The Divine Lullaby
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, in 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,
Ay, 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!"
Horace To Maecenas
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!
Beranger's My Last Song Perhaps (January 1814)
When, to despoil my native France,
With flaming torch and cruel sword
And boisterous drums her foeman comes,
I curse him and his vandal horde!
Yet, what avail accrues to her,
If we assume the garb of woe?
Let's merry be,--in laughter we
May rescue somewhat from the foe!
Ah, many a brave man trembles now.
I (coward!) show no sign of fear;
When Bacchus sends his blessing, friends,
I drown my panic in his cheer.
Come, gather round my humble board,
And let the sparkling wassail flow,--
Chuckling to think, the while you drink,
"This much we rescue from the foe!"
My creditors beset me so
And so environed my abode,
That I agreed, despite my need,
To settle up the debts I owed;
When suddenly there came the news
Of this invasion, as you know;
I'll pay no score; pray, lend me more,--
I--I will keep it from the foe!
Now here's my mistress,--pretty dear!--
Feigns terror at this martial noise,
And yet, methinks, the artful minx
Would like to meet those soldier boys!
I tell her that they're coarse and rude,
Yet feel she don't believe 'em so,--
Well, never mind; so she be kind,
That much I rescue from the foe!
If, brothers, hope shall have in store
For us and ours no friendly glance,
Let's rather die than raise a cry
Of welcome to the foes of France!
But, like the swan that dying sings,
Let us, O Frenchmen, singing go,--
Then shall our cheer, when death is near,
Be so much rescued from the foe!
Good-Bye--God Bless You!
I like the Anglo-Saxon speech
With its direct revealings;
It takes a hold, and seems to reach
'Way down into your feelings;
That some folk deem it rude, I know,
And therefore they abuse it;
But I have never found it so,--
Before all else I choose it.
I don't object that men should air
The Gallic they have paid for,
With "Au revoir," "Adieu, ma chère,"
For that's what French was made for.
But when a crony takes your hand
At parting, to address you,
He drops all foreign lingo and
He says, "Good-by--God bless you!"
This seems to me a sacred phrase,
With reverence impassioned,--
A thing come down from righteous days,
Quaintly but nobly fashioned;
It well becomes an honest face,
A voice that's round and cheerful;
It stays the sturdy in his place,
And soothes the weak and fearful.
Into the porches of the ears
It steals with subtle unction,
And in your heart of hearts appears
To work its gracious function;
And all day long with pleasing song
It lingers to caress you,--
I'm sure no human heart goes wrong
That's told "Good-by--God bless you!"
I love the words,--perhaps because,
When I was leaving Mother,
Standing at last in solemn pause
We looked at one another,
And I--I saw in Mother's eyes
The love she could not tell me,--
A love eternal as the skies,
Whatever fate befell me;
She put her arms about my neck
And soothed the pain of leaving,
And though her heart was like to break,
She spoke no word of grieving;
She let no tear bedim her eye,
For fear that might distress me,
But, kissing me, she said good-by,
And asked our God to bless me.
(A BALLAD IN THE ANGLO-SAXON TONGUE)
When to the dreary greenwood gloam
Winfreda's husband strode that day,
The fair Winfreda bode at home
To toil the weary time away;
"While thou art gone to hunt," said she,
"I'll brew a goodly sop for thee."
Lo, from a further, gloomy wood,
A hungry wolf all bristling hied
And on the cottage threshold stood
And saw the dame at work inside;
And, as he saw the pleasing sight,
He licked his fangs so sharp and white.
Now when Winfreda saw the beast,
Straight at the grinning wolf she ran,
And, not affrighted in the least,
She hit him with her cooking pan,
And as she thwacked him on the head--
"Scat! scat!" the fair Winfreda said.
The hills gave answer to their din--
The brook in fear beheld the sight.
And all that bloody field within
Wore token of Winfreda's might.
The wolf was very loath to stay--
But, oh! he could not get away.
Winfreda swept him o'er the wold
And choked him till his gums were blue,
And till, beneath her iron hold,
His tongue hung out a yard or two,
And with his hair the riven ground
Was strewn for many leagues around.
They fought a weary time that day,
And seas of purple blood were shed,
Till by Winfreda's cunning lay
That awful wolf all limp and dead;
Winfreda saw him reel and drop--
Then back she went to brewing sop.
So when the husband came at night
From bootless chase, cold, gaunt, and grim,
Great was that Saxon lord's delight
To find the sop dished up for him;
And as he ate, Winfreda told
How she had laid the wolf out cold.
