This page contains affiliate links. As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases.
Buy it on Amazon FREE Audible 30 days

Nor shall be nevermo!”

“Sweete sir, my father,” quoth Elaine, “Me it repents to give thee pain–
Yet, tarry I may not;
For I shall soond and I shall die
If I behold this companie
And see not Launcelot!

“My heart shall have no love but this– My lips shall know no other kiss,
Save only, father, thine;
So graunt me leave to seek my bower, The lonely chamber in the toure,
Where sleeps his child and mine.”

Then frowned the King in sore despite; “A murrain seize that traitrous knight, For that he lies!” he cried–
“A base, unchristian paynim he,
Else, by my beard, he would not be A recreant to his bride!

“Oh, I had liefer yield my life
Than see thee the deserted wife
Of dastard Launcelot!
Yet, an’ thou hast no mind to stay, Go with thy damosels away–
Lo, I’ll detain ye not.”

Her damosels in goodly train
Back to her chamber led Elaine,
And when her eyes were cast
Upon her babe, her tears did flow
And she did wail and weep as though Her heart had like to brast.

The while she grieved the Yuletide sport Waxed lustier in King Pelles’ court,
And louder, houre by houre,
The echoes of the rout were borne
To where the lady, all forlorn,
Made moning in the toure,

“Swete Chryste,” she cried, “ne let me hear Their ribald sounds of Yuletide cheere
That mock at mine and me;
Graunt that my sore affliction cease And give me of the heavenly peace
That comes with thoughts of thee!”

Lo, as she spake, a wondrous light
Made all that lonely chamber bright, And o’er the infant’s bed
A spirit hand, as samite pail,
Held sodaine foorth the Holy Grail Above the infant’s head.

And from the sacred golden cup
A subtle incense floated up
And filled the conscious air,
Which, when she breather, the fair Elaine Forgot her grief, forgot her pain.
Forgot her sore despair.

And as the Grail’s mysterious balm
Wrought in her heart a wondrous calm, Great mervail ’twas to see
The sleeping child stretch one hand up As if in dreams he held the cup
Which none mought win but he.

Through all the night King Pelles’ court Made mighty cheer and goodly sport.
Nor never recked the joy
That was vouchsafed that Christmass tide To Launcelot’s deserted bride
And to her sleeping boy.

_Swete Chryste, let not the cheere of earth To fill our hearts with heedless mirth
This present Christmasse night;
But send among us to and fro
Thy Holy Grail, that men may know
The joy withe wisdom dight._


I hear Thy voice, dear Lord,
I hear it by the stormy sea,
When winter nights are black and wild, And when, affright, I call to Thee;
It calms my fears and whispers me, “Sleep well, my child.”

I hear Thy voice, dear Lord,
In singing winds and falling snow, The curfew chimes, the midnight bell,
“Sleep well, my child,” it murmurs low; “The guardian angels come and go–
O child, sleep well!”

I hear Thy voice, dear Lord,
Aye, though the singing winds be stilled, Though hushed the tumult of the deep,
My fainting heart with anguish chilled By Thy assuring tone is thrilled–
“Fear not, and sleep!”

Speak on–speak on, dear Lord!
And when the last dread night is near, With doubts and fears and terrors wild, Oh, let my soul expiring hear
Only these words of heavenly cheer, “Sleep well, my child!”


O Nicias, not for us alone
Was laughing Eros born,
Nor shines alone for us the moon,
Nor burns the ruddy morn;
Alas! to-morrow lies not in the ken Of us who are, O Nicias, mortal men!


Her nature is the sea’s, that smiles to-night A radiant maiden in the moon’s soft light; The unsuspecting seaman sets his sails, Forgetful of the fury of her gales;
To-morrow, mad with storms, the ocean roars, And o’er his hapless wreck the flood she pours!


