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I’d smash it into kindlin’, but a present, so, I can’t! And, though a member of the church, and deacon, I declare, That thing jest sets me up on end and makes me want ter swear! I try ter be religious and ter tread the narrer way, But seems as if that critter knew when I knelt down ter pray, And all my thoughts of heaven go a-tumblin’ down ter,–well, A different kind of climate–when that bird sets out ter yell: “_Hoo_-hoo! _Hoo_-hoo! _Hoo_-hoo!”

I read once in a poetry book, that Ezry had ter home, The awful fuss a feller made about a crow, that come And pestered him about ter death and made him sick and sore, By settin’ on his mantel-piece and hollerin’ “Nevermore!” But, say, I’d ruther have the crow, with all his fuss and row, His bellerin’ had _some_ sense, b’gosh! ‘T was _English_, anyhow; And all the crows in Christendom that talked a Christian talk Would seem like nightingales, compared ter that air furrin squawk: “_Hoo_-hoo! _Hoo_-hoo! _Hoo_-hoo!”

* * * * *


I never was naturally vicious;
My spirit was lamb-like and mild;
I never was bad or malicious;
I loved with the trust of a child. But hate now my bosom is burning,
And all through my being I long
To get one solid thump on the head of the chump Who wrote the new popular song.

[Illustration: “The washwoman sings it all wrong.”]

The office-boy hums it,
The book-keeper drums it,
It’s whistled by all on the street; The hand-organ grinds it,
The music-box winds it,
It’s sung by the “cop” on the beat. The newsboy, he spouts it,
The bootblack, he shouts it,
The washwoman sings it all wrong; And I laugh, and I weep,
And I wake, and I sleep,
To the tune of that popular song.

Its measures are haunting my dreaming; I rise at the breakfast-bell’s call
To hear the new chambermaid screaming The chorus aloud through the hall.
The landlady’s daughter’s piano
Is helping the concert along,
And my molars I break on the tenderloin steak As I chew to that popular song.

The orchestra plays it,
The German band brays it,
‘T is sung on the platform and stage; All over the city
They’re chanting the ditty;
At summer resorts it’s the rage. The drum corps, it beats it,
The echo repeats it,
The bass-drummer brings it out strong, And we speak, and we talk,
And we dance, and we walk,
To the notes of that popular song.

It really is driving me crazy;
I feel that I’m wasting away;
My brain is becoming more hazy,
My appetite less every day.
But, ah! I’d not pray for existence, Nor struggle my life to prolong,
If, up some dark alley, with him I might dally Who wrote that new popular song.

The bone-player clicks it,
The banjoist picks it,
It ‘livens the clog-dancer’s heels; The bass-viol moans it,
The bagpiper drones it,
They play it for waltzes and reels. I shall not mind quitting
The earthly, and flitting
Away ‘mid the heavenly throng,
If the mourners who come
To my grave do not hum
That horrible popular song.

* * * * *


I hain’t no great detective, like yer read about,–the kind That solves a whole blame murder case by footmarks left behind; But then, again, on t’other hand, my eyes hain’t shut so tight But I can add up two and two and get the answer right; So, when prayer-meet’ns, Friday nights, got keepin’ awful late, And, fer an hour or so, I’d hear low voices at the gate– And when that gate got saggin’ down ’bout ha’f a foot er so– I says ter mother: “Ma,” says I, “Matildy’s got a beau.”

[Illustration: Matildy’s Beau]

We ought ter have expected it–she’s ‘most eighteen, yer see; But, sakes alive! she’s always seemed a baby, like, ter me; And so, a feller after _her_! why, that jest did beat all! But, t’ other Sunday, bless yer soul, he come around ter call; And when I see him all dressed up as dandy as yer please, But sort er lookin’ ‘s if he had the shivers in his knees, I kind er realized it then, yer might say, like a blow– Thinks I, “No use! I’m gittin’ old; Matildy’s got a beau.”

Just twenty-four short years gone by–it do’n’t seem five, I vow!– I fust called on Matildy–that’s Matildy’s mother now; I recollect I spent an hour a-tyin’ my cravat, And I’d sent up ter town and bought a bang-up shiny hat. And, my! oh, my! them new plaid pants; well, wa’n’t I something grand When I come up the walk with some fresh posies in my hand? And didn’t I feel like a fool when her young brother, Joe, Sang out: “Gee crickets! Looky here! Here comes Matildy’s beau!”

And now another feller comes up _my_ walk, jest as gay, And here’s Matildy blushin’ red in jest her mother’s way; And when she says she’s got ter go an errand to the store, We know _he_ ‘s waitin’ ’round the bend, jest as I’ve done afore; Or, when they’re in the parlor and I knock, why, bless yer heart! I have ter smile ter hear how quick their chairs are shoved apart. They think us old folks don’t “catch on” a single mite; but, sho! I reckon they fergit I was Matildy’s mother’s beau.

* * * * *


My sister’s best feller is ‘most six-foot-three, And handsome and strong as a feller can be; And Sis, she’s so little, and slender, and small, You never would think she could boss him at all; But, my jing!
She do’n’t do a thing
But make him jump ’round, like he worked with a string! It jest makes me ‘shamed of him sometimes, you know, To think that he’ll let a girl bully him so.

He goes to walk with her and carries her muff And coat and umbrella, and that kind of stuff; She loads him with things that must weigh ‘most a ton; And, honest, he _likes_ it,–as if it was fun! And, oh, say!
When they go to a play,
He’ll sit in the parlor and fidget away, And she won’t come down till it’s quarter past eight, And then she’ll scold _him_ ’cause they get there so late.

He spends heaps of money a-buyin’ her things, Like candy, and flowers, and presents, and rings; And all he’s got for ’em ‘s a handkerchief case– A fussed-up concern, made of ribbons and lace; But, my land!
He thinks it’s just grand,
“‘Cause she made it,” he says, “with her own little hand”; He calls her “an angel”–I heard him–and “saint,” And “beautif’lest bein’ on earth”–but she ain’t.

‘Fore _I_ go an errand for her any time I jest make her coax me, and give me a dime; But that great, big silly–why, honest and true– He’d run forty miles if she wanted him to. Oh, gee whiz!
I tell you what ’tis!
I jest think it’s _awful_–those actions of his. _I_ won’t fall in love, when I’m grown–no sir-ee! My sister’s best feller’s a warnin’ to me!

* * * * *


It’s getting on ter winter now, the nights are crisp and chill, The wind comes down the chimbly with a whistle sharp and shrill, The dead leaves rasp and rustle in the corner by the shed, And the branches scratch and rattle on the skylight overhead. The cracklin’ blaze is climbin’ up around the old backlog, As we set by the fireplace here, myself and cat and dog; And as fer me, I’m thinkin’, as the fire burns clear and bright, That it must be mighty lonesome fer the Widder Clark ter-night.

It’s bad enough fer me, b’gosh, a-pokin’ round the place, With jest these two dumb critters here, and nary human face To make the house a home agin, same as it used ter be While mother lived, for she was ’bout the hull wide world ter me. My bein’ all the son she had, we loved each other more– That’s why, I guess, I’m what they call a “bach” at forty-four. It’s hard fer _me_ to set alone, but women folks–‘t ain’t right, And it must be mighty lonesome fer the Widder Clark ter-night.

