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?

The hero of
Affairs of love
By far too numerous to be mentioned,
And scarred as I'm,
It seemeth time
That I were mustered out and pensioned.

So on this wall
My lute and all
I hang, and dedicate to Venus;
And I implore
But one thing more
Ere all is at an end between us.

O goddess fair
Who reignest where
The weather's seldom bleak and snowy,
This boon I urge:
In anger scourge
My old cantankerous sweetheart, Chloe!

O Cruel fair,
Whose flowing hair
The envy and the pride of all is,
As onward roll
The years, that poll
Will get as bald as a billiard ball is;
Then shall your skin, now pink and dimply,
Be tanned to parchment, sear and pimply!

When you behold
Yourself grown old,
These words shall speak your spirits moody:
'Unhappy one!
What heaps of fun
I've missed by being goody-goody!
Oh, that I might have felt the hunger
Of loveless age when I was younger!'

Old Dutch Love Song

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!

Old English Lullaby

Hush, bonnie, dinna greit;
Moder will rocke her sweete,-
Balow, my boy!
When that his toile ben done,
Daddie will come anone,-
Hush thee, my lyttel one;
Balow, my boy!

Gin thou dost sleepe, perchaunce
Fayries will come to daunce,-
Balow, my boy!
Oft hath thy moder seene
Moonlight and mirkland queene
Daunce on thy slumbering een,-
Balow, my boy!

Then droned a bomblebee
Saftly this songe to thee:
'Balow, my boy!'
And a wee heather bell,
Pluckt from a fayry dell,
Chimed thee this rune hersell:
'Balow, my boy!'

Soe, bonnie, dinna greit;
Moder doth rock her sweete,-
Balow, my boy!
Give mee thy lyttel hand,
Moder will hold it and
Lead thee to balow land,-
Balow, my boy!

Last night, my darling, as you slept,
I thought I heard you sigh,
And to your little crib I crept,
And watched a space thereby;
And then I stooped and kissed your brow,
For oh! I love you so--
You are too young to know it now,
But some time you shall know!

Some time when, in a darkened place
Where others come to weep,
Your eyes shall look upon a face
Calm in eternal sleep,
The voiceless lips, the wrinkled brow,
The patient smile shall show--
You are too young to know it now,
But some time you may know!

Look backward, then, into the years,
And see me here to-night--
See, O my darling! how my tears
Are falling as I write;
And feel once more upon your brow
The kiss of long ago--
You are too young to know it now,
But some time you shall know.

Be My Sweetheart

Sweetheart, be my sweetheart
When birds are on the wing,
When bee and bud and babbling flood
Bespeak the birth of spring,
Come, sweetheart, be my sweetheart
And wear this posy-ring!

Sweetheart, be my sweetheart
In the mellow golden glow
Of earth aflush with the gracious blush
Which the ripening fields foreshow;
Dear sweetheart, be my sweetheart,
As into the noon we go!

Sweetheart, be my sweetheart
When falls the bounteous year,
When fruit and wine of tree and vine
Give us their harvest cheer;
Oh, sweetheart, be my sweetheart,
For winter it draweth near.

Sweetheart, be my sweetheart
When the year is white and old,
When the fire of youth is spent, forsooth,
And the hand of age is cold;
Yet, sweetheart, be my sweetheart
Till the year of our love be told!

A Democratic Hymn

Republicans of differing views
Are pro or con protection;
If that's the issue they would choose,
Why, we have no objection.
The issue we propose concerns
Our hearts and homes more nearly:
A wife to whom the nation turns
And venerates so dearly.
So, confident of what shall be,
Our gallant host advances,
Giving three cheers for Grover C.
And three times three for Frances!

So gentle is that honored dame,
And fair beyond all telling,
The very mention of her name
Sets every breast to swelling.
She wears no mortal crown of gold--
No courtiers fawn around her--
But with their love young hearts and old
In loyalty have crowned her--
And so with Grover and his bride
We're proud to take our chances,
And it's three times three for the twain give we--
But particularly for Frances!

The Broken Ring

To the willows of the brookside
The mill wheel sings to-day--
Sings and weeps,
As the brooklet creeps
Wondering on its way;
And here is the ring _she_ gave me
With love's sweet promise then--
It hath burst apart
Like the trusting heart
That may never be soothed again!