Grim is the face that looks into the night Over the stretch of sands;
A sullen rock in the sea of white– A ghostly shadow in ghostly light,
Peering and moaning it stands.
“_Oh, is it the king that rides this way– Oh, is it the king that rides so free? I have looked for the king this many a day, But the years that mock me will not say Why tarrieth he!_”

‘Tis not your king that shall ride to-night, But a child that is fast asleep;
And the horse he shall ride is the Dream-Horse white–
Aha, he shall speed through the ghostly light Where the ghostly shadows creep!
“_My eyes are dull and my face is sere, Yet unto the word he gave I cling,
For he was a Pharoah that set me here– And lo! I have waited this many a year
For him–my king!_”

Oh, past thy face my darling shall ride Swift as the burning winds that bear
The sand clouds over the desert wide– Swift to the verdure and palms beside
The wells off there!
“_And is it the mighty king I shall see Come riding into the night?
Oh, is it the king come back to me– Proudly and fiercely rideth he,
With centuries dight!_”

I know no king but my dark-eyed dear That shall ride the Dream-Horse white; But see! he wakes at my bosom here,
While the Dream-Horse frettingly lingers near To speed with my babe to-night!
_And out of the desert darkness peers A ghostly, ghastly, shadowy thing
Like a spirit come out of the moldering years, And ever that waiting specter hears
The coming king!_


As beats the sun from mountain crest, With “pretty, pretty”,
Cometh the partridge from her nest; The flowers threw kisses sweet to her
(For all the flowers that bloomed knew her); Yet hasteneth she to mine and me–
Ah! pretty, pretty;
Ah! dear little partridge!

And when I hear the partridge cry
So pretty, pretty,
Upon the house-top, breakfast I;
She comes a-chirping far and wide, And swinging from the mountain side–
I see and hear the dainty dear!
Ah! pretty, pretty;
Ah! dear little partridge!

Thy nest’s inlaid with posies rare.
And pretty, pretty
Bloom violet, rose, and lily there; The place is full of balmy dew
(The tears of flowers in love with you!) And one and all impassioned call;
“O pretty, pretty–
O dear little partridge!”

Thy feathers they are soft and sleek– So pretty, pretty!
Long is thy neck and small thy breast; The color of thy plumage far
More bright than rainbow colors are! Sweeter than dove is she I love–
My pretty, pretty–
My dear little partridge!

When comes the partridge from the tree, So pretty, pretty!
And sings her little hymn to me,
Why, all the world is cheered thereby– The heart leaps up into the eye,
And echo then gives back again
Our “Pretty, pretty,”
Our “Dear little partridge!”

Admitting the most blest of all
And pretty, pretty,
The birds come with thee at thy call; In flocks they come and round they play, And this is what they seem to say–
They say and sing, each feathered thing; “Ah! pretty, pretty;
Ah! dear little partridge!”


The Northland reared his hoary head
And spied the Southland leagues away– “Fairest of all fair brides,” he said,
“Be thou my bride, I pray!”

Whereat the Southland laughed and cried “I’ll bide beside my native sea,
And I shall never be thy bride
‘Til thou com’st wooing me!”

The Northland’s heart was a heart of ice, A diamond glacier, mountain high–
Oh, love is sweet at my price,
As well know you and I!

So gayly the Northland took his heart; And cast it in the wailing sea–
“Go, thou, with all my cunning art And woo my bride for me!”

For many a night and for many a day, And over the leagues that rolled between The true heart messenger sped away
To woo the Southland queen.

But the sea wailed loud, and the sea wailed long While ever the Northland cried in glee: “Oh, thou shalt sing us our bridal song, When comes my bride, O sea!”

At the foot of the Southland’s golden throne The heart of the Northland ever throbs– For that true heart speaks in the waves that moan The songs that it sings are sobs.

Ever the Southland spurns the cries
Of the messenger pleading the Northland’s part–
The summer shines in the Southland’s eyes– The winter bides in her heart.

And ever unto that far-off place
Which love doth render a hallow spot, The Northland turneth his honest face
And wonders she cometh not.

The sea wails loud, and the sea wails long, As the ages of waiting drift slowly by, But the sea shall sing no bridal song– As well know you and I!


I am not rich, and yet my wealth
Surpasseth human measure;
My store untold
Is not of gold
Nor any sordid treasure.
Let this one hoard his earthly pelf, Another court ambition–
Not for a throne
Would I disown
My poor and proud condition!

The worldly gain achieved to-day
To-morrow may be flying–
The gifts of kings
Are fleeting things–
The gifts of love undying!
In her I love is all my wealth–
For her my sole endeavor;
No heart, I ween,
Hath fairer queen,
No liege such homage, ever!


(The exile Meliboeus finds Tityrus in possession of his own farm, restored to him by the emperor Augustus, and a conversation ensues. The poem is in praise of Augustus, peace and pastoral life.)