The good Winfreda of those days
Is only "pretty Birdie" now--
Sickly her soul and weak her ways--
And she, to whom we Saxons bow,
Leaps on a bench and screams with fright
If but a mouse creeps into sight.
Ballad Of The Jelly-Cake
A little boy whose name was Tim
Once ate some jelly-cake for tea--
Which cake did not agree with him,
As by the sequel you shall see.
'My darling child,' his mother said,
'Pray do not eat that jelly-cake,
For, after you have gone to bed,
I fear 't will make your stomach ache!'
But foolish little Tim demurred
Unto his mother's warning word.
That night, while all the household slept,
Tim felt an awful pain, and then
From out the dark a nightmare leapt
And stood upon his abdomen!
'I cannot breathe!' the infant cried--
'Oh, Mrs. Nightmare, pity take!'
'There is no mercy,' she replied,
'For boys who feast on jelly-cake!'
And so, despite the moans of Tim,
The cruel nightmare went for him.
At first, she 'd tickle Timmy's toes
Or roughly smite his baby cheek--
And now she 'd rudely tweak his nose
And other petty vengeance wreak;
And then, with hobnails in her shoes
And her two horrid eyes aflame,
The mare proceeded to amuse,
Herself by prancing o'er his frame--
First to his throbbing brow, and then
Back to his little feet again.
At last, fantastic, wild, and weird,
And clad in garments ghastly grim,
A scowling hoodoo band appeared
And joined in worrying little Tim.
Each member of this hoodoo horde
Surrounded Tim with fierce ado
And with long, cruel gimlets bored
His aching system through and through,
And while they labored all night long
The nightmare neighed a dismal song.
Next morning, looking pale and wild,
Poor little Tim emerged from bed--
'Good gracious! what can ail the child!'
His agitated mother said.
'We live to learn,' responded he,
'And I have lived to learn to take
Plain bread and butter for my tea,
And never, never, jelly-cake!
For when my hulk with pastry teems,
I must expect unpleasant dreams!'
The Straw Parlor
Way up at the top of a big stack of straw
Was the cunningest parlor that ever you saw!
And there could you lie when aweary of play
And gossip or laze in the coziest way;
No matter how careworn or sorry one's mood
No worldly distraction presumed to intrude.
As a refuge from onerous mundane ado
I think I approve of straw parlors, don't you?
A swallow with jewels aflame on her breast
On that straw parlor's ceiling had builded her nest;
And she flew in and out all the happy day long,
And twittered the soothingest lullaby song.
Now some might suppose that that beautiful bird
Performed for her babies the music they heard;
I reckon she twittered her répertoire through
For the folk in the little straw parlor, don't you?
And down from a rafter a spider had hung
Some swings upon which he incessantly swung.
He cut up such didoes--such antics he played
Way up in the air, and was never afraid!
He never made use of his horrid old sting,
But was just upon earth for the fun of the thing!
I deeply regret to observe that so few
Of these good-natured insects are met with, don't you?
And, down in the strawstack, a wee little mite
Of a cricket went chirping by day and by night;
And further down, still, a cunning blue mouse
In a snug little nook of that strawstack kept house!
When the cricket went "chirp," Miss Mousie would squeak
"Come in," and a blush would enkindle her cheek!
She thought--silly girl! 't was a beau come to woo,
But I guess it was only the cricket, don't you?
So the cricket, the mouse, and the motherly bird
Made as soothingsome music as ever you heard
And, meanwhile, that spider by means of his swings
Achieved most astounding gyrations and things!
No wonder the little folk liked what they saw
And loved what they heard in that parlor of straw!
With the mercury up to 102
In the shade, I opine they just sizzled, don't you?
But once there invaded that Eden of straw
The evilest Feline that ever you saw!
She pounced on that cricket with rare promptitude
And she tucked him away where he'd do the most good;
And then, reaching down to the nethermost house,
She deftly expiscated little Miss Mouse!
And, as for the Swallow, she shrieked and withdrew--
I rather admire her discretion, don't you?
Now listen: That evening a cyclone obtained,
And the mortgage was all on that farm that remained!
Barn, strawstack and spider--they all blew away,
And nobody knows where they're at to this day!
And, as for the little straw parlor, I fear
It was wafted clean off this sublunary sphere!
I really incline to a hearty "boo-hoo"
When I think of this tragical ending, don't you?