I see her t’ other mornin’, and, I swan, ‘t wa’n’t later ‘n six, And there she was, out in the cold, a-choppin’ up the sticks To kindle fire fer breakfast, and she smiled so bright and gay, By gee, I simply couldn’t bear ter see her work that way! Well, I went in and chopped, I guess, enough ter last a year, And she said “Thanks,” so pretty, gosh! it done me good ter hear! She do’n’t look over twenty-five, no, not a single mite; Ah, hum! it must be lonesome fer the Widder Clark ter-night.

I sez ter her, “Our breakfasts ain’t much fun fer me or you; Seems’s if two lonesome meals might make one social one fer two.” She blushed so red that I did, too, and I got sorter ‘fraid That she was mad, and, like a fool, come home; I wish I’d stayed! I’d like ter know, now, if she thinks that Clark’s a pretty name– ‘Cause, if she do’n’t, and fancies mine, we’ll make ’em both the same. I think I’ll go and ask her, ’cause ‘t would ease my mind a sight Ter know ‘t wa’n’t quite so lonesome fer the Widder Clark ter-night.

* * * * *


Oh, the Friday evening meetings in the vestry, long ago, When the prayers were long and fervent and the anthems staid and slow, Where the creed was like the pewbacks, of a pattern straight and stiff, And the congregation took it with no doubting “but” or “if,” Where the girls sat, fresh and blooming, with the old folks down before, And the boys, who came in later, took the benches near the door.

Oh, the Friday evening meetings, how the ransomed sinners told Of their weary toils and trials ere they reached the blessed fold; How we trembled when the Deacon, with a saintly relish, spoke Of the fiery place of torment till we seemed to smell the smoke; And we all joined in “Old Hundred” till the rafters seemed to ring When the preacher said, “Now, brethren: Hallelujah! Let us sing.”

Oh, the Friday evening meetings, and the waiting ’round about, ‘Neath the lamplight, at the portal, just to see when _she_ came out, And the whispered, anxious question, and the faintly murmured “Yes,” And the soft hand on your coat-sleeve, and the perfumed, rustling dress,– Oh, the Paradise of Heaven somehow seemed to show its worth When you walked home with an angel through a Paradise on earth.

Oh, the Friday evening meetings, and the happy homeward stroll, While the moonlight softly mingled with the love-light in your soul; Then the lingering ‘neath the lattice where the roses hung above, And the “good-night” kiss at parting, and the whispered word of love,– Ah, they lighted Life’s dark highway with a sweet and sacred glow From the Friday evening meetings in the vestry, long ago.

* * * * *


Little foot, whose lightest pat
Seems to glorify the mat,
Waving hair and picture hat,
Grace the nymphs have taught her;
Gown the pink of fit and style,
Lips that ravish when they smile,– Like a vision, down the aisle
Comes the parson’s daughter.

As she passes, like a dart
To each luckless fellow’s heart
Leaps a throbbing thrill and smart, When his eye has sought her;
Tries he then his sight to bless
With one glimpse of face or tress– Does she know it?–well, I guess!
Parson’s pretty daughter.

Leans she now upon her glove
Cheeks whose dimples tempt to love, And, with saintly look above,
Hears her “Pa” exhort her;
But, within those upturned eyes,
Fair as sunny summer skies,
Just a hint of mischief lies,–
Parson’s roguish daughter.

From their azure depths askance,
When the hymn-book gave the chance, Did I get one laughing glance?
I was sure I caught her.
Are her thoughts so far amiss
As to stray, like mine, to bliss?
For, last night, I stole a kiss
From the parson’s daughter.

* * * * *

[Illustration: man feeding horse]


When the farm work’s done, at the set of sun, And the supper’s cleared away,
And Ma, she sits on the porch and knits, And Dad, he puffs his clay;
Then out I go ter the barn, yer know, With never a word ner sign,
In the twilight dim I harness him– That old gray nag of mine.

He’s used ter me, and he knows, yer see, Down jest which lane ter turn;
Fact is–well, yes–he’s been, I guess, Quite times enough ter learn;
And he knows the hedge by the brook’s damp edge, Where the twinklin’ fireflies shine,
And he knows who waits by the pastur’ gates– That old gray nag of mine.

So he stops, yer see, fer he thinks, like me, That a buggy’s made fer two;
Then along the lane, with a lazy rein, He jogs in the shinin’ dew;
And he do’n’t fergit he can loaf a bit In the shade of the birch and pine;
Oh, he knows his road, and he knows his load– That old gray nag of mine.

No, he ain’t the sort that the big-bugs sport, Docked up in the latest style,
But he suits us two, clean through and through, And, after a little while,
When the cash I’ve saved brings the home we’ve craved, So snug, and our own design,
He’ll take us straight ter the parson’s gate– That old gray nag of mine.

* * * * *


The fog was so thick yer could cut it ‘Thout reachin’ a foot over-side,
The dory she’d nose up ter butt it, And then git discouraged an’ slide;
No noise but the thole-pins a-squeakin’, Or, maybe, the swash of a wave,
No feller ter cheer yer by speakin’– ‘Twas lonesomer, lots, than the grave.

I set there an’ thought of my trouble, I thought how I’d worked fer the cash
That bust and went up like a bubble The day that the bank went ter smash.
I thought how the fishin’ was failin’, How little this season I’d made,
I thought of the child that was ailin’, I thought of the bills ter be paid.

“And,” says I, “All my life I’ve been fightin’ Through oceans of nothin’ but fog;
And never no harbor a-sightin’–
Jest driftin’ around like a log;
No matter how sharp I’m a-spyin’,
I never see nothin’ ahead:
I’m sick and disgusted with tryin’– I jest wish ter God I was dead.”

It wa’n’t more’n a minute, I’m certain, The words was jest out er my mouth,
When up went the fog, like a curtain, And “puff” came the breeze from the south; And ’bout a mile off, by rough guessin’, I see my own shanty on shore,
And Mary, my wife and my blessin’,
God keep her, she stood in the door.

And I says ter myself, “I’m a darlin’; A chap with a woman like that,
To set here a-grumblin’ and snarlin’, As sour as a sulky young brat–
I’d better jest keep my helm steady, And not mind the fog that’s adrift,
For when the Lord gits good and ready, I reckon it’s certain ter lift.”

* * * * *


My dream-ship’s decks are of beaten gold, And her fluttering banners are brave of hue, And her shining sails are of satin fold, And her tall sides gleam where the warm waves woo: While the flung spray leaps in a diamond dew From her bright bow, dipping its dance of glee; For the skies are fair and the soft winds coo, Where my dream-ship sails o’er the silver sea.

My dream-ship’s journeys are long and bold, And the ports she visits are far and few; They lie by the rosy shores of old,
‘Mid the dear lost scenes my boyhood knew; Or, deep in the future’s misty blue,
By the purple islands of Arcady,–
And Spain’s fair turrets shine full in view, Where my dream-ship sails o’er the silver sea.

My dream-ship’s cargo is wealth untold, Rare blooms that the old home gardens grew, Sweet pictured faces, and loved songs trolled By lips long laid ‘neath the churchyard yew; Or wondrous wishes not yet come true,
And fame and glory that is to be;– Hope holds the wheel all the lone watch through, Where my dream-ship sails o’er the silver sea.


Heart’s dearest, what though the storms may brew, And earth’s ways darken for you and me? The breeze is fair–let us voyage anew,
Where my dream-ship sails o’er the silver sea.

