What can be said in New Year rhymes,
That's not been said a thousand times?
The new years come, the old years go,
We know we dream, we dream we know.
We rise up laughing with the light,
We lie down weeping with the night.
We hug the world until it stings,
We curse it then and sigh for wings.
We live, we love, we woo, we wed,
We wreathe our prides, we sheet our dead.
We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,
And that's the burden of a year.
The Old Moon In The New Moon's Arms
The beautiful and slender young New Moon,
In trailing robes of pink and palest blue,
Swept close to Venus, and breathed low: 'A boon,
A precious boon, I ask, dear friend, of you.'
'O queen of light and beauty, you have known
The pangs of love - its passions and alarms;
Then grant me this one favour, let my own -
My lost Old Moon be once more in my arms.'
Swift thro' the vapours and the golden mist -
The Full Moon's shadowy shape shone on the night,
The New Moon reached out clasping arms and kissed
Her phantom lover in the whole world's sight.
What Uncle Rob Says
Uncle Rob says,
That once on a time the fire flies
Were stars with the others up in the skies.
They used to shimmer, and dance and play,
Night after night in the Milky Way.
But when their papa, the stern old Sun
Said 'off to bed with you every one,'
These bold little stars refused to obey,
'Let's hide in that cloud and then run away.'
'Let's run to the earth,' these bad stars said
'We are quite too old to be sent to bed.'
So then they were exiled out of the skies,
And that's how we came with the fire flies,
So Uncle Rob says.
The Saddest Hour
The saddest hour of anguish and of loss
Is not that season of supreme despair
When we can find no least light anywhere
To gild the dread, black shadow of the Cross;
Not in that luxury of sorrow when
We sup on salt of tears, and drink the gall
Of memories of days beyond recall—
Of lost delights that cannot come again.
But when, with eyes that are no longer wet,
We look out on the great, wide world of men,
And, smiling, lean toward a bright to-morrow,
Then backward shrink, with sudden keen regret,
To find that we are learning to forget:
Ah! then we face the saddest hour of sorrow.
An idle rhyme of the summer time,
Sweet, and solemn, and tender;
Fair with the haze of the moon's pale rays,
Bright with the sunset's splendour.
Summer and beauty over the lands -
Careless hours of pleasure;
A meeting of eyes and a touching of hands -
A change in the floating measure.
A deeper hue in the skies of blue,
Winds from the tropics blowing;
A softer grace in the fair moons face,
And the summer going, going.
The leaves drift down, the green grows brown,
And tears with smiles are blended;
A twilight hour and a treasured flower, -
And now the poem is ended.
New And Old
I and new love, in all its living bloom,
Sat vis-à-vis, while tender twilight hours
Went softly by us, treading as on flowers.
Then suddenly I saw within the room
The old love, long since lying in its tomb.
It dropped the cerecloth from its fleshless face
And smiled on me, with a remembered grace
That, like the noontide, lit the gloaming gloom.
Upon its shroud there hung the grave’s green mould,
About it hung the odour of the dead;
Yet from its cavernous eyes such light was shed
That all my life seemed gilded, as with gold;
Unto the trembling new love “Go, ” I said,
“I do not need thee, for I have the old.”
Not we who daily walk the City's street;
Not those who have been cradled in its heart,
Best understand its architectural art,
Or realise its grandeur. Oft we meet
Some stranger who has stayed his passing feet
And lingered with us for a single hour,
And learned more of cathedral, and of tower,
Than we, who deem our knowledge quite complete.
Not always those we hold most loved and dear,
Not always those who dwell with us, know best
Our greater selves. Because they stand so near
They cannot see the lofty mountain crest,
The gleaming sun-kissed height, which fair and dear
Stands forth-revealed unto the some-time guest.
East And West
The Day has never understood the Gloaming or the Night;
Though sired by one Creative Power, and nursed at Nature's breast;
The White Man ever fails to read the Dark Man's heart aright;
Though from the self-same Source they came, upon the self-same quest;
So deep and wide, the Great Divide,
Between the East and West.
