiftless lout that sallies
Forth to waste powder--as _he_ says, to "hunt."

I watch you with a patient satisfaction,
Well pleased to discount your predestined luck;
The float that figures in your sly transaction
Will carry back a goose, but not a duck.

Shrewd is our bird; not easy to outwit him!
Sharp is the outlook of those pin-head eyes;
Still, he is mortal and a shot may hit him;
One cannot always miss him if he tries!

O Thou who carest for the falling sparrow,
Canst Thou the sinless sufferer's pang forget?
Or is thy dread account-book's page so narrow
Its one long column scores thy creature's debt?

Poor, gentle guest, by nature kindly cherished,
A world grows dark with thee in blinding death;
One little gasp,--thy universe has perished,
Wrecked by the idle thief who stole thy breath!

_From "My Aviary," by_ O. W. HOLMES.

* * * * *


Across the narrow beach we flit,
One little sandpiper and I,
And fast I gather, bit by bit,
The scattered driftwood bleached and dry.
The wild waves reach their hands for it,
The wild wind raves, the tide runs high,
As up and down the beach we flit,--
One little sandpiper and I.

Above our heads the sullen clouds
Scud black and swift across the sky;
Like silent ghosts in misty shrouds
Stand out the white lighthouses high.
Almost as far as eye can reach,
I see the close-reefed vessels fly,
As fast we flit along the beach,--
One little sandpiper and I.

I watch him as he skims along,
Uttering his sweet and mournful cry.
He starts not at my fitful song,
Or flash of fluttering drapery.
He has no thought of any wrong;
He scans me with a fearless eye.
Staunch friends are we, well tried and strong,
The little sandpiper and I.

Comrade, where wilt thou be to-night,
When the loosed storm breaks furiously?
My driftwood fire will burn so bright!
To what warm shelter canst thou fly?
I do not fear for thee, though wroth
The tempest rushes through the sky:
For are we not God's children both,
Thou, little sandpiper, and I?


* * * * *


The robin and the bluebird, piping loud,
Filled all the blossoming orchards with their glee;
The sparrows chirped as if they still were proud
Their race in Holy Writ should mentioned be;
And hungry crows, assembled in a crowd,
Clamored their piteous prayer incessantly,
Knowing who hears the ravens cry, and said:
"Give us, O Lord, this day our daily bread!"

* * * * *

Thus came the jocund Spring in Killingworth,
In fabulous days, some hundred years ago;
And thrifty farmers, as they tilled the earth,
Heard with alarm the cawing of the crow,
That mingled with the universal mirth,
Cassandra-like, prognosticating woe;
They shook their heads, and doomed with dreadful words
To swift destruction the whole race of birds.

And a town-meeting was convened straightway
To set a price upon the guilty heads
Of these marauders, who, in lieu of pay,
Levied black-mail upon the garden beds
And cornfields, and beheld without dismay
The awful scarecrow, with his fluttering shreds;
The skeleton that waited at their feast,
Whereby their sinful pleasure was increased.

* * * * *

Rose the Preceptor,...
To speak out what was in him, clear and strong.

* * * * *

"Plato, anticipating the Reviewers,
From his Republic banished without pity
The Poets; in this little town of yours,
You put to death, by means of a Committee,
The ballad-singers and the troubadours,
The street-musicians of the heavenly city,
The birds who make sweet music for us all
In our dark hours, as David did for Saul.


"The thrush that carols at the dawn of day
From the green steeples of the piny wood;
The oriole in the elm; the noisy jay,
Jargoning like a foreigner at his food;
The bluebird balanced on some topmost spray,
Flooding with melody the neighborhood;
Linnet and meadow-lark, and all the throng
That dwell in nests, and have the gift of song.

"You slay them all! and wherefore? for the gain
Of a scant handful more or less of wheat,
Or rye, or barley, or some other grain,
Scratched up at random by industrious feet,
Searching for worm or weevil after rain!
Or a few cherries, that are not so sweet
As are the songs these uninvited guests
Sing at their feast with comfortable breasts.

"Do you ne'er think what wondrous beings these?
Do you ne'er think who made them, and who taught
The dialect they speak, where melodies
Alone are the interpreters of thought?
Whose household words are songs in many keys,
Sweeter than instrument of man e'er caught!
Whose habitations in the tree-tops even
Are half-way houses on the road to heaven!