* * * * *


It’s A wonderful world we’re in, my dear, A wonderful world, they say,
And blest they be who may wander free Wherever a wish may stray;
Who spread their sails to the arctic gales, Or bask in the tropic’s bowers,
While we must keep to the foot-path steep In this workaday life of ours.

For smooth is the road for the few, my dear, And wide are the ways they roam:
Our feet are led where the millions tread, In the worn, old lanes of home.
And the years may flow for weal or woe, And the frost may follow the flowers,
Our steps are bound to the self-same round In this workaday life of ours.

But narrow our path may be, my dear,
And simple the scenes we view,
A heart like thine, and a love like mine, Will carry us bravely through.
With a happy song we’ll trudge along, And smile in the shine or showers,
And we’ll ease the pack on a brother’s back By this workaday life of ours.

* * * * *


In the gleam and gloom of the April weather, When the snows have flown in the brooklet’s flood, And the Showers and Sunshine sport together, And the proud Bough boasts of the baby Bud; On the hillside brown, where the dead leaves linger In crackling layers, all crimped and curled, She parts their folds with a timid finger, And shyly peeps at the waking world.

The roystering West Wind flies to greet her, And bids her haste, with a gleeful shout: The quickening Saplings bend to meet her, And the first green Grass-blades call, “Come out!” So, venturing forth with a dainty neatness, In gown of pink or in white arrayed,
She comes once more in her fresh completeness, A modest, fair little Pilgrim Maid.

Her fragrant petals, their beauties showing, Creep out to sprinkle the hill and dell, Like showers of Stars in the shadows glowing, Or Snowflakes blossoming where they fell; And the charmed Wood leaps into joyous blooming, As though’t were touched by a Fairy’s ring, And the glad Earth scents, in the rare perfuming, The first sweet breath of the new-born Spring.

* * * * *


To my office window, gray,
Come the sunbeams in their play,
Come the dancing, glancing sunbeams, airy fairies of the May; Like a breath of summer-time,
Setting Memory’s bells a-chime,
Till their jingle seems to mingle with the measure of my rhyme.

And above the tramp of feet,
And the clamor of the street,
I can hear the thrush’s singing, ringing high and clear and sweet,– Hear the murmur of the breeze
Through the bloom-starred apple trees, And the ripples softly splashing and the dashing of the seas;

See the shadow and the shine
Where the glossy branches twine,
And the ocean’s sleepy tuning mocks the crooning in the pine; Hear the catbird whistle shrill
In the bushes by the rill,
Where the violets toss and twinkle as they sprinkle vale and hill;

Feel the tangled meadow-grass
On my bare feet as I pass;
See the clover bending over in a dew-bespangled mass; See the cottage by the shore,
With the pansy beds before,
And the old familiar places and the faces at the door.


Oh, the skies of blissful blue,
Oh, the woodland’s verdant hue,–
Oh, the lazy days of boyhood, when the world was fair and new! Still to me your tale is told
In the summer’s sunbeam’s gold,
And my truant fancy straying, goes a-Maying as of old.

* * * * *


The spring sun flashes a rapier thrust Through the dingy school-house pane,
A shining scimitar, free from rust, That cuts the cloud of the drifting dust, And scatters a golden rain;
And the boy at the battered desk within Is dreaming a dream sublime,
For study’s a wrong, and school a sin, When the joys of woods and fields begin, And it’s just birds’-nesting time.

He dreams of a nook by the world unguessed, Where the thrush’s song is sung,
And the dainty yellowbird’s fairy nest, Lined with the fluff from the cattail’s crest, ‘Mid the juniper boughs is hung;
And further on, by the elder hedge, Where the turtles come out to sleep,
The marsh-hen builds, by the brooklet’s edge, Her warm, wet home in the swampy sedge,
‘Mid the shadows so dark and deep.

He knows of the spot by the old stone wall, Where the sunlight dapples the glade,
And the sweet wild-cherry blooms softly fall, And hid in the meadow-grass rank and tall, The “Bob-white’s” eggs are laid.
He knows, where the sea-breeze sobs and sings, And the sand-hills meet the brine,
The clamorous crows, with their whirring wings, Tell of their treasure that sways and swings In the top of the tasselled pine.

* * * * *

And so he dreamed, with a happy face, Till the noontide recess came,
And when’t was over, ah, sad disgrace, The teacher, seeing an empty place,
Marked “truant” against his name;
While he, forgetful of book or rule, Sought only a tree to climb:
For where is the boy who remembers school When the cowslip blows by the marshy
And it’s just birds’-nesting time?

* * * * *


Where the warm spring sunlight, streaming Through the window, sets its gleaming,
With a softened silver sparkle in the dim and dusky hall, With its tassel torn and tattered,
And its blade, deep-bruised and battered, Like a veteran, scarred and weary, hangs the old sword on the wall.

None can tell its stirring story,
None can sing its deeds of glory,
None can say which cause it struck for, or from what limp hand it fell; On the battle-field they found it,
Where the dead lay thick around it– Friend and foe–a gory tangle–tossed and torn by shot and shell.

Who, I wonder, was its wearer,
Was its stricken soldier bearer?
Was he some proud Southern stripling, tall and straight and brave and true? Dusky locks and lashes had he?
Or was he some Northern laddie,
Fresh and fair, with cheeks of roses, and with eyes and coat of blue?

From New England’s fields of daisies, Or from Dixie’s bowered mazes,
Rode he proudly forth to conflict? What, I wonder, was his name? Did some sister, wife, or mother,
Mourn a husband, son, or brother?
Did some sweetheart look with longing for a love who never came?

Fruitless question! Fate forever
Keeps its secret, answering never. But the grim old blade shall blossom on this mild Memorial Day; I will wreathe its hilt with roses
For the soldier who reposes
Somewhere ‘neath the Southern grasses in his garb of blue or gray.

May the flowers be fair above him,
May the bright buds bend and love him, May his sleep be deep and dreamless till the last great bugle-call; And may North and South be nearer
To each other’s heart, and dearer, For the memory of their heroes and the old swords on the wall.

* * * * *


Pavements a-frying in street and in square, Never a breeze in the blistering air,
Never a place where a fellow can run Out of the shine of the sizzling sun:
“General Humidity” having his way,
Killing us off by the hundred a day; Mercury climbing the tube like a shot,– Suffering Caesar! I tell you it’s hot!

Collar kerflummoxed all over my neck, Necktie and bosom and wristbands a wreck, Handkerchief dripping and worn to a shred Mopping and scouring my face and my head; Simply ablaze from my head to my feet,
Back all afire with the prickles of heat,– Not on my cuticle one easy spot,–
Jiminy Moses! I tell you it’s _hot_!

Give me a fan and a seat in the shade, Bring me a bucket of iced lemonade;
Dress me in naught but the thinnest of clothes, Start up the windmill and turn on the hose: Set me afloat from my toes to my chin,
Open the ice-box and fasten me in,– If it should freeze me, why, that matters not,– Brimstone and blazes! I tell you it’s HOT!

* * * * *

[Illustration: “Collar kerflummoxed all over my neck.”]


Summer nights at Grandpa’s–ain’t they soft and still! Just the curtains rustlin’ on the window-sill, And the wind a-blowin’, warm and wet and sweet– Smellin’ like the meadows or the fields of wheat; Just the bullfrogs pipin’ in amongst the grass, Where the water’s shinin’ like a lookin’-glass; Just a dog a-barkin’ somewheres up along, So far off his yelpin’ ‘s like a kind of song.