But like a shadow on a screen, mine eyes behold, above
The yawning gulf, a dim forecast, of structures strong and broad;
Where caste, and colour prejudice, by countless feet down trod,
With old traditions crushed by Time, pave smooth the bridge of Love;
And all the creed that men shall heed
Is consciousness of God.
If it were in my dead Past’s power
To let my Present bask
In some lost pleasure for an hour,
This is the boon I’d ask:
Re-pedestal from out the dust
Where long ago ‘twas hurled,
My beautiful incautious trust
In this unworthy world.
The symbol of my souls own truth –
I saw it go with tears –
The sweet unwisdom of my youth –
That vanished with the years.
Since knowledge brings us only grief,
I would return again
To happy ignorance and belief
In motives and in men.
For worldly wisdom learned in pain
Is in itself a cross,
Significant mayhap of gain,
Yet sign of saddest loss.
The Tavern Of Last Times
At Box Hill, Surrey
A modern hour from London (as we spin
Into a silver thread the miles of space
Between us and our goal), there is a place
Apart from city traffic, dust, and din,
Green with great trees, where hides a quiet Inn.
Here Nelson last looked on the lovely face
Which made his world; and by its magic grace
Trailed rosy clouds across each early sin.
And, leaning lawnward, is the room where Keats
Wrote the last one of those immortal songs
(Called by the critics of his day 'mere rhymes').
A lark, high in the boxwood bough repeats
Those lyric strains, to idle passing throngs,
There by the little Tavern-of-Last-Times.
The woman he loved, while he dreamed of her,
Danced on till the stars grew dim,
But alone with her heart, from the world apart
Sat the woman who loved him.
The woman he worshipped only smiled
When he poured out his passionate love.
But the other somewhere, kissed her treasure most rare,
A book he had touched with his glove.
The woman he loved betrayed his trust,
And he wore the scars for life;
And he cared not, nor knew, that the other was true;
But no man called her his wife.
The woman he loved trod festal halls,
While they sang his funeral hymn,
But the sad bells tolled, ere the year was old,
For the woman that loved him.
The hurry of the times affects us so
In this swift rushing hour, we crowd and press
And thrust each other backward as we go,
And do not pause to lay sufficient stress
Upon that good, strong, true word, Earnestness.
In our impetuous haste, could we but know
Its full, deep meaning, its vast import, oh,
Then might we grasp the secret of success!
In that receding age when men were great,
The bone and sinew of their purpose lay
In this one word. God likes an earnest soul—
Too earnest to be eager. Soon or late
It leaves the spent horde breathless by the way,
And stands serene, triumphant at the goal.
‘Anticipation is sweeter than realisation.’
It may be, yet I have not found it so.
In those first golden dreams of future fame
I did not find such happiness as came
When toil was crowned with triumph. Now I know
My words have recognition, and will go
Straight to some listening heart, my early aim,
To win the idle glory of a name,
Pales like a candle in the noonday’s glow.
So with the deeper joys of which I dreamed:
Life yields more rapture than did childhood’s fancies,
And each year brings more pleasure than I waited.
Friendship proves truer than of old it seemed,
And, all beyond youth’s passion-hued romances,
Love is more perfect than anticipated.
There is nothing, I hold, in the way of work
That a human being may not achieve
If he does not falter, or shrink, or shirk,
And more than all, if he will believe.
Believe in himself and the power behind
That stands like an aid on a dual ground,
With hope for the spirit and oil for the wound,
Ready to strengthen the arm or mind.
When the motive is right and the will is strong
There are no limits to human power;
For that great force back of us moves along
And takes us with it, in trial's hour.
And whatever the height you yearn to climb,
Tho' it never was trod by foot of man,
And no matter how steep - I say you can,
If you will be patient - and use your time.
I saw on the hills of the morning,
The form of the New Year arise,
He stood like a statue adorning
THe world with a background of skies.
There were courage and grace in his beautiful face,
And hope in his glorious eyes.
'I come from Time's boundless forever,'
He said, with a voice like a song.
'I come as a friend to endeavor,
I come as a foe to all wrong.
To the sad and afraid I bring promise of aid,
And the weak I will gird and make strong.
'I bring you more blessings than terrors,
I bring you more sunlight than gloom,
I tear out your page of old errors,
And hide them away in Time's tomb.