Tityrus, all in the shade of the wide-spreading beech tree reclining, Sweet is that music you’ve made on your pipe that is oaten and slender; Exiles from home, you beguile our hearts from their hopeless repining, As you sing Amaryllis the while in pastorals tuneful and tender.

A god–yes, a god, I declare–vouchsafes me these pleasant conditions, And often I gayly repair with a tender white lamb to his altar, He gives me the leisure to play my greatly admired compositions, While my heifers go browsing all day, unhampered of bell and halter.

I do not begrudge you repose; I simply admit I’m confounded To find you unscathed of the woes of pillage and tumult and battle; To exile and hardship devote and by merciless enemies hounded, I drag at this wretched old goat and coax on my famishing cattle. Oh, often the omens presaged the horrors which now overwhelm me– But, come, if not elsewise engaged, who is this good deity, tell me!

_Tityrus_ (reminiscently)–
The city–the city called Rome, with, my head full of herding and tillage,
I used to compare with my home, these pastures wherein you now wander; But I didn’t take long to find out that the city surpasses the village As the cypress surpasses the sprout that thrives in the thicket out yonder.

Tell me, good gossip, I pray, what led you to visit the city?

Liberty! which on a day regarded my lot with compassion My age and distresses, forsooth, compelled that proud mistress to pity, That had snubbed the attentions of youth in most reprehensible fashion. Oh, happy, thrice happy, the day when the cold Galatea forsook me, And equally happy, I say, the hour when that other girl took me!

_Meliboeus_ (slyly, as if addressing the damsel)– So now, Amaryllis the truth of your ill-disguised grief I discover! You pined for a favorite youth with cityfied damsels hobnobbing. And soon your surroundings partook of your grief for your recusant lover–
The pine trees, the copse and the brook for Tityrus ever went sobbing.

Meliboeus, what else could I do? Fate doled me no morsel of pity; My toil was all in vain the year through, no matter how earnest or clever,
Till, at last, came that god among men–that king from that wonderful city,
And quoth: “Take your homesteads again–they are yours and your assigns forever!”

Happy, oh, happy old man! rich in what’s better than money– Rich in contentment, you can gather sweet peace by mere listening; Bees with soft murmurings go hither and thither for honey. Cattle all gratefully low in pastures where fountains are glistening– Hark! in the shade of that rock the pruner with singing rejoices– The dove in the elm and the flock of wood-pigeons hoarsely repining, The plash of the sacred cascade–ah, restful, indeed, are these voices, Tityrus, all in the shade of your wide-spreading beech-tree reclining!

And he who insures this to me–oh, craven I were not to love him! Nay, rather the fish of the sea shall vacate the water they swim in, The stag quit his bountiful grove to graze in the ether above him. While folk antipodean rove along with their children and women!

_Meliboeus_ (suddenly recalling his own misery)– But we who are exiled must go; and whither–ah, whither–God knoweth! Some into those regions of snow or of desert where Death reigneth only; Some off to the country of Crete, where rapid Oaxes down floweth. And desperate others retreat to Britain, the bleak isle and lonely. Dear land of my birth! shall I see the horde of invaders oppress thee? Shall the wealth that outspringeth from thee by the hand of the alien be squandered?
Dear cottage wherein I was born! shall another in conquest possess thee– Another demolish in scorn the fields and the groves where I’ve wandered?
My flock! never more shall you graze on that furze-covered hillside above me–
Gone, gone are the halcyon days when my reed piped defiance to sorrow! Nevermore in the vine-covered grot shall I sing of the loved ones that love me–
Let yesterday’s peace be forgot in dread of the stormy to-morrow!

But rest you this night with me here; my bed–we will share it together, As soon as you’ve tasted my cheer, my apples and chestnuts and cheeses; The evening a’ready is nigh–the shadows creep over the heather, And the smoke is rocked up to the sky to the lullaby song of the breezes.


How breaks my heart to hear you say
You feel the shadows fall about you! The gods forefend
That fate, O friend!
I would not, I could not live without you! You gone, what would become of me,
Your shadow, O beloved Maecenas?
We’ve shared the mirth–
And sweets of earth–
Let’s share the pangs of death between us!

I should not dread Chinaera’s breath Nor any threat of ghost infernal;
Nor fear nor pain
Should part us twain–
For so have willed the powers eternal. No false allegiance have I sworn,
And, whatsoever fate betide you,
Mine be the part
To cheer your heart–
With loving song to fare beside you!