Summer nights at Grandpa’s–hear the crickets sing, And the water bubblin’ down beside the spring; Hear the cattle chewin’ fodder in the shed, And an owl a-hootin’ high up overhead;
Hear the “way-off noises,” faint and awful far– So mixed-up a feller do’n’t know what they are– But so sort er lazy that they seem ter keep Sayin’ over ‘n’ over, “Sonny, go ter sleep.”

Summer nights at Grandpa’s–ain’t it fun ter lay In the early mornin’ when it’s gettin’ day– When the sun is risin’ and it’s fresh and cool, And you ‘re feelin’ happy coz there ain’t no school?– When you hear the crowin’ as the rooster wakes, And you think of breakfast and the buckwheat cakes; Sleepin’ in the city’s too much fuss and noise; Summer nights at Grandpa’s are the things for boys.

* * * * *


Grandfather’s “summer sweets” are ripe. Out on the gnarled old tree,
Out where the robin redbreasts pipe, And buzzes the bumblebee;
Swinging high on the bending bough, Scenting the lazy breeze,
What is the gods’ ambrosia now
To apples of gold like these?

Ruddy the blush of their maiden cheeks After the sunbeam’s kiss–
Every quivering leaflet speaks,
Telling a tale of bliss;
Telling of dainties hung about,
Each in a verdant wreath,
Shimmering satin all without,
Honey and cream beneath.

Would ye haste to the banquet rare,
Taste of the feast sublime?
Brush from the brow the lines of care, Scoff at the touch of Time?
Come in the glow of the olden days, Come with a youthful face,
Come through the old familiar ways, Up from the dear, old place.

Barefoot, trip through the meadow lane, Laughing at bruise and scratch;
Come, with your hands all rich with stain Fresh from the blackberry patch;
Come where the orchard spreads its store And the breath of the clover greets;
Quick! they are waiting you here once more,– Grandfather’s “summer sweets.”

Grandfather’s “summer sweets” are ripe, Out on the gnarled, old tree–
Out where the robin redbreasts pipe, And buzzes the bumblebee;
Swinging high on the bending bough, Scenting the lazy breeze,
What is the gods’ ambrosia now
To apples of gold like these?

* * * * *


Sun like a furnace hung up overhead,
Burnin’ and blazin’ and blisterin’ red; Sky like an ocean, so blue and so deep,
One little cloud-ship becalmed and asleep; Breezes all gone and the leaves hangin’ still, Shimmer of heat on the medder and hill,–Labor and laziness callin’ to me:
“Hoe or the fishin’-pole–which’ll it be?”

There’s the old cornfield out there in the sun, Showin’ so plain that there’s work ter be done; There’s the mean weeds with their tops all a-sprout, Seemin’ ter stump me ter come clean ’em out; But, there’s the river, so clear and so cool, There’s the white lilies afloat on the pool, Scentin’ the shade ‘neath the old maple tree– “Hoe or the fishin’-pole–which’ll it be?”

Dusty and dry droops the corn in the heat, Down by the river a robin sings sweet,
Gray squirrels chatter as if they might say: “Who’s the chump talkin’ of _workin_’ to-day?” Robin’s song tells how the pickerel wait Under the lily-pads, hungry for bait;
I ought ter make for that cornfield, I know: But, “Where’s the fishin’-pole? Hang the old hoe!”

* * * * *


Oh, the cool September mornin’s! now they’re with us once agin, With the grasses wet and shinin’, and the air so clear and thin, When the cheery face of Natur’ seems ter want ter let yer know That she’s done with lazy summer and is brimmin’ full of “go”; When yer hear the cattle callin’ and the hens a-singin’ out, And the pigeons happy cooin’ as they flutter ’round about, And there’s snap and fire and sparkle in the way a feller feels, Till he fairly wants ter holler and ter jump and crack his heels.

There’s a ringin’, singin’ gladness in the tunes the blackbirds pipe When they’re tellin’ from the pear-tree that the Bartletts’s nigh ter ripe; There’s a kind of jolly fatness where the Baldwin apples shine, And the juicy Concord clusters are a-purplin’ on the vine; And the cornstalks, turnin’ yaller and a-crinklin’ up their leaves, Look as if they kind er hankered ter be bundled inter sheaves; And there’s beamin’, streamin’ brightness jest a-gildin’ all the place, And yer somehow seem ter feel it in yer heart and in yer face.

Now the crowd of cranb’r’y pickers, every mornin’ as they pass, Makes a feller think of turkey, with the usual kind of sass, Till a roguish face a-smilin’ ‘neath a bunnit or a hat, Makes him stop and think of somethin’ that’s a good deal sweeter ‘n that; And the lightsome girlish figger trippin’, skippin’ down the lane, Kills his mem’ry full of sunshine, but it’s sunshine mixed with rain,– For, yer see, it sets him dreamin’ of Septembers that he knew When _he_ went a cranb’r’y pickin’ and a girl went with him, too.

Oh, the cool September mornin’s, why, their freshness seems ter roll Like a wave of life a-liftin’ up yer everlastin’ soul, And the earth and all that’s on it seems a-bustin’ inter rhyme So’s ter sing a big thanksgivin’ fer the comin’ harvest-time; And I want ter jine the chorus and ter tell ’em fur and near That I hain’t got wealth nor beauty, but I’m mighty glad I’m here; That I’m getting old and wrinkled, like the husks around the corn, But my heart is all the sweeter on a bright September morn.

* * * * *

[Illustration: boy looking at a turkey]


Hey, you swelled-up turkey feller!
Struttin’ round so big and proud.
Pretty quick I guess your beller
Won’t be goin’ quite so loud.
Say, I’d run and hide, I bet you,
And I’d leave off eatin’ some,
Else the choppin’-block’ll get you,– Don’t you know November’s come?

Don’t you know that Grandma’s makin’
Loads of mince and pun’kin pies?
Don’t you smell those goodies cookin’? Can’t you see ’em? Where’s your eyes?
Tell that rooster there that’s crowin’, Cute folks now are keepin’ mum;
_They_ don’t show how fat they ‘re growin’ When they know November’s come.

‘Member when you tried ter lick me?
Yes, you did, and hurt me, too!
Thought’t was big ter chase and pick me,– Well, I’ll soon be pickin’ you.
Oh, I know you ‘re big and hearty,
So you needn’t strut and drum,–
Better make your will out, smarty,
‘Cause, you know, November’s come.

“Gobble! gobble!” oh, no matter!
Pretty quick you’ll change your tune; You’ll be dead and in a platter,
And _I’ll_ gobble pretty soon.
‘F I was you I’d stop my puffin’,
And I’d look most awful glum;–
Hope they give you lots of stuffin’! _Ain’t_ you glad November’s come?

* * * * *


A stretch of hill and valley, swathed thick in robes of white, The buildings blots of blackness, the windows gems of light, A moon, now clear, now hidden, as in its headlong race The north wind drags the cloud-wrack in tatters o’er its face; Mailed twigs that click and clatter upon the tossing tree, And, like a giant’s chanting, the deep voice of the sea, As ‘mid the stranded ice-cakes the bursting breakers foam,– The old familiar picture–a winter night at home.

The old familiar picture–the firelight rich and red, The lamplight soft and mellow, the shadowed beams o’erhead; And father with his paper, and mother, calm and sweet, Mending the red yarn stockings stubbed through by careless feet. The little attic bedroom, the window ‘neath the eaves, Decked by the Frost King’s brushes with silvered sprays and leaves; The rattling sash which gossips with idle gusts that roam About the ice-fringed gables–the winter nights at home.