Oh, I would be a minstrel
To wander far and wide,
Weaving in song the merciless wrong
Done by a perjured bride!
Or I would be a soldier,
To seek in the bloody fray
What gifts of fate can compensate
For the pangs I suffer to-day!

Yet may this aching bosom,
By bitter sorrow crushed,
Be still and cold
In the churchyard mould
Ere _thy_ sweet voice be hushed;
So sing, sing on forever,
O wheel of the brookside mill,
For you mind me again
Of the old time when
I felt love's gracious thrill.

By My Sweetheart

Sweetheart, be my sweetheart
When birds are on the wing,
When bee and bud and babbling flood
Bespeak the birth of spring,
Come, sweetheart, be my sweetheart
And wear this posy-ring!

Sweetheart, be my sweetheart
In the mellow golden glow
Of earth aflush with the gracious blush
Which the ripening fields foreshow;
Dear sweetheart, be my sweetheart,
As into the noon we go!

Sweetheart, be my sweetheart
When falls the bounteous year,
When fruit and wine of tree and vine
Give us their harvest cheer;
Oh, sweetheart, be my sweetheart,
For winter it draweth near.

Sweetheart, be my sweetheart
When the year is white and old,
When the fire of youth is spent, forsooth,
And the hand of age is cold;
Yet, sweetheart, be my sweetheart
Till the year of our love be told!

I looked in the brook and saw a face -
Heigh-ho, but a child was I!
There were rushes and willows in that place,
And they clutched at the brook as the brook ran by;
And the brook it ran its own sweet way,
As a child doth run in heedless play,
And as it ran I heard it say:
"Hasten with me
To the roistering sea
That is wroth with the flame of the morning sky!"

I look in the brook and see a face -
Heigh-ho, but the years go by!
The rushes are dead in the old-time place,
And the willows I knew when a child was I.
And the brook it seemeth to me to say,
As ever it stealeth on its way -
Solemnly now, and not in play:
"Oh, come with me
To the slumbrous sea
That is gray with the peace of the evening sky!"

Heigh-ho, but the years go by -
I would to God that a child were I!

To Quintus Dellius

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 its burden where
The waves of Lethe roll.

_So come, I prithee, 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_.

To Quintus Hirpinus

To Scythian and Cantabrian plots,
Pay them no heed, O Quintius!
So long as we
From care are free,
Vexations cannot cinch us.

Unwrinkled youth and grace, forsooth,
Speed hand in hand together;
The songs we sing
In time of spring
Are hushed in wintry weather.

Why, even flow'rs change with the hours,
And the moon has divers phases;
And shall the mind
Be racked to find
A clew to Fortune's mazes?

Nay; 'neath this tree let you and me
Woo Bacchus to caress us;
We're old, 't is true,
But still we two
Are thoroughbreds, God bless us!

While the wine gets cool in yonder pool,
Let's spruce up nice and tidy;
Who knows, old boy,
But we may decoy
The fair but furtive Lyde?

She can execute on her ivory lute
Sonatas full of passion,
And she bangs her hair
(Which is passing fair)
In the good old Spartan fashion.

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 The Firelight

The fire upon the hearth is low,
And there is stillness everywhere,
While like winged spirits, here and there,
The firelight shadows fluttering go.
And as the shadows round me creep,
A childish treble breaks the gloom,
And softly from a further room
Comes, "Now I lay me down to sleep."

And somehow, with that little prayer
And that sweet treble in my ears,
My thoughts go back to distant years
And linger with a loved one there;
And as I hear my child's amen,
My mother's faith comes back to me,--
Crouched at her side I seem to be,
And Mother holds my hands again.

Oh, for an hour in that dear place!
Oh, for the peace of that dear time!
Oh, for that childish trust sublime!
Oh, for a glimpse of Mother's face!
Yet, as the shadows round me creep,
I do not seem to be alone,--
Sweet magic of that treble tone,
And "Now I lay me down to sleep."

A Roman Winter-Piece

See, Thaliarch mine, how, white with snow,
Soracte mocks the sullen sky;
How, groaning loud, the woods are bowed,
And chained with frost the rivers lie.

Pile, pile the logs upon the hearth;
We'll melt away the envious cold:
And, better yet, sweet friend, we'll wet
Our whistles with some four-year-old.