I reach you clean hands, and lead on to the lands
Where the lilies of peace are in bloom.
The Universal Route
As we journey along, with a laugh and a song,
We see, on youth’s flower-decked slope,
Like a beacon of light, shining fair on the sight,
The beautiful Station of Hope.
But the wheels of old Time roll along as we climb,
And our youth speeds away on the years;
And with hearts that are numb with life’s sorrows we come
To the mist-covered Station of Tears.
Still onward we pass, where the milestones, alas!
Are tombs of our dead, to the West,
Where glitters and gleams, in the dying sunbeams,
The sweet, silent Station of Rest.
All rest is but change, and no grave can estrange
The soul from its Parent above;
And, scorning the rod, it soars back to God,
To the limitless City of Love.
We love but once. The great gold orb of light
From dawn to eventide doth cast his ray;
But the full splendour of his perfect might
Is reached but once throughout the live-long day.
We love but once. The waves, with ceaseless motion,
Do day and night plash on the pebbled shore;
But the strong tide of the resistless ocean
Sweeps in but one hour of the twenty-four.
We love but once. A score of times, perchance,
We may be moved in fancy’s fleeting fashion –
May treasure up a word, a tone, a glance,
But only once we feel the soul’s great passion.
We love but once. Love walks with death and birth
(The saddest, the unkindest of the three):
And only once while we sojourn on earth
Can that strange trio come to you or me.
Once in the world’s first prime,
When nothing lived or stirred,
Nothing but new-born Time,
Nor was there even a bird –
The Silence spoke to a Star,
But do not dare repeat
What it said to its love afar:
It was too sweet, too sweet.
But there, in the fair world’s youth,
Ere sorrow had drawn breath,
When nothing was known but Truth,
Nor was there even death,
The Star to Silence wed,
And the Sun was priest that day,
And they made their bridal-bed
High in the Milky Way.
For the great white star had heard
Her silent lover’s speech;
It needed no passionate word
To pledge them each to each.
O lady fair and far,
Hear, oh, hear, and apply!
Thou the beautiful Star –
The voiceless silence, I.
The times are not degenerate. Man’s faith
Mounts higher than of old. No crumbling creed
Can take from the immortal soul the need
Of that supreme Creator, God. The wraith
Of dead beliefs we cherished in our youth
Fades but to let us welcome new-born Truth.
Man may not worship at the ancient shrine
Prone on his face, in self-accusing scorn.
That night is past. He hails a fairer morn,
And knows himself a something all divine;
No humble worm whose heritage is sin,
But, born of God, he feels the Christ within.
Not loud his prayers, as in the olden time,
But deep his reverence for that mighty force,
That occult working of the great all Source,
Which makes the present era so sublime.
Religion now means something high and broad,
And man stood never half so near to God.
It All Will Come Out Right
Whatever is a cruel wrong,
Whatever is unjust,
The honest years that speed along
Will trample in the dust.
In restless youth I railed at fate
With all my puny might,
But now I know if I but wait
It all will come out right.
Though Vice may don the judge’s gown
And play the censors’ part,
And Fact be cowed by Falsehood’s frown
And Nature ruled by art;
Though Labour toils through blinding tears
And idle Wealth is might,
I know that the honest, earnest years
Will bring it all out right.
Though poor and loveless creeds may pass
For pure religion’s gold;
Though ignorance may rule the mass
While truth meets glances cold,
I know a law, complete, sublime,
Controls us with its might,
And in God’s own appointed time
It all will come out right.
Time And Love
Time flies. The swift hours hurry by
And speed us on to untried ways;
New seasons ripen, perish, die,
And yet love stays.
The old, old love – like sweet at first,
At last like bitter wine –
I know not if it blest or curst,
Thy life and mine.
Time flies. In vain our prayers, our tears,
We cannot tempt him to delays;
Down to the past he bears the years,
And yet love stays.
Through changing task and varying dream
We hear the same refrain,
As one can hear a plaintive theme
Run through each strain.
Time flies. He steals out pulsing youth,
He robs us of our care-free days,
He takes away our trust and truth,
And yet love stays.
O Time! take love! When love is vain,
When all its best joys die –
When only its regrets remain –
Let love, too, fly.