"Think, every morning when the sun peeps through
The dim, leaf-latticed windows of the grove,
How jubilant the happy birds renew
Their old melodious madrigals of love!
And when you think of this, remember too
'Tis always morning somewhere, and above
The awakening continents, from shore to shore,
Somewhere the birds are singing evermore.


"Think of your woods and orchards without birds!
Of empty nests that cling to boughs and beams
As in an idiot's brain remembered words
Hang empty 'mid the cobwebs of his dreams!
Will bleat of flocks or bellowing of herds
Make up for the lost music, when your teams
Drag home the stingy harvest, and no more
The feathered gleaners follow to your door?

"What! would you rather see the incessant stir
Of insects in the windrows of the hay,
And hear the locust and the grasshopper
Their melancholy hurdy-gurdies play?
Is this more pleasant to you than the whir
Of meadow-lark, and her sweet roundelay,
Or twitter of little field-fares, as you take
Your nooning in the shade of bush and brake?

"You call them thieves and pillagers; but know,
They are the winged wardens of your farms,
Who from the cornfields drive the insidious foe,
And from your harvest keep a hundred harms.
Even the blackest of them all, the crow,
Renders good service as your man-at-arms,
Crushing the beetle in his coat-of-mail,
And crying havoc on the slug and snail.


"How can I teach your children gentleness,
And mercy to the weak, and reverence
For Life, which, in its weakness or excess,
Is still a gleam of God's omnipotence,
Or Death, which, seeming darkness, is no less
The selfsame light, although averted hence,
When by your laws, your actions, and your speech,
You contradict the very things I teach?"

* * * * *

The birds were doomed; and, as the record shows,
A bounty offered for the heads of crows.

* * * * *


Devoured by worms, like Herod, was the town,
Because, like Herod, it had ruthlessly
Slaughtered the Innocents. From the trees spun down
The canker-worms upon the passers-by,
Upon each woman's bonnet, shawl, and gown,
Who shook them off with just a little cry;
They were the terror of each favorite walk,
The endless theme of all the village talk.

The farmers grew impatient, but a few
Confessed their error, and would not complain,
For after all, the best thing one can do
When it is raining, is to let it rain.
Then they repealed the law, although they knew
It would not call the dead to life again;
As school-boys, finding their mistake too late,
Draw a wet sponge across the accusing slate.

That year in Killingworth the Autumn came
Without the light of his majestic look,
The wonder of the falling tongues of flame,
The illumined pages of his Doom's-Day book.
A few lost leaves blushed crimson with their shame,
And drowned themselves despairing in the brook,
While the wild wind went moaning everywhere,
Lamenting the dead children of the air!


But the next Spring a stranger sight was seen,
A sight that never yet by bard was sung,
As great a wonder as it would have been
If some dumb animal had found a tongue!
A wagon, overarched with evergreen,
Upon whose boughs were wicker cages hung,
All full of singing birds, came down the street,
Filling the air with music wild and sweet.

From all the country round these birds were brought,
By order of the town, with anxious quest,
And, loosened from their wicker prisons, sought
In woods and fields the places they loved best,
Singing loud canticles, which many thought
Were satires to the authorities addressed,
While others, listening in green lanes, averred
Such lovely music never had been heard!


* * * * *


"Man is unjust, but God is just; and finally justice
Triumphs; and well I remember a story, that often consoled me,
When as a captive I lay in the old French fort at Port Royal."
This was the old man's favorite tale, and he loved to repeat it
When his neighbors complained that any injustice was done them.
"Once in an ancient city, whose name I no longer remember,
Raised aloft on a column, a brazen statue of Justice
Stood in the public square, upholding the scales in his left hand,
And in its right a sword, as an emblem that justice presided
Over the laws of the land, and the hearts and homes of the people.
Even the birds had built their nests in the scales of the balance,
Having no fear of the sword that flashed in the sunshine above them.
But in course of time the laws of the land were corrupted;
Might took the place of right, and the weak were oppressed, and the
Ruled with an iron rod. Then it chanced in a nobleman's palace
That a necklace of pearls was lost, and erelong a suspicion
Fell on an orphan girl who lived as maid in the household.
She, after form of trial condemned to die on the scaffold,
Patiently met her doom at the foot of the statue of Justice.
As to her Father in heaven her innocent spirit ascended,
Lo! o'er the city a tempest rose; and the bolts of the thunder
Smote the statue of bronze, and hurled in wrath from its left hand
Down on the pavement below the clattering scales of the balance,
And in the hollow thereof was found the nest of a magpie,
Into whose clay-built walls the necklace of pearls was inwoven."