Commit all else unto the gods,
Who, when it pleaseth them, shall bring
To fretful deeps and wooded steeps
The mild, persuasive grace of Spring.

Let not To-morrow, but To-day,
Your ever active thoughts engage;
Frisk, dance, and sing, and have your fling,
Unharmed, unawed of crabbed Age.

Let's steal content from Winter's wrath,
And glory in the artful theft,
That years from now folks shall allow
'T was cold indeed when we got left.

So where the whisperings and the mirth
Of girls invite a sportive chap,
Let's fare awhile,--aha, you smile;
You guess my meaning,--_verbum sap_.

'T is when the lark goes soaring
And the bee is at the bud,
When lightly dancing zephyrs
Sing over field and flood;
When all sweet things in nature
Seem joyfully achime -
'T is then I wake my darling,
For it is kissing time!

Go, pretty lark, a-soaring,
And suck your sweets, 0 bee;
Sing, 0 ye winds of summer,
Your songs to mine and me;
For with your song and rapture
Cometh the moment when
It's half-past kissing time
And time to kiss again!

So - so the days go fleeting
Like golden fancies free,
And every day that cometh
Is full of sweets for me;
And sweetest are those moments
My darling comes to climb
Into my lap to mind me
That it is kissing time.

Sometimes, maybe, he wanders
A heedless, aimless way -
Sometimes, maybe, he loiters
In pretty, prattling play;
But presently bethinks him
And hastens to me then,
For it's half-past kissing time
And time to kiss again!

A Valentine To My Wife

Accept, dear girl, this little token,
And if between the lines you seek,
You'll find the love I've often spoken—
The love my dying lips shall speak.

Our little ones are making merry
O'er am'rous ditties rhymed in jest,
But in these words (though awkward—very)
The genuine article's expressed.

You are as fair and sweet and tender,
Dear brown-eyed little sweetheart mine,
As when, a callow youth and slender,
I asked to be your Valentine.

What though these years of ours be fleeting?
What though the years of youth be flown?
I'll mock old Tempus with repeating,
'I love my love and her alone!'

And when I fall before his reaping,
And when my stuttering speech is dumb,
Think not my love is dead or sleeping,
But that it waits for you to come.

So take, dear love, this little token,
And if there speaks in any line
The sentiment I'd fain have spoken,
Say, will you kiss your Valentine?

Little Boy Blue

The little toy dog is covered with dust,
But sturdy and stanch he stands;
And the little toy soldier is red with rust,
And his musket molds in his hands.
Time was when the little toy dog was new
And the soldier was passing fair,
And that was the time when our Little Boy Blue
Kissed them and put them there.

"Now, don't you go till I come," he said,
"And don't you make any noise!"
So toddling off to his trundle-bed
He dreamed of the pretty toys.
And as he was dreaming, an angel song
Awakened our Little Boy Blue,--
Oh, the years are many, the years are long,
But the little toy friends are true.

Ay, faithful to Little Boy Blue they stand,
Each in the same old place,
Awaiting the touch of a little hand,
The smile of a little face.
And they wonder, as waiting these long years through,
In the dust of that little chair,
What has become of our Little Boy Blue
Since he kissed them and put them there.

An Autumn Treasure-Trove

'Tis the time of the year's sundown, and flame
Hangs on the maple bough;
And June is the faded flower of a name;
The thin hedge hides not a singer now.
Yet rich am I; for my treasures be
The gold afloat in my willow-tree.

Sweet morn on the hillside dripping with dew,
Girded with blue and pearl,
Counts the leaves afloat in the streamlet too;
As the love-lorn heart of a wistful girl,
She sings while her soul brooding tearfully
Sees a dream of gold in the willow-tree.

All day pure white and saffron at eve,
Clouds awaiting the sun
Turn them at length to ghosts that leave
When the moon's white path is slowly run
Till the morning comes, and with joy for me
O'er my gold agleam in the willow-tree.

The lilacs that blew on the breast of May
Are an old and lost delight;
And the rose lies ruined in his careless way
As the wind turns the poplars underwhite,
Yet richer am I for the autumn; see
All my misty gold in the willow-tree.