Little by little the year grows old,
The red leaves drop from the maple boughs;
The sun grows dim, and the winds blow cold,
Down from the distant arctic seas.
Out of the skies the soft light dies,
And the shadows of autumn come creeping over,
And the bee and the bird are no longer heard
In grove or meadow, or field of clover.
Little by little our lives grow old,
Our faces no longer are fair to see;
For gray creeps into the curls of gold,
And the red fades out of the cheeks, ah me!
And the birds that sang till our heart strings rang
With strains of hope, and joy, and pleasure,
Have flown away; and our hearts today
Hear only the weird wind's solemn measure.
Youth and summer, and beauty and bloom,
Droop and die in the autumn weather,
But up from the gloom of the winter's tomb,
They shall rise, in God's good time, together.
Old And New
Long have the poets vaunted, in their lays,
Old times, old loves, old friendships, and old wine
Why should the old monopolise all praise?
Then let the new claim mine.
Give me strong new friends, when the old prove weak,
Or fail me in my darkest hour of need;
Why perish with the ship that springs a leak,
Or lean upon a read?
Give me new love, warm, palpitating, sweet,
When all the grace and beauty leaves the old;
When like a rose it withers at my feet,
Or like a hearth grows cold.
Give me new times, bright with a prosperous cheer,
In place of old, tear-blotted, burdened days;
I hold a sunlit present far more dear,
And worthy of my praise.
When the old creeds are threadbare, and worn through,
And all too narrow for the broadening soul,
Give me the fine, firm texture of the new,
Fair, beautiful and whole.
If all the year was summer-time,
And all the aim of life
Was just to lilt on like a rhyme –
Then I would be your wife.
If all the days were August days,
And crowned with golden weather,
How happy then through green-clad ways
We two could stray together!
If all the nights were moonlit nights,
And we had naught to do
But just to sit and plan delights,
Then I would be with you.
If life was all a summer fete,
Its soberest pace the “glide, ”
Then I would choose you for my mate,
And keep you at my side.
But winter makes full half the year,
And labour half of life,
And all the laughter and good cheer
Gives place to wearing strife.
Days will grow cold, and moons wax old,
And then a heart that’s true
Is better far than grace or gold –
And so, my love, adieu!
I cannot wed with you.
I think that the bitterest sorrow or pain
Of love unrequited, or cold death’s woe,
Is sweet, compared to that hour when we know
That some grand passion is on the wane.
When we see that the glory, and glow, and grace
Which lent a splendour to night and day,
Are surely fading, and showing grey
And dull groundwork of the commonplace.
When fond expressions on dull ears fall,
When the hands clasp calmly without one thrill,
When we cannot muster by force of will
The old emotions that came at call.
When the dream has vanished we fain would keep,
When the heart, like a watch, runs out of gear,
And all the savour goes out of the year,
Oh, then is the time – if we could – to weep!
But no tears soften this dull, pale woe;
We must sit and face it with dry, sad eyes.
If we seek to hold it, the swifter joy flies –
We can only be passive, and let it go.
Do you want to peep into Bedlam Town?
Then come with me, when the day swings down,
Into the cradle, whose rockers rim,
Some people call the horizon dim.
All the mischief of all the fates
Seems to center in four little pates,
Just one hour before we say,
'It is time for bed now, stop your play.'
O, the racket and noise, and roar
As they prance like a caravan over the floor,
With never a thought of the head that aches,
And never a heed to the 'mercy sakes.'
And 'Pity, save us,' and 'Oh! dear, dear,'
Which all but the culprits plainly hear.
A dog, a parrot, a guinea hen,
Warriors, elephants, Indian men,
A salvation army, a grizzly bear,
Are all at once in the nursery there.
And when the clock in the hall strikes seven
It sounds to us like a voice from heaven;
And each of the elves in a warm nightgown,
March away out of Bedlam Town.
I know it is early morning,
And hope is calling aloud,
And your heart is afire with Youth’s desire
To hurry along with the crowd.
But linger a bit by the roadside,
And lend a hand by the way,
‘Tis a curious fact that a generous act
Brings leisure and luck to a day.