H. W. LONGFELLOW, in _Evangeline_.

* * * * *


Then from a neighboring thicket the mocking-bird, wildest of singers,
Swinging aloft on a willow spray that hung o'er the water,
Shook from his little throat such floods of delirious music,
That the whole air and the woods and the waves seemed silent to listen.
Plaintive at first were the tones and sad; then soaring to madness
Seemed they to follow or guide the revel of frenzied Bacchantes.
Single notes were then heard, in sorrowful, low lamentation;
Till, having gathered them all, he flung them abroad in derision,
As when, after a storm, a gust of wind through the tree-tops
Shakes down the rattling rain in a crystal shower on the branches.

H. W. LONGFELLOW, in _Evangeline_.

* * * * *


To hear the lark begin his flight,
And singing startle the dull night
From his watch-tower in the skies
Till the dappled dawn doth rise;
Then to come, in spite of sorrow,
And at my window bid good-morrow
Through the sweet-briar, or the vine,
Or the twisted eglantine;
While the cock with lively din
Scatters the rear of darkness thin;
And to the stack, or the barn door,
Stoutly struts his dames before;
Oft listening how the hounds and horn
Cheerly rouse the slumbering morn
From the side of some hoar hill,
Through the high wood echoing shrill.


* * * * *


I thought the sparrow's note from heaven,
Singing at dawn on the alder bough;
I brought him home, in his nest, at even,
He sings the song, but it pleases not now,
For I did not bring home the river and sky;
He sang to my ear, they sang to my eye.


* * * * *


Nor crush a worm, whose useful light
Might serve, however small,
To show a stumbling-stone by night,
And save man from a fall.


* * * * *


Up soared the lark into the air,
A shaft of song, a winged prayer,
As if a soul, released from pain,
Were flying back to heaven again.

St. Francis heard; it was to him
An emblem of the Seraphim;
The upward motion of the fire,
The light, the heat, the heart's desire.

Around Assisi's convent gate
The birds, God's poor who cannot wait,
From moor and mere and darksome wood
Came flocking for their dole of food.

"O brother birds," St. Francis said,
"Ye come to me and ask for bread,
But not with bread alone to-day
Shall ye be fed and sent away.

"Ye shall be fed, ye happy birds,
With manna of celestial words;
Not mine, though mine they seem to be,
Not mine, though they be spoken through me.

"Oh, doubly are ye bound to praise
The great Creator in your lays;
He giveth you your plumes of down,
Your crimson hoods, your cloaks of brown.

"He giveth you your wings to fly
And breathe a purer air on high,
And careth for you everywhere,
Who for yourselves so little care!"

With flutter of swift wings and songs
Together rose the feathered throngs,
And singing scattered far apart;
Deep peace was in St. Francis' heart.

He knew not if the brotherhood
His homily had understood;
He only knew that to one ear
The meaning of his words was clear.


* * * * *


Ethereal Minstrel! Pilgrim of the sky!
Dost thou despise the earth where cares abound?
Or, while the wings aspire, are heart and eye
Both with thy nest upon the dewy ground?
Thy nest which thou canst drop into at will,
Those quivering wings composed, that music still!

To the last point of vision, and beyond,
Mount, daring warbler! that love-prompted strain,
('Twixt thee and thine a never-failing bond)
Thrills not the less the bosom of the plain:
Yet might'st thou seem, proud privilege! to sing
All independent of the leafy spring.

Leave to the nightingale her shady wood;
A privacy of glorious light is thine;
Whence thou dost pour upon the world a flood
Of harmony, with instinct more divine;
Type of the wise who soar, but never roam;
True to the kindred points of heaven and home!


* * * * *


Hail to thee, blithe spirit!
Bird thou never wert,
That from heaven, or near it,
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.

Higher still and higher
From the earth thou springest,
Like a cloud of fire,
The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.