Love snatched you from the claws of death And gave you to the grateful city;
The falling tree
That threatened me
Did Fannus turn aside in pity;
With horoscopes so wondrous like,
Why question that we twain shall wander, As in this land,
So, hand in hand,
Into the life that waiteth yonder?

So to your shrine, O patron mine,
With precious wine and victims fare you; Poor as I am,
A humble lamb
Must testify what love I bear you. But to the skies shall sweetly rise
The sacrifice from shrine and heather, And thither bear
The solemn prayer
That, when we go, we go together!



You, who have compassed land and sea Now all unburied lie;
All vain your store of human lore, For you were doomed to die.
The sire of Pelops likewise fell,
Jove’s honored mortal guest–
So king and sage of every age
At last lie down to rest.
Plutonian shades enfold the ghost
Of that majestic one
Who taught as truth that he, forsooth, Had once been Pentheus’ son;
Believe who may, he’s passed away
And what he did is done.
A last night comes alike to all–
One path we all must tread,
Through sore disease or stormy seas Or fields with corpses red–
Whate’er our deeds that pathway leads To regions of the dead.


The fickle twin Illyrian gales
O’erwhelmed me on the wave–
But that you live, I pray you give My bleaching bones a grave!
Oh, then when cruel tempests rage
You all unharmed shall be–
Jove’s mighty hand shall guard by land And Neptune’s on the sea.
Perchance you fear to do what shall Bring evil to your race.
Or, rather fear that like me here
You’ll lack a burial place.
So, though you be in proper haste, Bide long enough I pray,
To give me, friend, what boon will send My soul upon its way!


Yonder stands the hillside chapel,
‘Mid the evergreens and rocks,
All day long it hears the song
Of the shepherd to his flocks.

Then the chapel bell goes tolling–
Knolling for a soul that’s sped;
Silent and sad the shepherd lad
Hears the requiem for the dead.

Shepherd, singers of the valley,
Voiceless now, speed on before;
Soon shall knell that chapel bell
For the songs you’ll sing no more.


Oh, come with me to the Happy Isles
In the golden haze off yonder,
Where the song of the sun-kissed breeze beguiles And the ocean loves to wander.

Fragrant the vines that mantle those hills, Proudly the fig rejoices,
Merrily dance the virgin rills,
Blending their myriad voices.

Our herds shall suffer no evil there, But peacefully feed and rest them–
Never thereto shall prowling bear
Or serpent come to molest them.

Neither shall Eurus, wanton bold,
Nor feverish drought distress us, But he that compasseth heat and cold
Shall temper them both to bless us.

There no vandal foot has trod,
And the pirate hordes that wander Shall never profane the sacred sod
Of these beautiful isles out yonder.

Never a spell shall blight our vines Nor Sirius blaze above us.
But you and I shall drink our wines And sing to the loved that love us.

So come with me where fortune smiles And the gods invite devotion–
Oh, come with me to the Happy Isles In the haze of that far-off ocean!



Odes I, 11.

What end the gods may have ordained for me, And what for thee,
Seek not to learn, Leuconoe; we may not know; Chaldean tables cannot bring us rest–
‘Tis for the best
To bear in patience what may come, or weal or woe.

If for more winters our poor lot is cast, Or this the last,
Which on the crumbling rocks has dashed Etruscan seas; Strain clear the wine–this life is short, at best; Take hope with zest,
And, trusting not To-Morrow, snatch To-Day for ease!


Odes I, 23.

Why do you shun me, Chloe, like the fawn, That, fearful of the breezes and the wood, Has sought her timorous mother since the dawn And on the pathless mountain tops has stood?

Her trembling heart a thousand fears invites– Her sinking knees with nameless terrors shake; Whether the rustling leaf of spring affrights, Or the green lizards stir the slumbering brake.

I do not follow with a tigerish thought Or with the fierce Gaetulian lion’s quest; So, quickly leave your mother, as you ought, Full ripe to nestle on a husband’s breast.


O fountain of Blandusia,
Whence crystal waters flow,
With garlands gay and wine I’ll pay The sacrifice I owe;
A sportive kid with budding horns
I have, whose crimson blood
Anon shall die and sanctify
Thy cool and babbling flood.