Ballad Of Women I Love

Prudence Mears hath an old blue plate
Hid away in an oaken chest,
And a Franklin platter of ancient date
Beareth Amandy Baker's crest;
What times soever I've been their guest,
Says I to myself in an undertone:
"Of womenfolk, it must be confessed,
These do I love, and these alone."

Well, again, in the Nutmeg State,
Dorothy Pratt is richly blest
With a relic of art and a land effete--
A pitcher of glass that's cut, not pressed.
And a Washington teapot is possessed
Down in Pelham by Marthy Stone--
Think ye now that I say in jest
"These do I love, and these alone?"

Were Hepsy Higgins inclined to mate,
Or Dorcas Eastman prone to invest
In Cupid's bonds, they could find their fate
In the bootless bard of Crockery Quest.
For they've heaps of trumpery--so have the rest
Of those spinsters whose ware I'd like to own;
You can see why I say with such certain zest,
"These do I love, and these alone."

Last night the Stork came stalking,
And, Stork, beneath your wing
Lay, lapped in dreamless slumber,
The tiniest little thing!
From Babyland, out yonder
Beside a silver sea,
You brought a priceless treasure
As gift to mine and me!

Last night my dear one listened -
And, wife, you knew the cry -
The dear old Stork has sought our home
A many times gone by!
And in your gentle bosom
I found the pretty thing
That from the realm out yonder
Our friend the Stork did bring.

Last night a babe awakened,
And, babe, how strange and new
Must seem the home and people
The Stork has brought you to;
And yet methinks you like them -
You neither stare nor weep,
But closer to my dear one
You cuddle, and you sleep!

Last night my heart grew fonder -
0 happy heart of mine,
Sing of the inspirations
That round my pathway shine!
And sing your sweetest love-song
To this dear nestling wee
The Stork from 'Way-Out-Yonder
Hath brought to mine and me!

Over The Hills And Far Away

Over the hills and far away,
A little boy steals from his morning play
And under the blossoming apple-tree
He lies and he dreams of the things to be:
Of battles fought and of victories won,
Of wrongs o'erthrown and of great deeds done -
Of the valor that he shall prove some day,
Over the hills and far away -
Over the hills, and far away!

Over the hills and far away
It's, oh, for the toil the livelong day!
But it mattereth not to the soul aflame
With a love for riches and power and fame!
On, 0 man! while the sun is high -
On to the certain joys that lie
Yonder where blazeth the noon of day,
Over the hills and far away -
Over the hills, and far away!

Over the hills and far away,
An old man lingers at close of day;
Now that his journey is almost done,
His battles fought and his victories won -
The old-time honesty and truth,
The trustfulness and the friends of youth,
Home and mother-where are they?
Over the hills and far away -
Over the years, and far away!

On afternoons, when baby boy has had a splendid nap,
And sits, like any monarch on his throne, in nurse's lap,
In some such wise my handkerchief I hold before my face,
And cautiously and quietly I move about the place;
Then, with a cry, I suddenly expose my face to view,
And you should hear him laugh and crow when I say "Booh"!

Sometimes the rascal tries to make believe that he is scared,
And really, when I first began, he stared, and stared, and stared;
And then his under lip came out and farther out it came,
Till mamma and the nurse agreed it was a "cruel shame" -
But now what does that same wee, toddling, lisping baby do
But laugh and kick his little heels when I say "Booh!"

He laughs and kicks his little heels in rapturous glee, and then
In shrill, despotic treble bids me "do it all aden!"
And I - of course I do it; for, as his progenitor,
It is such pretty, pleasant play as this that I am for!
And it is, oh, such fun I and sure that we shall rue
The time when we are both too old to play the game "Booh!"

Aha! a traitor in the camp,
A rebel strangely bold,--
A lisping, laughing, toddling scamp,
Not more than four years old!

To think that I, who've ruled alone
So proudly in the past,
Should be ejected from my throne
By my own son at last!

He trots his treason to and fro,
As only babies can,
And says he'll be his mamma's beau
When he's a "gweat, big man"!

You stingy boy! you've always had
A share in mamma's heart;
Would you begrudge your poor old dad
The tiniest little part?

That mamma, I regret to see,
Inclines to take your part,--
As if a dual monarchy
Should rule her gentle heart!

But when the years of youth have sped,
The bearded man, I trow,
Will quite forget he ever said
He'd be his mamma's beau.