Teach us, sprite or bird,
What sweet thoughts are thine:
I have never heard
Praise of love or wine
That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine.

Chorus hymeneal
Or triumphal chant
Matched with thine, would be all
But an empty vaunt--
A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want.

What objects are the fountains
Of thy happy strain?
What fields, or waves, or mountains?
What shapes of sky or plain?
What love of thine own kind? what ignorance of pain?

Better than all measures
Of delightful sound,
Better than all treasures
That in books are found,
Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground!

Teach me half the gladness
That thy brain must know,
Such harmonious madness
From my lips would flow
The world should listen then, as I am listening now!


* * * * *


Bird of the wilderness,
Blithesome and cumberless,
Sweet be thy matin o'er moorland and lea!
Emblem of happiness,
Blest is thy dwelling-place,--
Oh to abide in the desert with thee!
Wild is the day and loud
Far in the downy cloud,
Love gives it energy, love gave it birth.
Where, on thy dewy wing,
Where art thou journeying?
Thy lay is in heaven, thy love is on earth.
O'er fell and mountain sheen,
O'er moor and mountain green,
O'er the red streamer that heralds the day,
Over the cloudlet dim,
Over the rainbow's rim,
Musical cherub, soar, singing, away!
Then, when the gloaming comes,
Low in the heather blooms
Sweet will thy welcome and bed of love be!
Emblem of happiness,
Blest is thy dwelling-place,
Oh to abide in the desert with thee!


* * * * *

A skylark wounded on the wing
Doth make a cherub cease to sing.

He who shall hurt a little wren
Shall never be beloved by men.


* * * * *


Lord, should we oft forget to sing
A thankful evening hymn of praise,
This duty, they to mind might bring,
Who chirp among the bushy sprays.

For in their perches they retire,
When first the twilight waxeth dim;
And every night the sweet-voiced quire
Shuts up the daylight with a hymn.

Ten thousand fold more cause have we
To close each day with praiseful voice,
To offer thankful hearts to Thee,
And in thy mercies to rejoice.


* * * * *


A cruel deed
It is, sweet bird, to cage thee up
Prisoner for life, with just a cup
And a box of seed,
And sod to move on barely one foot square,
Hung o'er dark street, midst foul and murky air.

From freedom brought,
And robbed of every chance of wing,
Thou couldst have had no heart to sing,
One would have thought.
But though thy song is sung, men little know
The yearning source from which those sweet notes flow.

Poor little bird!
As often as I think of thee,
And how thou longest to be free,
My heart is stirred,
And, were my strength but equal to my rage,
Methinks thy cager would be in his cage.

The selfish man!
To take thee from thy broader sphere,
Where thousands heard thy music clear,
On Nature's plan;
And where the listening landscape far and wide
Had joy, and thou thy liberty beside.

A singing slave
Made now; with no return but food;
No mate to love, nor little brood
To feed and save;
No cool and leafy haunts; the cruel wires
Chafe thy young life and check thy just desires.

Brave little bird!
Still striving with thy sweetest song
To melt the hearts that do thee wrong,
I give my word
To stand with those who for thy freedom fight,
Who claim for thee that freedom as thy right.

_Chambers's Journal._

* * * * *


I have a friend across the street,
We never yet exchanged a word,
Yet dear to me his accents sweet--
I am a woman, he a bird.

And here we twain in exile dwell,
Far from our native woods and skies,
And dewy lawns with healthful smell,
Where daisies lift their laughing eyes.

Never again from moss-built nest
Shall the caged woodlark blithely soar;
Never again the heath be pressed
By foot of mine for evermore!

Yet from that feathered, quivering throat
A blessing wings across to me;
No thrall can hold that mellow note,
Or quench its flame in slavery.

When morning dawns in holy calm,
And each true heart to worship calls,
Mine is the prayer, but his the psalm,
That floats about our prison walls.

And as behind the thwarting wires
The captive creature throbs and sings,
With him my mounting soul aspires
On Music's strong and cleaving wings.

My chains fall off, the prison gates
Fly open, as with magic key;
And far from life's perplexing straits,
My spirit wanders, swift and free.

Back to the heather, breathing deep
The fragrance of the mountain breeze,
I hear the wind's melodious sweep
Through tossing boughs of ancient trees.

Beneath a porch where roses climb

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