What would I give to climb them–those narrow stairs so steep,– And reach that little chamber, and sleep a boy’s sweet sleep! What would I give to view it–that old house by the sea– Filled with the dear lost faces which made it home for me! The sobbing wind sings softly the song of long ago, And in that country churchyard the graves are draped in snow; But there, beyond the arches of Heaven’s star-jeweled dome, Perhaps they know I’m dreaming of winter nights at home.

* * * * *


O, it’s Christmas Eve, and moonlight, and the Christmas air is chill, And the frosty Christmas holly shines and sparkles on the hill, And the Christmas sleigh-bells jingle and the Christmas laughter rings, As the last stray shoppers hurry, takin’ home the Christmas things; And up yonder in the attic there’s a little trundle bed Where there’s Christmas dreams a-dancin’ through a sleepy, curly head; And it’s “Merry Christmas,” Mary, once agin fer me and you, With the little feller’s stockin’ hangin’ up beside the flue.

‘Tisn’t silk, that little stockin’, and it isn’t much fer show, And the darns are pretty plenty ’round about the heel and toe, And the color’s kind er faded, and it’s sort er worn and old, But it really is surprisin’ what a lot of love ’twill hold; And the little hand that hung it by the chimney there along Has a grip upon our heartstrings that is mighty firm and strong; So old Santy won’t fergit it, though it isn’t fine and new,– That plain little worsted stockin’ hangin’ up beside the flue.

And the crops may fail and leave us with our plans all knocked ter smash, And the mortgage may hang heavy, and the bills use up the cash, But whenever comes the season, jest so long’s we’ve got a dime, There’ll be somethin’ in that stockin’–won’t there, Mary?–every time. And if in amongst our sunshine there’s a shower or two of rain, Why, we’ll face it bravely smilin’, and we’ll try not ter complain, Long as Christmas comes and finds us here together, me and you, With the little feller’s stockin’ hangin’ up beside the flue.

* * * * *



You know the story–it’s centuries old– How the Ant and the Grasshopper met, we’re told, On a blustering day, when the wind was cold And the trees were bare and brown;
And the Grasshopper, being a careless blade, Who all the summer had danced and played, Now came to the rich old Ant for aid,
And the latter “turned him down.”

It’s only fancy, but I suppose
That the Grasshopper wore his summer clothes, And stood there kicking his frozen toes
And shaking his bones apart;
And the Ant, with a sealskin coat and hat, Commanded the Grasshopper, brusque and flat, To “Dance through the winter,” and things like that, Which he thought were “cute” and “smart.”

But, mind you, the Ant, all summer long, Had heard the Grasshopper’s merry song,
And had laughed with the rest of the happy throng At the bubbling notes of glee;
And he said to himself, as his cash he lent, Or started out to collect his rent,
“The shif’less fool do’n’t charge a cent,– I’m getting the whole show free.”

I’ve never been told how the pair came out– The Grasshopper starved to death, no doubt, And the Ant grew richer, and had the gout, As most of his brethren do;
I know that it’s better to save one’s pelf, And the Ant is considered a wise old elf, But I like the Grasshopper more myself,– Though that is between we two.

* * * * *


Once, by the edge of a pleasant pool, Under the bank, where ‘t was dark and cool, Where bushes over the water hung,
And grasses nodded and rushes swung– Just where the brook flowed out of the bog– There lived a gouty and mean old Frog,
Who’d sit all day in the mud, and soak, And do just nothing but croak and croak.

‘Till a Blackbird whistled: “I say, you know, What _is_ the trouble down there below?
Are you in sorrow, or pain, or what?” The Frog said: “Mine is a gruesome lot!
Nothing but mud, and dirt, and slime, For me to look at the livelong time.
‘Tis a dismal world!” so he sadly spoke, And voiced his woes in a mournful croak.

“But you’re looking _down!_” the Blackbird said. “Look at the blossoms overhead;
Look at the lovely summer skies;
Look at the bees and butterflies–
Look _up_, old fellow! Why, bless your soul, You’re looking down in a muskrat’s hole!” But still, with his gurgling sob and choke, The Frog continued to croak and croak.

And a wise old Turtle, who boarded near, Said to the Blackbird: “Friend, see here: Don’t shed your tears over him, for he
Is wretched just ’cause he likes to be! He’s one of the kind who _won’t_ be glad; It makes him happy to think he’s sad.
_I’ll_ tell you something–and it’s no joke– Don’t waste your pity on those who croak!”

* * * * *


Oh, those sweet old-fashioned posies, that were mother’s pride and joy, In the sunny little garden where I wandered when a boy! Oh, the morning-glories twining ‘mongst the shining sunflowers tall, And the clematis a-tangle in the angle of the wall! How the mignonette’s sweet blooming was perfuming all the walks, Where the hollyhocks stood proudly with their blossom-dotted stalks; While the old-maids’ pinks were nodding groups of gossips, here and there, And the bluebells swung so lightly in the lazy, hazy air!

Then the sleepy poppies, stooping low their drooping, drowsy heads, And the modest young sweet-williams hiding in their shady beds! By the edges of the hedges, where the spiders’ webs were spun, How the marigolds lay, yellow as the mellow summer sun That made all the grass a-dapple ‘neath the leafy apple tree, Whence you heard the locust drumming and the humming of the bee; While the soft breeze in the trellis, where the roses used to grow, Sent the silken petals flying like a scented shower of snow!

Oh, the quaint old-fashioned garden, and the pathways cool and sweet, With the dewy branches splashing flashing jewels o’er my feet! And the dear old-fashioned blossoms, and the old home where they grew, And the mother-hands that plucked them, and the mother-love I knew! Ah, of all earth’s fragrant flowers in the bowers on her breast, Sure the blooms which memory brings us are the brightest and the best; And the fairest, rarest blossoms ne’er could win my love, I know, Like the sweet old-fashioned posies mother tended long ago.

* * * * *


For years I’ve seen the frothy lines go thund’rin’ down the shore; For years the surge has tossed its kelp and wrack about my door; I’ve heard the sea-wind sing its song in whispers ’round the place, And fought it when it flung the sand, like needles, in my face. I’ve seen the sun-rays turn the roof ter blist’rin’, tarry coal; I’ve seen the ice-drift clog the bay from foamin’ shoal ter shoal; I’ve faced the winter’s snow and sleet, I’ve felt the summer’s shower, But every night I’ve lit the lamp up yonder in the tower.

I’ve seen the sunset flood the earth with streams of rosy light, And every foot of sea-line specked with twinklin’ sails of white; I’ve woke ter find the sky a mess of scud and smoky wreath, A blind wind-devil overhead and hell let loose beneath. And then ter watch the rollers pound on ledges, bars and rips, And pray fer them that go, O Lord, down ter the sea in ships! Ter see the lamp, when darkness comes, throw out its shinin’ track, And think of that one gleamin’ speck in all the world of black.

[Illustration: “It seems ter me that’s all there is: jest do your duty right.”]

And often, through a night like that, I’ve waited fer the day That broke and showed a lonesome sea, a sky all cold and gray; And, may be, on the spit below, where sea-gulls whirl and screech, I’ve seen a somethin’ stretched among the fresh weed on the beach; A draggled, frozen somethin’, in the ocean’s tangled scum, That meant a woman waitin’ fer a man who’d never come; And all the drop of comfort in my sorrer I could git Was this: “I done my best ter save; thank God, the lamp was lit.”