I know it is only the noontime –
There is chance enough to be kind;
But the hours run fast when the noon has passed,
And the shadows are close behind.
So think while the light is shining,
And act ere the set of the sun,
For the sorriest woe that a soul can know
Is to think what it might have done.
I know it is almost evening,
But the twilight hour is long.
If you listen and heed each cry of need
You can right full many a wrong.
For when we have finished the journey
We will all look back and say:
‘On life’s long mile there was nothing worth while
But the good we did by the way.’
Born in the flesh, and bred in the bone,
Some of us harbour still
A New World pride: and we flaunt or hide
The Spirit of Bunker Hill.
We claim our place, as a separate race,
Or a self-created clan:
Till there comes a day when we like to say,
'We are kin of the Englishman.'
For under the front that seems so cold,
And the voice that is wont to storm,
We are certain to find a big, broad mind
And a heart that is soft and warm.
And he carries his woes in a lordly way,
As only the great souls can:
And it makes us glad when in truth we say,
'We are kin of the Englishman.'
He slams his door in the face of the world,
If he thinks the world too bold.
He will even curse; but he opens his purse
To the poor, and the sick, and the old.
He is slow in giving to woman the vote,
And slow to pick up her fan;
But he gives her room in an hour of doom,
And dies-like an Englishman.
New Year: A Dialogue
"The night is cold, the hour is late, the world is bleak and drear;
Who is it knocking at my door?"
THE NEW YEAR:
"I am Good Cheer."
"Your voice is strange; I know you not; in shadows dark I grope.
What seek you here?"
THE NEW YEAR:
"Friend, let me in; my name is Hope."
"And mine is Failure; you but mock the life you seek to bless. Pass on."
THE NEW YEAR:
"Nay, open wide the door; I am Success."
"But I am ill and spent with pain; too late has come your wealth. I cannot use it."
THE NEW YEAR:
"Listen, friend; I am Good Health."
"Now, wide I fling my door. Come in, and your fair statements prove."
THE NEW YEAR:
"But you must open, too, your heart, for I am Love."
‘By-and-bye, ’ the maiden sighed – ‘by-and-bye
He will claim me for his bride,
Hope is strong and time is fleet;
Youth is fair, and love is sweet,
Clouds will pass that fleck my sky,
He will come back by-and-bye.’
‘By-and-bye, ’ the soldier said – ‘by-and-bye,
After I have fought and bled,
I shall go home from the wars,
Crowned with glory, seamed with scars,
Joy will flash from some one’s eye
When she greets me by-and-bye- by-and-bye.’
‘By-and-bye, ’ the mother cried – ‘by-and-bye,
Strong and sturdy at my side,
Like a staff supporting me,
Will my bonnie baby be.
Break my rest, then, wail and cry –
Thou’lt repay me by-and-bye - by-and-bye.’
Fleeting years of time have sped – hurried by –
Still the maiden is unwed:
All unknown soldier lies,
Buried under alien skies;
And the son, with blood-shot eye,
Saw his mother starve and die.
God in heaven! dost Thou on high
Keep the promised ‘by-and-bye’ - by-and-bye?
The Needle And Thread
The Needle and Thread one day were wed,
The Thimble acted as priest,
A paper of Pins, and the Scissors twins
Were among the guests at the feast.
That dandy trim the Bodkin slim
Danced with Miss Tape-measure,
But he stepped on her trail, and she called him 'a whale,'
And that put an end to their pleasure.
Wrinkled and fat the Beeswax sat
And talked with the Needle-case.
'I am glad,' she said, 'that my niece, the Thread,
Has married into this race.
'Her mother, the Spool, was a dull old fool,
And the Needle and Thread were shy;
The result you see came all through me,
I taught her to catch his eye.'
The Emery-ball just there had a fall-
She had danced too long at one time,
And that put a stop to the merry hop,
And that brings an end to my rhyme.
The groom and the bride took their wedding ride
Down a long white-seam to the shore,
And the guests all said there never was wed
So fair a couple before.
Older Than You
We are younger in years! Yes, that is true;
But in some things we are older than you.
For instance, you sometimes say with a smile,
'It will do to drink wine once in a while.'
We say, 'It will not do at all!'