O fountain of Blandusia,
The dogstar’s hateful spell
No evil brings unto the springs
That from thy bosom well;
Here oxen, wearied by the plow,
The roving cattle here,
Hasten in quest of certain rest
And quaff thy gracious cheer.

O fountain of Blandusia,
Ennobled shalt thou be,
For I shall sing the joys that spring Beneath your ilex tree;
Yes, fountain of Blandusia,
Posterity shall know
The cooling brooks that from thy nooks Singing and dancing go!


Come, Phyllis, I’ve a cask of wine
That fairly reeks with precious juices. And in your tresses you shall twine
The loveliest flowers this vale produces.

My cottage wears a gracious smile–
The altar decked in floral glory,– Yearns for the lamb which bleats the while As though it pined for honors gory.

Hither our neighbors nimbly fare–
The boys agog, the maidens snickering, And savory smells possess the air
As skyward kitchen flames are flickering.

You ask what means this grand display, This festive throng and goodly diet?
Well–since you’re bound to have your way– I don’t mind telling on the quiet.

‘Tis April 13, as you know–
A day and month devote to Venus,
Whereon was born some years ago,
My very worthy friend, Macenas.

Nay, pay no heed to Telephus–
Your friends agree he doesn’t love you; The way he flirts convinces us
He really is not worthy of you!

Aurora’s son, unhappy lad!
You know the fate that overtook him? And Pegasus a rider had–
I say he _had_ before he shook him!

Haec docet (as you may agree):
‘Tis meet that Phyllis should discover A wisdom in preferring me
And mittening every other lover.

So come, O Phyllis, last and best
Of loves with which this heart’s been smitten; Come, sing my jealous fears to rest–
And let your songs be those _I’ve_ written.


How calm, how beauteous, and how cool– How like a sister to the skies,
Appears the broad, transparent pool That in this quiet forest lies.
The sunshine ripples on its face,
And from the world around, above, It hath caught down the nameless grace
Of such reflections as we love.

But deep below its surface crawl
The reptile horrors of the Night– The dragons, lizards, serpents–all
The hideous brood that hate the Light; Through poison fern and slimy weed,
And under ragged, jagged stones
They scuttle, or, in ghoulish greed, They lap a dead man’s bones.

And as, O pool, thou dost cajole
With seemings that beguile us well, So doeth many a human soul
That teemeth with the lusts of hell.


‘Tis spring! the boats bound to the sea; The breezes, loitering kindly over
The fields, again bring herds and men The grateful cheer of honeyed clover.

Now Venus hither leads her train,
The Nymphs and Graces join in orgies, The moon is bright and by her light
Old Vulcan kindles up his forges.

Bind myrtle now about your brow,
And weave fair flowers in maiden tresses– Appease God Pan, who, kind to man,
Our fleeting life with affluence blesses.

But let the changing seasons mind us That Death’s the certain doom of mortals– Grim Death who waits at humble gat
And likewise stalks through kingly portals.

Soon, Sestius, shall Plutonian shades Enfold you with their hideous seemings– Then love and mirth and joys of earth
Shall fade away like fevered dreamings.


Many a beauteous flower doth spring
From the tears that flood my eyes, And the nightingale doth sing
In the burthen of my sighs.

If, O child, thou lovest me,
Take these flowerets, fair and frail, And my soul shall waft to thee
Love songs of the nightingale.


Be tranquil, Dellius, I pray;
For though you pine your life away With dull complaining breath,
Or speed with song and wine each day– Still, still your doom is death.

Where the white poplar and the pine
In glorious arching shade combine
And the brook singing goes,
Bid them bring store of nard and wine And garlands of the rose.

Let’s live while chance and youth obtain– Soon shall you quit this fair domain
Kissed by the Tiber’s gold,
And all your earthly pride and gain Some heedless heir shall hold.

One ghostly boat shall some time bear From scenes of mirthfulness or care
Each fated human soul!–
Shall waft and leave his burden where The waves of Lethe roll.

_So come, I pri’ thee, Dellius, mine– Let’s sing our songs and drink our wine In that sequestered nook
Where the white poplar and the pine Stand listening to the brook._


In yonder old cathedral
Two lonely coffins lie;
In one the head of the state lies dead, And a singer sleeps hard by.

Once had that king great power,
And proudly he ruled the land–
His crown e’en now is on his brow
And his sword is in his hand!