And there’s lots of comfort, really, to a strugglin’ mortal’s breast In the sayin’, if it’s truthful, of “I done my level best”; It seems ter me that’s all there is: jest do your duty right, No matter if yer rule a land or if yer tend a light. My lot is humble, but I’ve kept that lamp a-burnin’ clear, And so, I reckon, when I die I’ll know which course ter steer; The waves may roar around me and the darkness hide the view, But the lights’ll mark the channel and the Lord’ll tow me through.

* * * * *


It stands at the bend where the road has its end, And the blackberries nod on the vine;
And the sun flickers down to its gables of brown, Through the sweet-scented boughs of the pine. The roof-tree is racked and the windows are cracked, And the grasses grow high at the door,
But hid in my heart is an altar, apart, To the little old house by the shore.

For its portal so bare was a Paradise rare, With the blossoms that clustered above, When a mother’s dear face gave a charm to the place As she sang at her labor of love.
And the breeze, as it strays through the window and plays With the dust and the leaves on the floor, Is a memory sweet of the pattering feet
In the little old house by the shore.

And again in my ears, through the dream of the years, They whisper, the playmates of old,
The brother whose eyes were a glimpse of the skies, The sister with ringlets of gold;
And Father comes late to the path at the gate, As he did when the fishing was o’er,
And the echoes ring out, at our welcoming shout, From the little old house by the shore.

But the night-wind has blown and the vision has flown, And the sound of the children is still, And the shadowy mist, like a spirit, has kissed The graves by the church on the hill;
But softly, afar, sing the waves on the bar, A song of the sunshine of yore:
A lullaby deep for the loved ones who sleep Near the little old house by the shore.

* * * * *


When the tide goes out, how the foam-flakes dance Through the wiry sedge-grass near the shore; How the ripples spark in the sunbeam’s glance, As they madly tumble the pebbles o’er!
The barnacled rocks emerging seem,
As their beards of seaweed are tossed about, Like giants who wake from a troubled dream And laugh for joy when the tide goes out.

When the tide goes out, how the shining sands, Like silver, glisten, and gleam, and glow; How the sea-gulls whirl, in their joyous bands, O’er the shoals where the breakers come and go! The coal-black driftwood, gleaming wet,
Relic of by-gone vessel stout,
With its clinging shells, seems a bar of jet, Studded with pearls, when the tide goes out.

When the tide goes out, how the breezes blow The nodding plumes of the pine-trees through; How the far-off ships, like flakes of snow, Are lightly sprinkled upon the blue!
The Sea, as he moves in his slow retreat, Like a warrior struggling for each redoubt, But with flashing lances the sand-bars meet And drive him back, when the tide goes out.

When the tide goes out, how each limpid pool Reflects the sky and the fleecy cloud;
How the rills, like children set free from school, Prattle and plash and sing aloud!
The shore-birds cheerily call, the while They dart and circle in merry rout,–
The face of the ocean seems to smile And the earth to laugh, when the tide goes out.

When the tide goes out, as the years roll by, And Life sweeps on to the outer bar,
And I feel the chill of the depths that lie Beyond the shoals where the breakers are, I will not rail at a kindly Fate,
Or welcome Age with a peevish pout, But still, with a heart of Youth, await
The final wave, when the tide goes out.

* * * * *


When the great, gray fog comes in, and the damp clouds cloak the shore, And the tossing waves grow dim, and the white sails flash no more, Then, over the shrouded sea, where the winding mist-wreaths creep, The deep-voiced Watchers call, the Watchers who guard the Deep.

* * * * *

“Hear! hear! hear! Hark to the word I bring! Toilers upon the sea, list to the Bell-buoy’s ring! List, as I clash and clang! list, as I toss and toll! Under me yawns the grave, under me lies the shoal Where the whirling eddies wait to grapple the drowning crew, And the hungry quicksand hides the bones of the ship it slew. Swift on the outward tack! quick, to the seaward bear! Toilers upon the sea, here is the shoal! Beware!”

“Hear! hear! hear! Hark to me, one and all! Toilers upon the sea, list to the Fog-horn’s call! List to my buzzing cry! list, as I growl and groan: Here is the sullen shore where the white-toothed breakers moan; Where the silky ripples run with the wolf-like wave behind, To leap on the struggling wreck and worry and gnaw and grind, To toss on the cruel crag the dead with his streaming hair! Toilers upon the sea, here are the rocks! Beware!”

“Hear! hear! hear! Hark to my stormy shriek! Toilers upon the sea, the Whistling-buoy would speak! List to my sobbing shout! list, for my word is brief: Death is beneath me here! death on the sunken reef Where the jagged ledge is hid and the slimy seaweeds grow, And the long kelp streamers wave in the dark green depths below, Where, under the shell-clad hulk, the gaunt shark makes his lair,– Toilers upon the sea, here is the reef! Beware!”

* * * * *

And then, o’er the silent sea, an answer from unseen lips, Comes in through the great, gray fog, the word from the mist-bound ships,–
A chorus of bell and horn, faint and afar and clear,– “Thanks, O Guard of the Deep! Watchers, we hear! we hear!”

* * * * *


He ain’t no gold-laced “Belvidere,”
Ter sparkle in the sun;
He do’n’t parade with gay cockade,
And posies in his gun;
He ain’t no “pretty soldier boy,”
So lovely, spick and span,–
He wears a crust of tan and dust,
The Reg’lar Army man;
The marchin’, parchin’,
Pipe-clay starchin’,
Reg’lar Army man.

He ain’t at home in Sunday-school,
Nor yet a social tea,
And on the day he gets his pay
He’s apt to spend it free;
He ain’t no temp’rance advocate,
He likes ter fill the “can,”
He’s kind er rough, and maybe, tough, The Reg’lar Army man;
The r’arin’, tearin’,
Sometimes swearin’,
Reg’lar Army man.

No State’ll call him “noble son,”
He ain’t no ladies’ pet,
But, let a row start anyhow,
They’ll send for him, you bet!
He “do’n’t cut any ice” at all
In Fash’n’s social plan,–
He gits the job ter face a mob,
The Reg’lar Army man;
The millin’, drilling
Made fer killin’,
Reg’lar Army man.

[Illustration: “They ain’t no tears shed over him. When he goes off ter war.”]

They ain’t no tears shed over him
When he goes off ter war,
He gits no speech nor prayerful “preach” From mayor or governor;
He packs his little knapsack up
And trots off in the van,
Ter start the fight and start it right, The Reg’lar Army man;
The rattlin’, battlin’,
Colt or Gatlin’,
Reg’lar Army man.

He makes no fuss about the job,
He do’n’t talk big or brave,–
He knows he’s in ter fight and win, Or help fill up a grave;
He ain’t no “Mama’s darlin’,” but
He does the best he can,
And he’s the chap that wins the scrap, The Reg’lar Army man;
The dandy, handy,
Cool and sandy,
Reg’lar Army man.

* * * * *


A cloud of cinder-dotted smoke, whose billows rise and swell, Thrust through by seething swords of flame that roar like blasts from hell; A floor whose charring timbers groan and creak beneath the tread, With starting planks that, gaping, show long lines of sullen red; Great, hissing, scalding jets of steam that, lifting now, disclose A crouching figure gripping tight the nozzle of a hose, The dripping, rubber-coated form, scarce seen amid the murk, Of Fireman Mike O’Rafferty attending to his work.