Wine is an imp of old Alcohol.
So are gin and beer, and cider, too.
If you drink up them, they will eat up you.
'Cider is not a strong drink,' you say.
Ah! but, my friend, it opens the way
For brandy and whiskey to follow fast.
It has done it many a time in the past.
It tempts and teases the appetite.
Let it alone, boys, keep to the right;
Onward and upward we mean to go.
Heaven is reached that way, you know.
People who drink are behind the time.
They are back with darkness, and woe, and crime.
This age is progressive. You people who drink,
Though ever so little, just pause and think-
Think of the anguish that liquor makes;
Think of the hearts that it burdens and breaks.
Let it alone: stop drinking to-day-
This is what we, the children, say.
Of all the waltzes the great Strauss wrote,
mad with melody, rhythm--rife
From the very first to the final note,
Give me his "Artist's Life!"
It stirs my blood to my finger ends,
Thrills me and fills me with vague unrest,
And all that is sweetest and saddest blends
Together within my breast.
It brings back that night in the dim arcade,
In love's sweet morning and life's best prime,
When the great brass orchestra played and played,
And set our thoughts to rhyme.
It brings back that Winter of mad delights,
Of leaping pulses and tripping feet,
And those languid moon-washed Summer nights
When we heard the band in the street.
It brings back rapture and glee and glow,
It brings back passion and pain and strife,
And so of all the waltzes I know,
Give me the "Artist's Life."
For it is so full of the dear old time--
So full of the dear friends I knew.
And under its rhythm, and lilt, and rhyme,
I am always finding--you.
At An Old Drawer
Before this scarf was faded,
What hours of mirth it knew;
How gayly it paraded
From smiling eyes to view.
The days were tinged with glory,
The nights too quickly sped,
And life was like a story
Where all the people wed.
Before this rosebud wilted,
How passionately sweet
The wild waltz smelled and lilted
In time for flying feet;
How loud the bassoons muttered,
The horns grew madly shrill,
And oh! the vows lips uttered
That hearts could not fulfill.
Before this fan was broken,
Behind its lace and pearl
What whispered words were spoken,
What hearts were in a whirl;
What homesteads were selected
In Fancy's realm of Spain,
What castles were erected
Without a room for pain.
When this odd glove was mated,
How thrilling seemed the play;
Maybe our hearts are sated--
We tire so soon to-day.
O, thrust away these treasures,
They speak the dreary truth;
We have outgrown the pleasures
And keen delights of youth.
The Land Of Nowhere
Do you know where the summer blooms all the year 'round,
Where there never is rain on a pic-nic day?
Where the thornless rose in its beauty blows
And little boys never are called from play?
Then, oh! hey! it is far away-
In the wonderful land of Nowhere.
Would you like to live where nobody scolds,
Where you never are told 'it is time for bed,'
Where you learn without trying and laugh without crying,
Where snarls never pull when they comb your head?
Then, oh! hey! it is far away
In the wonderful land of Nowhere.
Do you long to dwell where you never need wait,
Where no one is punished or made to cry,
Where a supper of cakes is not followed by aches
And little folks thrive on a diet of pie?
Then, oh! hey! you must go away
To the wonderful land of Nowhere.
You must drift down the river of idle dreams,
Close to the border of No-man's-land.
For a year and a day you must sail away
And then you will come to an unknown strand
And oh! hey! if you get there-stay
In the wonderful land of Nowhere!
The London 'Bobby'
A Tribute To The Policemen Of Englands Capital
Here in my cosy corner,
Before a blazing log,
I’m thinking of cold London
Wrapped in its killing fog;
And, like a shining beacon
Above the picture grim,
I see the London ‘Bobby, ’
And sing my song for him.
I see his stalwart figure,
I see his kindly face,
I hear his helpful answer
At any hour or place.
For, though you seek some by-way
Long miles from his own beat,
He tells you all about it,
And how to find the street.
He looks like some bold Viking,
This king of earth’s police –
Yet in his voice lies feeling,
And in his eyes lies peace;
He knows and does his duty –
(What higher praise is there?)
And London’s lords and paupers
Alike receive his care.
He has a regal bearing,
Yet one that breathes repose;
It is the look and manner
Of one who thinks and knows.