How sweetly sleeps the singer
With calmly folded eyes,
And on the breast of the bard at rest The harp that he sounded lies.

The castle walls are falling
And war distracts the land,
But the sword leaps not from that mildewed spot– There in that dead king’s hand!

But with every grace of nature
There seems to float along–
To cheer the hearts of men–
The singer’s deathless song!


As forth he pours the new made wine, What blessing asks the lyric poet–
What boon implores in this fair shrine Of one full likely to bestow it?

Not for Sardinia’s plenteous store,
Nor for Calabrian herds he prayeth, Nor yet for India’s wealth galore,
Nor meads where voiceless Liris playeth.

Let honest riches celebrate
The harvest earned–I’d not deny it; Yet am I pleased with my estate,
My humble home, my frugal diet.

Child of Latonia, this I crave;
May peace of mind and health attend me, And down into my very grave
May this dear lyre of mine befriend me!


If ever in the sylvan shade
A song immortal we have made,
Come now, O lute, I pri’ thee come– Inspire a song of Latium.

A Lesbian first thy glories proved– In arms and in repose he loved
To sweep thy dulcet strings and raise His voice in Love’s and Liber’s praise; The Muses, too, and him who clings
To Mother Venus’ apron-strings,
And Lycus beautiful, he sung
In those old days when you were young.

O shell, that art the ornament
Of Phoebus, bringing sweet content To Jove, and soothing troubles all–
Come and requite me, when I call!


Fuscus, whoso to good inclines–
And is a faultless liver–
Nor moorish spear nor bow need fear, Nor poison-arrowed quiver.

Ay, though through desert wastes he roams, Or scales the rugged mountains,
Or rests beside the murmuring tide Of weird Hydaspan fountains!

Lo, on a time, I gayly paced
The Sabine confines shady,
And sung in glee of Lalage,
My own and dearest lady.

And, as I sung, a monster wolf
Slunk through the thicket from me— But for that song, as I strolled along
He would have overcome me!

Set me amid those poison mists
Which no fair gale dispelleth,
Or in the plains where silence reigns And no thing human dwelleth;

Still shall I love my Lalage–
Still sing her tender graces;
And, while I sing my theme shall bring Heaven to those desert places!



I love the lyric muse!
For when mankind ran wild in groves, Came holy Orpheus with his songs
And turned men’s hearts from bestial loves, From brutal force and savage wrongs;
Came Amphion, too, and on his lyre Made such sweet music all the day
That rocks, instinct with warm desire, Pursued him in his glorious way.

I love the lyric muse!
Hers was the wisdom that of yore
Taught man the rights of fellow-man– Taught him to worship God the more
And to revere love’s holy ban;
Hers was the hand that jotted down The laws correcting divers wrongs–
And so came honor and renown
To bards and to their noble songs.

I love the lyric muse!
Old Homer sung unto the lyre,
Tyrtaeus, too, in ancient days–
Still, warmed by their immortal fire, How doth our patriot spirit blaze!
The oracle, when questioned, sings– So we our way in life are taught;
In verse we soothe the pride of kings, In verse the drama has been wrought.

I love the lyric muse!
Be not ashamed, O noble friend,
In honest gratitude to pay
Thy homage to the gods that send
This boon to charm all ill away.
With solemn tenderness revere
This voiceful glory as a shrine
Wherein the quickened heart may hear The counsels of a voice divine!


The mountain brook sung lonesomelike And loitered on its way
Ez if it waited for a child
To jine it in its play;
The wild flowers of the hillside
Bent down their heads to hear
The music of the little feet
That had, somehow, grown so dear; The magpies, like winged shadders,
Wuz a-flutterin’ to and fro
Among the rocks and holler stumps
In the ragged gulch below;
The pines ‘nd hemlock tosst their boughs (Like they wuz arms) ‘nd made
Soft, sollum music on the slope
Where he had often played.
But for these lonesome, sollum voices On the mountain side,
There wuz no sound the summer day
That Marthy’s younkit died.

We called him Marthy’s younkit,
For Marthy wuz the name
Uv her ez wuz his mar, the wife
Uv Sorry Tom–the same
Ez taught the school-house on the hill Way back in sixty-nine
When she married Sorry Tom wich ownt The Gosh-all-Hemlock mine;
And Marthy’s younkit wuz their first, Wich, bein’ how it meant
The first on Red Hoss mountain,
Wuz trooly a event!
The miners sawed off short on work Es soon ez they got word
That Dock Devine allowed to Casey
What had just occurred;
We loaded ‘nd whooped around
Until we all wuz hoarse,
Salutin’ the arrival,
Wich weighed ten pounds, uv course!