The Delectable Ballad Of The Waller Lot
Up yonder in Buena Park
There is a famous spot,
In legend and in history
Yclept the Waller Lot.
There children play in daytime
And lovers stroll by dark,
For 't is the goodliest trysting-place
In all Buena Park.
Once on a time that beauteous maid,
Sweet little Sissy Knott,
Took out her pretty doll to walk
Within the Waller Lot.
While thus she fared, from Ravenswood
Came Injuns o'er the plain,
And seized upon that beauteous maid
And rent her doll in twain.
Oh, 't was a piteous thing to hear
Her lamentations wild;
She tore her golden curls and cried:
"My child! My child! My child!"
Alas, what cared those Injun chiefs
How bitterly wailed she?
They never had been mothers,
And they could not hope to be!
"Have done with tears," they rudely quoth,
And then they bound her hands;
For they proposed to take her off
To distant border lands.
But, joy! from Mr. Eddy's barn
Doth Willie Clow behold
The sight that makes his hair rise up
And all his blood run cold.
He put his fingers in his mouth
And whistled long and clear,
And presently a goodly horde
Of cow-boys did appear.
Cried Willie Clow: "My comrades bold,
Haste to the Waller Lot,
And rescue from that Injun band
Our charming Sissy Knott!"
"Spare neither Injun buck nor squaw,
But smite them hide and hair!
Spare neither sex nor age nor size,
And no condition spare!"
Then sped that cow-boy band away,
Full of revengeful wrath,
And Kendall Evans rode ahead
Upon a hickory lath.
And next came gallant Dady Field
And Willie's brother Kent,
The Eddy boys and Robbie James,
On murderous purpose bent.
For they were much beholden to
That maid - in sooth, the lot
Were very, very much in love
With charming Sissy Knott.
What wonder? She was beauty's queen,
And good beyond compare;
Moreover, it was known she was
Her wealthy father's heir!
Now when the Injuns saw that band
They trembled with affright,
And yet they thought the cheapest thing
To do was stay and fight.
So sturdily they stood their ground,
Nor would their prisoner yield,
Despite the wrath of Willie Clow
And gallant Dady Field.
Oh, never fiercer battle raged
Upon the Waller Lot,
And never blood more freely flowed
Than flowed for Sissy Knott!
An Injun chief of monstrous size
Got Kendall Evans down,
And Robbie James was soon o'erthrown
By one of great renown.
And Dady Field was sorely done,
And Willie Clow was hurt,
And all that gallant cow-boy band
Lay wallowing in the dirt.
But still they strove with might and main
Till all the Waller Lot
Was strewn with hair and gouts of gore -
All, all for Sissy Knott!
Then cried the maiden in despair:
"Alas, I sadly fear
The battle and my hopes are lost,
Unless some help appear!"
Lo, as she spoke, she saw afar
The rescuer looming up -
The pride of all Buena Park,
Clow's famous yellow pup!
"Now, sick'em, Don," the maiden cried,
"Now, sick'em, Don!" cried she;
Obedient Don at once complied -
As ordered, so did he.
He sicked'em all so passing well
That, overcome by fright,
The Indian horde gave up the fray
And safety sought in flight.
They ran and ran and ran and ran
O'er valley, plain, and hill;
And if they are not walking now,
Why, then, they're running still.
The cow-boys rose up from the dust
With faces black and blue;
"Remember, beauteous maid," said they,
"We've bled and died for you!"
"And though we suffer grievously,
We gladly hail the lot
That brings us toils and pains and wounds
For charming Sissy Knott!"
But Sissy Knott still wailed and wept,
And still her fate reviled;
For who could patch her dolly up -
Who, who could mend her child?
Then out her doting mother came,
And soothed her daughter then;
"Grieve not, my darling, I will sew
Your dolly up again!"
Joy soon succeeded unto grief,
And tears were soon dried up,
And dignities were heaped upon
Clow's noble yellow pup.
Him all that goodly company
Did as deliverer hail -
They tied a ribbon round his neck,
Another round his tail.
And every anniversary day
Upon the Waller Lot
They celebrate the victory won
For charming Sissy Knott.
And I, the poet of these folk,
Am ordered to compile
This truly famous history
In good old ballad style.
Which having done as to have earned
The sweet rewards of fame,
In what same style I did begin
I now shall end the same.
So let us sing: Long live the King,
Long live the Queen and Jack,
Long live the ten-spot and the ace,
And also all the pack.