Pressed close against the blistered floor, he strives the fire to drown, And slowly, surely, steadfastly, he fights the demon down; And then he seeks the window-frame, all sashless, blank and bare, And wipes his plucky Irish face and gasps a bit for air; Then, standing on the slimy ledge, as narrow as his feet, He hums a tune, and looks straight down six stories to the street; Far, far below he sees the crowd’s pale faces flush and fade, But Fireman Mike O’Rafferty can’t stop to be afraid.

Sometimes he climbs long ladders, through a fiery, burning rain To reach a pallid face that glares behind a crackling pane; Sometimes he feels his foothold shake with giddy swing and sway, And barely leaps to safety as the crashing roof gives way; Sometimes, penned in and stifling fast, he waits, with courage grim, And hears the willing axes ply that strive to rescue him; But sometime, somewhere, somehow, help may come a bit too late For Fireman Mike O’Rafferty of Engine Twenty-eight.

And then the morning paper may have half a column filled With, “Fire at Bullion’s Warehouse,” and the line, “A Fireman Killed”; And, in a neat, cheap tenement, a wife may mourn her dead, And all the small O’Raffertys go fatherless to bed And he’ll not be a hero, for, you see, he didn’t fall On some blood-spattered battle-field, slain by a rifle-ball; But, maybe, on the other side, on God’s great roll of fame, Plain Fireman Mike O’Rafferty’ll be counted just the same.

* * * * *


Little bare feet, sunburned and brown, Patterin’, patterin’ up and down,
Dancin’ over the kitchen floor,
Light as the foam-flakes on the shore,– Right on the go from morn till late,
From the garden path ter the old front gate,– There hain’t no music ter me so sweet
As the patterin’ sound of them little bare feet.

When I mend my nets by the foamin’ sea, Them little bare feet trot there with me, And a shrill little voice I love’ll say: “Dran’pa, spin me a yarn ter-day.”
And I know when my dory comes ter land, There’s a spry little form somewheres on hand; And the very fust sound my ears’ll meet
Is the welcomin’ run of them little bare feet.

Oh, little bare feet! how deep you’ve pressed Yer prints of love in my worn old breast! And I sometimes think, when I come ter die, ‘Twill be lonesome-like in the by and by; That up in Heaven I’ll long ter hear
That little child’s voice, so sweet and clear; That even there, on the golden street,
I’ll miss the pat of them little bare feet.

* * * * *


Kind er _like_ a stormy day, take it all together,– Don’t believe I’d want it jest only pleasant weather; If the sky was allers blue, guess I’d be complainin’, And a-pesterin’ around, wishin’ it was rainin’.

Like a stormy mornin’ now, with the water dashin’ From the eaves and from the spouts, foamin’ and a-splashin’, With the leaves and twigs around, shinin’ wet and drippin’, Shakin’ in the wind with drops every-which-way skippin’.


Like ter see the gusts of rain, where there’s naught ter hinder, Sail acrost the fields and come “spat” against the winder, Streakin’ down along the panes, floodin’ sills and ledges, Makin’ little fountains, like, in the sash’s edges.

Like ter see the brooks and ponds dimpled up all over, Like ter see the di’mon’s shine on the bendin’ clover, Like ter see the happy ducks in the puddles sailin’ And the stuck-up rooster all draggled, wet and trailin’.

But I like it best inside, with the fire a-gleamin’, And myself, with chores all done, settin’ round and dreaming With the kitten on my knee, and the kettle hummin’, And the rain-drops on the roof, “Home, Sweet Home” a-drummin’.

Kind er _like_ a stormy day, take it all together, Don’t believe I’d want it jest only pleasant weather; If the sky was allers blue, guess I’d be complaining And a-pesterin’ around, wishin’ it was rainin’.

* * * * *


When Twilight her soft robe of shadow spreads down. And hushed is the roar and the din,
When Evening is cooling the sweltering town, ‘Tis then that the frolics begin;
And up in dim “Finnegan’s Court,” on the pavement, Shut in by the loom of the tenement’s wall, ‘Neath the swinging arc-light, on a warm summer’s night, They gather to dance at the hand-organ ball.

‘Tis not a society function, you see, But quite an informal affair;
The costumes are varied, yet simple and free, And gems are exceedingly rare;
The ladies are gowned in their calicoes, fetching, And coatless and cool are the gentlemen, all. In a jacket, they say, one’s not rated _au fait_ By the finicky guests at the hand-organ ball.

There’s “Ikey,” the newsboy, and “Muggsy” who “shines”; There’s Beppo who peddles “banan'”;
There’s A. Lincoln Johnson, whose “Pa” kalsomines– His skin has a very deep tan;
There’s Rosy, the cash-girl, and Mame, who ties bundles, And Maggie, who works in the factory, tall; She’s much in demand, for she “pivots so grand,” She’s really the belle of the hand-organ ball.

Professor Spaghetti the music supplies, From his hurdy-gurdy the waltz is sublime; His fair daughter Rosa, whose tambourine flies, Is merrily thumping the rollicking time; The Widow McCann pats the tune with her slipper, The peanut-man hums as he peers from his stall, And Officer Quinn for a moment looks in
To see the new steps at the hand-organ ball.

The concert-hall tune echoes down the dark street, The mothers lean out from the windows to see, While soft sounds the pat of the dancers’ bare feet, And tenement babies crow loud in their glee; And labor-worn fathers are laughing and chatting,– Forgot for an hour is grim poverty’s thrall;– There’s joy here to-night, ‘neath the swinging arc-light, In “Finnegan’s Court,” at the hand-organ ball.

* * * * *



Want to see me, hey, old chap?
Want to curl up in my lap,
Do yer, Jim?
See him sit and purr and blink–
Don’t yer bet he knows I think
Lots of him?

Little kitten, nothin’ more,
When we found him at the door.
In the cold,
And the baby, half undressed,
Picked him up, and he was jest
All she’d hold.

Put him up fer me to see,
And she says, so ‘cute, says she,
“Baby’s cat.”
And we never had the heart
Fer to keep them two apart
After that.

Seem’s if _I must_ hear the beat
Of her toddlin’ little feet
‘Round about;
Seem to see her tucked in bed,
With the kitten’s furry head
Peekin’ out.

Seem’s if I could hear her say,
In the cunnin’ baby way
That she had:
“Say ‘dood-night’ to Jimmie, do,
‘Coz if ‘oo fordetted to
He’d feel bad.”

Miss her dreadful, don’t we, boy?
Day do’n’t seem to bring no joy
With the dawn;
Look’s if night was everywhere,–
But there’s glory over there
Where she’s gone.

Seems as if my heart would break,
But I love yer for her sake,
Don’t I, Jim?
See him sit and purr and blink,
Don’t yer bet he knows I think
Lots of him?

* * * * *


In Mother’s room still stands the chair Beside the sunny window, where
The flowers she loved now lightly stir In April’s breeze, as though they were
Forlorn without her loving care.

Her books, her work-box, all are there, And still the snowy curtains bear
The soft, sweet scent of lavender
In Mother’s room.

Oh, spot so cool, and fresh, and fair, Where dwelt a soul so pure and rare,
On me your fragrant peace confer,
Make my life sweet with thoughts of her, As lavender makes sweet the air
In Mother’s room.