Renounce your treason, little son,
Leave mamma's heart to me;
For there will come another one
To claim your loyalty.

And when that other comes to you,
God grant her love may shine
Through all your life, as fair and true
As mamma's does through mine!

1885.

Old Spanish Song

I'm thinking of the wooing
That won my maiden heart
When he--he came pursuing
A love unused to art.
Into the drowsy river
The moon transported flung
Her soul that seemed to quiver
With the songs my lover sung.
And the stars in rapture twinkled
On the slumbrous world below--
You see that, old and wrinkled,
I'm not forgetful--no!

He still should be repeating
The vows he uttered then--
Alas! the years, though fleeting,
Are truer yet than men!
The summer moonlight glistens
In the favorite trysting spot
Where the river ever listens
For a song it heareth not.
And I, whose head is sprinkled
With time's benumbing snow,
I languish, old and wrinkled,
But not forgetful--no!

What though he elsewhere turneth
To beauty strangely bold?
Still in my bosom burneth
The tender fire of old;
And the words of love he told me
And the songs he sung me then
Come crowding to uphold me,
And I live my youth again!
For when love's feet have tinkled
On the pathway women go,
Though one be old and wrinkled,
She's not forgetful--no!

Shuffle-Shoon And Amber-Locks

Shuffle-Shoon and Amber-Locks
Sit together, building blocks;
Shuffle-Shoon is old and grey,
Amber-Locks a little child,
But together at their play
Age and Youth are reconciled,
And with sympathetic glee
Build their castles fair to see.
"When I grow to be a man"
(So the wee one's prattle ran),
"I shall build a castle so--
With a gateway broad and grand;
Here a pretty vine shall grow,
There a soldier guard shall stand;
And the tower shall be so high,
Folks will wonder, by-and-by!"
Shuffle-Shoon quoth: "Yes, I know;
Thus I builded long ago!
Here a gate and there a wall,
Here a window, there a door;
Here a steeple wondrous tall
Riseth ever more and more!
But the years have levelled low
What I builded long ago!"
So they gossip at their play,
Heedless of the fleeting day;
One speaks of the Long Ago
Where his dead hopes buried lie;
One with chubby cheeks aglow
Prattleth of the By-and-By;
Side by side, they build their blocks--
Shuffle-Shoon and Amber-Locks.

I once knew all the birds that came
And nested in our orchard trees;
For every flower I had a name--
My friends were woodchucks, toads, and bees;
I knew where thrived in yonder glen
What plants would soothe a stone-bruised toe--
Oh, I was very learned then;
But that was very long ago!

I knew the spot upon the hill
Where checkerberries could be found,
I knew the rushes near the mill
Where pickerel lay that weighed a pound!
I knew the wood,--the very tree
Where lived the poaching, saucy crow,
And all the woods and crows knew me--
But that was very long ago.

And pining for the joys of youth,
I tread the old familiar spot
Only to learn this solemn truth:
I have forgotten, am forgot.
Yet here's this youngster at my knee
Knows all the things I used to know;
To think I once was wise as he--
But that was very long ago.

I know it's folly to complain
Of whatsoe'er the Fates decree;
Yet were not wishes all in vain,
I tell you what my wish should be:
I'd wish to be a boy again,
Back with the friends I used to know;
For I was, oh! so happy then--
But that was very long ago!

A Drinking Song

Come, brothers, share the fellowship
We celebrate to-night;
There's grace of song on every lip
And every heart is light!
But first, before our mentor chimes
The hour of jubilee,
Let's drink a health to good old times,
And good times yet to be!
Clink, clink, clink!
Merrily let us drink!
There's store of wealth
And more of health
In every glass, we think.
Clink, clink, clink!
To fellowship we drink!
And from the bowl
No genial soul
In such an hour can shrink.

And you, oh, friends from west and east
And other foreign parts,
Come share the rapture of our feast,
The love of loyal hearts;
And in the wassail that suspends
All matters burthensome,
We 'll drink a health to good old friends
And good friends yet to come.
Clink, clink, clink!
To fellowship we drink!
And from the bowl
No genial soul
In such an hour will shrink.
Clink, clink, clink!
Merrily let us drink!
There's fellowship
In every sip
Of friendship's brew, we think.