Three years, and sech a pretty child! His mother’s counterpart–
Three years, and sech a holt ez he Had got on every heart!
A peert and likely little tyke
With hair ez red ez gold,
A laughin’, toddlin’ everywhere–
And only three years old!
Up yonder, sometimes, to the store, And sometimes down the hill
He kited (boys _is_ boys, you know– You couldn’t keep him still!)
And there he’d play beside the brook Where purpel wild flowers grew
And the mountain pines ‘nd hemlocks A kindly shadder threw
And sung soft, sollum toons to him, While in the gulch below
The magpies, like strange sperrits, Went flutterin’ to and fro.

Three years, and then the fever come; It wuzn’t right, you know,
With all us _old_ ones in the camp, For that little child to go!
It’s right the old should die, but that A harmless little child
Should miss the joy uv life ‘nd love– _That_ can’t be reconciled!
That’s what we thought that summer day, And that is what we said
Ez we looked upon the piteous face Uv Marthy’s younkit dead;
But for his mother sobbin’
The house wuz very still,
And Sorry Tom wuz lookin’ through
The winder down the hill
To the patch beneath the hemlocks
Where his darlin’ used to play,
And the mountain brook sung lonesomelike And loitered on its way.

A preacher come from Roarin’ Forks
To comfort ’em ‘nd pray,
And all the camp wuz present
At the obsequies next day,
A female teacher staged it twenty miles To sing a hymn,
And we jined her in the chorus–
Big, husky men ‘nd grim
Sung “Jesus, Lover uv my Soul,”
And then the preacher prayed
And preacht a sermon on the death
Uv that fair blossom laid
Among them other flow’rs he loved– Which sermon set sech weight
On sinners bein’ always heelt
Against the future state
That, though it had been fash’nable To swear a perfect streak,
There warnt no swearin’ in the camp For pretty nigh a week!

Last thing uv all, six strappin’ men Took up the little load
And bore it tenderly along
The windin’ rocky road
To where the coroner had dug
A grave beside the brook–
In sight uv Marthy’s winder, where The same could set and look
And wonder if his cradle in
That green patch long ‘nd wide
Wuz ez soothin’ ez the cradle that Wuz empty at her side;
And wonder of the mournful songs
The pines wuz singin’ then
Wuz ez tender ez the lullabies
She’d never sing again;
And if the bosom uv the earth
In which he lay at rest
Wuz half ez lovin’ ‘nd ez warm
Ez wuz his mother’s breast.

The camp is gone, but Red Hoss mountain Rears its kindly head
And looks down sort uv tenderly,
Upon its cherished dead;
And I reckon that, through all the years That little boy wich died
Sleeps sweetly ‘nd contentedly
Upon the mountain-side;
That the wild flowers of the summer time Bend down their heads to hear
The footfall uv a little friend they Know not slumbers near;
That the magpies on the sollum rocks Strange flutterin’ shadders make.
And the pines ‘nd hemlocks wonder that The sleeper doesn’t wake;
That the mountain brook sings lonesomelike And loiters on its way
Ez if it waited f’r a child
To jine it in its play.


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

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

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

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

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


The year has been a tedious one–
A weary round of toil and sorrow, And, since it now at last is gone,
We say farewell and hail the morrow.

Yet o’er the wreck which time has wrought A sweet, consoling ray is shimmered–
The one but compensating thought
That literary life has glimmered.

Struggling with hunger and with cold The world contemptuously beheld ‘er;
The little thing was one year old– But who’d have cared had she been elder?


He placed a rose in my nut-brown hair– A deep red rose with a fragrant heart
And said: “We’ll set this day apart, So sunny, so wondrous fair.”

His face was full of a happy light,
His voice was tender and low and sweet, The daisies and the violets grew at our feet– Alas, for the coming of night!

The rose is black and withered and dead! ‘Tis hid in a tiny box away;
The nut-brown hair is turning to gray, And the light of the day is fled!

The light of the beautiful day is fled, Hush’d is the voice so sweet and low– And I–ah, me! I loved him so–
And the daisies grow over his head!