* * * * *


Climb to my knee, little boy, little boy,– If you look, as the sun sinks low,
Where the cloud-hills rise in the western skies, Each one with its crest aglow,
O’er the rosy sea, where the purple isles Have beaches of golden sand,
To the fleecy height of the great cloud, white, You may catch a gleam of the twinkling light At the harbor of Sunset-land.

It’s a wonderful place, little boy, little boy, And its city is Sugarplum Town,
Where the slightest breeze through the candy trees Will tumble the bon-bons down;
Where the fountains sprinkle their lemonade In syrupy, cooling streams;
And they pave each street with a goody, sweet, And mark them off in a manner neat,
With borders of chocolate creams.

It’s a children’s town, little boy, little boy, With a great big jail, you know,
Where “grown-ups” stay who are heard to say, “Now don’t!” or “You mustn’t do so.”
And half of the time it is Fourth of July, And ’tis Christmas all the rest,
With plenty of toys that will make a noise, For Santa is king of this realm of joys, And knows what a lad likes best.

Shall I tell you the way, little boy, little boy, To get to this country, bright?
When you’re snug in bed, and your prayers are said, You must shut up your eyelids tight;
And wait till the sleepy old Sandman comes And gives you his kindly hand,
And then you’ll float in a drowsy boat, O’er the sea of rose to the cloud, remote, And the wonderful Sunset-land.

* * * * *


Ye children of the mountain, sing of your craggy peaks, Your valleys forest laden, your cliffs where Echo speaks; And ye, who by the prairies your childhood’s joys have seen, Sing of your waving grasses, your velvet miles of green: But when my memory wanders down to the dear old home I hear, amid my dreaming, the seething of the foam, The wet wind through the pine trees, the sobbing crash and roar, The mighty surge and thunder of the surf along the shore.

I see upon the sand-dunes the beach-grass sway and swing, I see the whirling sea-birds sweep by on graceful wing, I see the silver breakers leap high on shoal and bar, And hear the bell-buoy tolling his lonely note afar. The green salt-meadows fling me their salty, sweet perfume, I hear, through miles of dimness, the watchful fog-horn boom; Once more, beneath the blackness of night’s great roof-tree high, The wild geese chant their marches athwart the arching sky.

The dear old Cape! I love it! I love its hills of sand, The sea-wind singing o’er it, the seaweed on its strand; The bright blue ocean ’round it, the clear blue sky o’erhead; The fishing boats, the dripping nets, the white sails filled and spread;– For each heart has its picture, and each its own home song, The sights and sounds which move it when Youth’s fair memories throng; And when, down dreamland pathways, a boy, I stroll once more, I hear the mighty music of the surf along the shore.

* * * * *


The tired breezes are tucked to rest
In the cloud-beds far away;
The waves are pressed to the placid breast Of the dreaming, gleaming bay;
The shore line swims in a hazy heat, Asleep in the sea and sky,
And the muffled beat where the breakers meet Is a soft, sweet lullaby.

The pine-clad hill has a crimson crown Of glittering sunset glows;
The roofs of brown in the distant town Are bathed in a blush of rose;
The radiant ripples shine and shift In shimmering shreds of gold;
The seaweeds lift and drowse and drift, And the jellies fill and fold.

The great sun sinks, and the gray fog heaps His cloak on the silent sea;
The night-wind creeps where the ocean sleeps, And the wavelets wake in glee;
Across the bay, like a silver star, There twinkles the harbor-light,
And faint and far from the outer bar The sea-birds call “Good-night.”

* * * * *


* * * * *

A cloud of cinder-dotted smoke, whose billows rise and swell

A solemn Sabbath stillness lies along the Mudville lanes

A stretch of hill and valley, swathed thick in robes of white

Almost every other evenin’, jest as reg’lar as the clock

“Blessed are the poor in spirit”: there, I’ll just remember that

Climb to my knee, little boy, little boy,–

For years I’ve seen the frothy lines go thund’rin’ down the shore

From the window of the chapel softly sounds an organ’s note

Grandfather’s “summer sweets” are ripe

He ain’t no gold-laced “Belvidere”

Hey, you swelled-up turkey feller!

Home from college came the stripling, calm and cool and debonair

I hain’t no great detective, like yer read about,–the kind

I never was naturally vicious;

I remember, when a youngster, all the happy hours I spent

I s’pose I hain’t progressive, but I swan, it seems ter me

I’ll write, for I’m witty, a popular ditty

I’m pretty nearly certain that ‘t was ’bout two weeks ago,–

I’ve got a little yaller dog, a wuthless kind of chap

In Mother’s room still stands the chair

In the gleam and gloom of the April weather

It’s a wonderful world we’re in, my dear

It’s alone in the dark of the old wagon-shed

It’s getting on ter winter now, the nights are crisp and chill

It stands at the bend where the road has its end

Jason White has come ter town

Just a simple little picture of a sunny country road

Kind er _like_ a stormy day, take it all together,–

Little bare feet, sunburned and brown,

Little foot, whose lightest pat

Me and Billy’s in the woodshed; Ma said, “Run out-doors and play;

My dream-ship’s decks are of beaten gold

My sister’s best feller is ‘most six-foot-three

My son Hezekiah’s a painter; yes, that’s the purfession he’s at;

Now Councilman O’Hoolihan do’n’t b’lave in annixation

O, it’s Christmas Eve, and moonlight, and the Christmas air is chill

O you boys grown gray and bearded, you that used ter chum with me

Oh, the cool September mornin’s! now they ‘re with us once agin

Oh, the Friday evening meetings in the vestry, long ago

Oh! the horns are all a-tootin’ as we rattle through the town

Oh, the song of the Sea–

Oh, the story-book boy! he’s a wonderful youth

Oh, the wild November wind

Oh! they’ve swept the parlor carpet, and they’ve dusted every chair

Oh, those sweet old-fashioned posies, that were mother’s pride and joy

Old Dan’l Hanks he says this town

On a log behind the pigsty of a modest little farm

Once, by the edge of a pleasant pool

Our Aunt ‘Mandy thinks that boys

Our Sary Emma is possessed ter be at somethin’ queer;

Pavements a-frying in street and in square

Say, I’ve got a little brother

She’s little and modest and purty

Sometimes when we’re in school, and it’s the afternoon and late

South Pokus is religious,–that’s the honest, livin’ truth;

Summer nights at Grandpa’s–ain’t they soft and still!

Sun like a furnace hung up overhead

Sure, Felix McCarty he lived all alone

The fog was so thick yer could cut it

The spring sun flashes a rapier thrust

The tired breezes are tucked to rest

To my office window, gray

Up in the attic I found them, locked in the cedar chest

Want to see me, hey, old chap?

_We’d_ never thought of takin’ ’em,–’twas Mary Ann’s idee,–

When Ezry, that’s my sister’s son, came home from furrin parts

When Papa’s sick, my goodness sakes!

When the farm work’s done, at the set of sun

When the great, gray fog comes in, and the damp clouds cloak the shore

When the hot summer daylight is dyin’

When the Lord breathes his wrath above the bosom of the waters

When the tide goes out, how the foam-flakes dance

When the toil of day is over

When Twilight her soft robe of shadow spreads down

Where leap the long Atlantic swells

Where the warm spring sunlight, streaming

Ye children of the mountain, sing of your craggy peaks

You know the story–it’s centuries old–


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