Play that you are mother dear,
And play that papa is your beau;
Play that we sit in the corner here,
Just as we used to, long ago.
Playing so, we lovers two
Are just as happy as we can be,
And I'll say "I love you" to you,
And you say "I love you" to me!
"I love you" we both shall say,
All in earnest and all in play.

Or, play that you are that other one
That some time came, and went away;
And play that the light of years agone
Stole into my heart again to-day!
Playing that you are the one I knew
In the days that never again may be,
I'll say "I love you" to you,
And you say "I love you" to me!
I love you!" my heart shall say
To the ghost of the past come back to-day!

Or, play that you sought this nestling-place
For your own sweet self, with that dual guise
Of your pretty mother in your face
And the look of that other in your eyes!
So the dear old loves shall live anew
As I hold my darling on my knee,
And I'll say "I love you" to you,
And you say "I love you" to me!
Oh, many a strange, true thing we say
And do when we pretend to play!

To A Jar Of Wine

O gracious jar,--my friend, my twin,
Born at the time when I was born,--
Whether tomfoolery you inspire
Or animate with love's desire,
Or flame the soul with bitter scorn,
Or lull to sleep, O jar of mine!
Come from your place this festal day;
Corvinus hither wends his way,
And there's demand for wine!

Corvinus is the sort of man
Who dotes on tedious argument.
An advocate, his ponderous pate
Is full of Blackstone and of Kent;
Yet not insensible is he,
O genial Massic flood! to thee.
Why, even Cato used to take
A modest, surreptitious nip
At meal-times for his stomach's sake,
Or to forefend la grippe.

How dost thou melt the stoniest hearts,
And bare the cruel knave's design;
How through thy fascinating arts
We discount Hope, O gracious wine!
And passing rich the poor man feels
As through his veins thy affluence steals.

Now, prithee, make us frisk and sing,
And plot full many a naughty plot
With damsels fair--nor shall we care
Whether school keeps or not!
And whilst thy charms hold out to burn
We shall not deign to go to bed,
But we shall paint creation red;
So, fill, sweet wine, this friend of mine,--
My lawyer friend, as aforesaid.

To Mother Venus

O mother Venus, quit, I pray,
Your violent assailing!
The arts, forsooth, that fired my youth
At last are unavailing;
My blood runs cold, I'm getting old,
And all my powers are failing.

Speed thou upon thy white swans' wings,
And elsewhere deign to mellow
With thy soft arts the anguished hearts
Of swains that writhe and bellow;
And right away seek out, I pray,
Young Paullus,--he's your fellow!

You'll find young Paullus passing fair,
Modest, refined, and tony;
Go, now, incite the favored wight!
With Venus for a crony
He'll outshine all at feast and ball
And conversazione!

Then shall that godlike nose of thine
With perfumes be requited,
And then shall prance in Salian dance
The girls and boys delighted,
And while the lute blends with the flute
Shall tender loves be plighted.

But as for me, as you can see,
I'm getting old and spiteful.
I have no mind to female kind,
That once I deemed delightful;
No more brim up the festive cup
That sent me home at night full.

Why do I falter in my speech,
O cruel Ligurine?
Why do I chase from place to place
In weather wet and shiny?
Why down my nose forever flows
The tear that's cold and briny?

The Old Homestead

JEST as atween the awk'ard lines a hand we love has penn'd
Appears a meanin' hid from other eyes,
So, in your simple, homespun art, old honest Yankee friend,
A power o' tearful, sweet seggestion lies.
We see it all--the pictur' that our mem'ries hold so dear--
The homestead in New England far away,
An' the vision is so nat'ral-like we almost seem to hear
The voices that were heshed but yesterday.

Ah, who'd ha' thought the music of that distant childhood time
Would sleep through all the changeful, bitter years
To waken into melodies like Chris'mas bells a-chime
An' to claim the ready tribute of our tears!
Why, the robins in the maples an' the blackbirds round the pond,
The crickets an' the locusts in the leaves,
The brook that chased the trout adown the hillside just beyond,
An' the swallers in their nests beneath the eaves--
They all come troopin' back with you, dear Uncle Josh, to-day,
An' they seem to sing with all the joyous zest
Of the days when we were Yankee boys an' Yankee girls at play,
With nary thought of 'livin' way out West'!