Oh, men who govern nations,
In old worlds or new,
Turn to the London ‘Bobby’
And learn a thing or two.
Quite carelessly I turned the newsy sheet;
A song I sang, full many a year ago,
Smiled up at me, as in a busy street
One meets an old-time friend he used to know.
So full it was, that simple little song,
Of all the hope, the transport, and the truth,
Which to the impetuous morn of life belong,
That once again I seemed to grasp my youth.
So full it was of that sweet, fancied pain
We woo and cherish ere we meet with woe,
I felt as one who hears a plaintive strain
His mother sang him in the long ago.
Up from the grave the years that lay between
That song's birthday and my stern present came
Like phantom forms and swept across the scene,
Bearing their broken dreams of love and fame.
Fair hopes and bright ambitions that I knew
In that old time, with their ideal grace,
Shone for a moment, then were lost to view
Behind the dull clouds of the commonplace.
With trembling hands I put the sheet away;
Ah, little song! the sad and bitter truth
Struck like an arrow when we met that day!
My life has missed the promise of its youth.
I said this morning, as I leaned and threw
My shutters open to the Spring's surprise,
'Tell me, O Earth, how is it that in you
Year after year the same fresh feelings rise?
How do you keep your young exultant glee?
No more those sweet emotions come to me.
'I note through all your fissures how the tide
Of healthful life goes leaping as of old;
Your royal dawns retain their pomp and pride;
Your sunsets lose no atom of their gold.
How can this wonder be?' My soul's fine ear
Leaned, listening, till a small voice answered near:
'My days lapse never over into night;
My nights encroach not on the rights of dawn.
I rush not breathless after some delight;
I waste no grief for any pleasure gone.
My July noons burn not the entire year.
Heart, hearken well!' 'Yes, yes; go on; I hear.'
'I do not strive to make my sunsets' gold
Pave all the dim and distant realms of space.
I do not bid my crimson dawns unfold
To lend the midnight a fictitious grace.
I break no law, for all God's laws are good.
Heart, hast thou heard?' 'Yes, yes; and understood.'
To Marry Or Not To Marry?
A Girl’s Reverie
Mother says, ‘Be in no hurry,
Marriage oft means care and worry.’
Auntie says, with manner grave,
‘Wife is synonym for slave.’
Father asks, in tones commanding,
‘How does Bradstreet rate his standing? ’
Sister, crooning to her twins,
Sighs, ‘With marriage care begins.’
Grandma, near life’s closing days,
Murmurs, ‘Sweet are girlhood’s ways.’
Maud, twice widowed (‘sod and grass’)
Looks at me and moans ‘Alas! ’
They are six, and I am one,
Life for me has just begun.
They are older, calmer, wiser:
Age should aye be youth’s adviser.
They must know – and yet, dear me,
When in Harry’s eyes I see
All the world of love there burning –
On my six advisers turning,
I make an answer, ‘Oh, but Harry
Is not like most men who marry.’
‘Fate has offered me a prize,
Life with love means Paradise.’
‘Life without it is not worth
All the foolish joys of earth.’
So, in spite of all they say,
I shall name the wedding day.
The Little Lady Of The Bullock Cart
Now is the time when India is gay
With wedding parties; and the radiant throngs
Seem like a scattered rainbow taking part
In human pleasures. Dressed in bright array,
They fling upon the bride their wreaths of songs-
The Little Lady of the Bullock Cart.
Here is the temple ready for the rite:
The large-eyed bullocks halt; and waiting arms
Lift down the bride. All India's curious art
Speaks in the gems with which she is bedight,
And in the robes which hide her sweet alarms-
The Little Lady of the Bullock Cart.
This is her day of days: her splendid hour
When joy is hers, though love is all unknown.
It has not dawned upon her childish heart.
But human triumph, in a temporal power,
Has crowned her queen upon a one-day throne-
The Little Lady of the Bullock Cart.
Ah, Little Lady! What will be your fate?
So long, so long, the outward-reaching years:
So brief the joy of this elusive part;
So frail the shoulders for the loads that wait:
So bitter salt the virgin widow's tears-
O Little Lady of the Bullock Cart.