God bless ye, Denman Thomps'n, for the good y' do our hearts,
With this music an' these memories o' youth--
God bless ye for the faculty that tops all human arts,
The good ol' Yankee faculty of Truth!

Good old days--dear old days
When my heart beat high and bold--
When the things of earth seemed full of life,
And the future a haze of gold!
Oh, merry was I that winter night,
And gleeful our little one's din,
And tender the grace of my darling's face
As we watched the new year in.
But a voice--a spectre's, that mocked at love--
Came out of the yonder hall;
'Tick-tock, tick-tock!' 't was the solemn clock
That ruefully croaked to all.
Yet what knew we of the griefs to be
In the year we longed to greet?
Love--love was the theme of the sweet, sweet dream
I fancied might never fleet!

But the spectre stood in that yonder gloom,
And these were the words it spake,
'Tick-tock, tick-tock'--and they seemed to mock
A heart about to break.

'T is new-year's eve, and again I watch
In the old familiar place,
And I'm thinking again of that old time when
I looked on a dear one's face.
Never a little one hugs my knee
And I hear no gleeful shout--
I am sitting alone by the old hearthstone,
Watching the old year out.
But I welcome the voice in yonder gloom
That solemnly calls to me:
'Tick-tock, tick-tock!'--for so the clock
Tells of a life to be;
'Tick-tock, tick-tock!'-'tis so the clock
Tells of eternity.

The Discreet Collector

Down south there is a curio-shop
Unknown to many men;
Thereat do I intend to stop
When I am south again;
The narrow street through which to go--
Aha! I know it well!
And may be you would like to know--
But no--I will not tell!

'T is there to find the loveliest plates
(The bluest of the blue!)
At such surprisingly low rates
You'd not believe it true!
And there is one Napoleon vase
Of dainty Sèvres to sell--
I'm sure you'd like to know that place--
But no--I will not tell!

Then, too, I know another shop
Has old, old beds for sale,
With lovely testers up on top
Carved in ornate detail;
And there are sideboards rich and rare,
With fronts that proudly swell--
Oh, there are bargains waiting there,
But where I will not tell!

And hark! I know a bottle-man
Smiling and debonair,
And he has promised me I can
Choose of his precious ware!
In age and shape and color, too,
His dainty goods excel--
Aha, my friends, if you but knew--
But no! I will not tell!

A thousand other shops I know
Where bargains can be got--
Where other folk would like to go
Who have what I have not.
I let them hunt; I hold my mouth--
Yes, though I know full well
Where lie the treasures of the south,
I'm not a going to tell!

The day is done; and, lo! the shades
Melt 'neath Diana's mellow grace.
Hark, how those deep, designing maids
Feign terror in this sylvan place!
Come, friends, it's time that we should go;
We're honest married folk, you know.

Was not the wine delicious cool
Whose sweetness Pyrrha's smile enhanced?
And by that clear Bandusian pool
How gayly Chloe sung and danced!
And Lydia Die,--aha, methinks
You'll not forget the saucy minx!

But, oh, the echoes of those songs
That soothed our cares and lulled our hearts!
Not to that age nor this belongs
The glory of what heaven-born arts
Speak with the old distinctive charm
From yonder humble Sabine farm!

The day is done. Now off to bed,
Lest by some rural ruse surprised,
And by those artful girls misled,
You two be sadly compromised.
_You_ go; perhaps _I_'d better stay
To shoo the giddy things away!

But sometime we shall meet again
Beside Digentia, cool and clear,--
You and we twain, old friend; and then
We'll have our fill of pagan cheer.
Then, could old Horace join us three,
How proud and happy he would be!

Or if we part to meet no more
This side the misty Stygian Sea,
Be sure of this: on yonder shore
Sweet cheer awaiteth such as we;
A Sabine pagan's heaven, O friend,--
The fellowship that knows no end!

My garden aboundeth in pleasant nooks
And fragrance is over it all;
For sweet is the smell of my old, old books
In their places against the wall.

Here is a folio that's grim with age
And yellow and green with mould;
There's the breath of the sea on every page
And the hint of a stanch ship's hold.

And here is a treasure from France la belle
Exhaleth a faint perfume
Of wedded lily and asphodel
In a garden of song abloom.

And this wee little book of Puritan mien
And rude, conspicuous print
Hath the Yankee flavor of wintergreen,
Or, may be, of peppermint.

In Walton the brooks a-babbling tell
Where the cheery daisy grows,
And where in meadow or woodland dwell
The buttercup and the rose.

But best beloved of books, I ween,
Are those which one perceives
Are hallowed by ashes dropped between
The yellow, well-thumbed leaves.

For it's here a laugh and it's there a tear,
Till the treasured book is read;
And the ashes betwixt the pages here
Tell us of one long dead.

But the gracious presence reappears
As we read the book again,
And the fragrance of precious, distant years
Filleth the hearts of men.

Come, pluck with me in my garden nooks
The posies that bloom for all;
Oh, sweet is the smell of my old, old books
In their places against the wall!

The Convalescent Gripster

The gods let slip that fiendish grip
Upon me last week Sunday--
No fiercer storm than racked my form
E'er swept the Bay of Fundy;
But now, good-by
To drugs, say I--
Good-by to gnawing sorrow;
I am up to-day,
And, whoop, hooray!
I'm going out to-morrow!

What aches and pain in bones and brain
I had I need not mention;
It seemed to me such pangs must be
Old Satan's own invention;
Albeit I
Was sure I'd die,
The doctor reassured me--
And, true enough,
With his vile stuff,
He ultimately cured me.

As there I lay in bed all day,
How fair outside looked to me!
A smile so mild old Nature smiled
It seemed to warm clean through me.
In chastened mood
The scene I viewed,
Inventing, sadly solus,
Fantastic rhymes
Between the times
I had to take a bolus.

Of quinine slugs and other drugs
I guess I took a million--
Such drugs as serve to set each nerve
To dancing a cotillon;
The doctors say
The only way
To rout the grip instanter
Is to pour in
All kinds of sin--
Similibus curantur!

'Twas hard; and yet I'll soon forget
Those ills and cures distressing;
One's future lies 'neath gorgeous skies
When one is convalescing!
So now, good-by
To drugs say I--
Good-by, thou phantom Sorrow!
I am up to-day,
And, whoop, hooray!
I'm going out to-morrow.

It's June ag'in, an' in my soul I feel the fillin' joy
That's sure to come this time o' year to every little boy;
For, every June, the Sunday-schools at picnics may be seen,
Where "fields beyont the swellin' floods stand dressed in livin' green";
Where little girls are skeered to death with spiders, bugs, and ants,
An' little boys get grass-stains on their go-to meetin' pants.
It's June ag'in, an' with it all what happiness is mine -
There's goin' to be a picnic, an' I'm goin' to jine!

One year I jined the Baptists, an' goodness! how it rained!
(But grampa says that that's the way "baptizo" is explained.)
And once I jined the 'Piscopils an' had a heap o' fun -
But the boss of all the picnics was the Presbyteriun!
They had so many puddin's, sallids, sandwidges, an' pies,
That a feller wisht his stummick was as hungry as his eyes!
Oh, yes, the eatin' Presbyteriuns give yer is so fine
That when they have a picnic, you bet I'm goin' to jine!

But at this time the Methodists have special claims on me,
For they're goin' to give a picnic on the 21st, D. V.;
Why should a liberal universalist like me object
To share the joys of fellowship with every friendly sect?
However het'rodox their articles of faith elsewise may be,
Their doctrine of fried chick'n is a savin' grace to me!
So on the 21st of June, the weather bein' fine,
They're goin' to give a picnic, and I'm goin' to jine!

The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
'T was half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t' other had slept a wink!
The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat.
(I wasn't there; I simply state
What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)

The gingham dog went "bow-wow-wow!"
And the calico cat replied "mee-ow!"
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,
While the old Dutch clock in the chimney place
Up with its hands before its face,
For it always dreaded a family row!
(Now mind: I'm only telling you
What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)

The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, "Oh, dear! what shall we do!"
But the gingham dog and the calico cat
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
Employing every tooth and claw
In the awfullest way you ever saw -
And, oh! how the gingham and calico flew!
(Don't fancy I exaggerate -
I got my news from the Chinese plate!)

Next morning, where the two had sat
They found no trace of dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole that pair away!
But the truth about the cat and pup
Is this: they ate each other up!
Now what do you really think of that!
(The old Dutch clock it told me so,
And that is how I came to know.)

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