All Love asks is a heart to stay in;
A brave, true heart to be glad and gay in;
A garden of tender thoughts to play in;
A faith unswerving through cold or heat
Till the heart where Love lodges forgets to beat.

The harvest moon in yellow haze
Is steeping all the sea and land,
Is kindling paths and shining ways
Around the hills, across the sand.

And there are only thou and I-
O sweetheart, I've no eyes to note
The glory of the sea and sky,
I see a softly rounded throat,

A face uplifted, pure and sweet,
Two blue eyes filled with trust and love;
Enough, the sea sings at our feet,
The harvest moon sails just above.

The throng about her did not know,
Her nearest friend could not surmise
Whence came the brightness and the glow,
The wondrous radiance of her eyes.

One said, half enviously: 'Your face
Is beautiful with gladness rare,
With that warm, generous heart of yours
Some precious secret you must share.'

Ah, true beneath the filmy lace
That rose and fell upon her breast,
Her first love-taken held its place-
From him, from him whom she loved best!

The girl's a slender thing and fair,
With dimpled cheek and eyes ashine;
The youth is tall, with bashful air.
Heigho! a fond and foolish pair-
The day is yours, St. Valentine.

He says: 'My heart will constant prove,
Since every beat of it is thine;
The sweetest joy of life is love.'
The birds are mating in the grove-
The day is yours, St. Valentine.

What matter that the wind blows chill
Through leafless tree and naked vine,
That snowdrifts linger on the hill,
When warm love makes the pulses thrill?
The day is yours, St. Valentine.

A Song Of Harvest Home

Praise God for blessings great and small,
For garden bloom and orchard store,
The crimson vine upon the wall,
The green and gold of maples tall,
For harvest-field and threshing-floor!

Praise God for children's laughter shrill,
For clinging hands and tender eyes,
For looks that lift and words that thrill,
For friends that love through good and ill,
For home, and all home's tender ties!

Praise God for losses and for gain,
For tears to shed, and songs to sing,
For gleams of gold and mists of rain,
For the year's full joy, the year's deep pain,
The grieving and the comforting!

A little child, she stood that far-off day,
When Love, the master-painter, took the brush
And on the wall of mem'ry dull and grey
Traced tender eyes, wide brow, and changing blush,
The gladness and the youth, the bending head
All covered over with its curls of gold,
The dimpled arms, the two hands filled with bread
To feed the little sparrows brown and bold
That flutter to her feet. It hangs there still,
Just as 'twas painted on that far-off day,
Nor faded is the blush upon the cheek,
The sweet lips hold their smiling and can thrill,
And still the eyes-so tender, and so meek-
Light up the walls of mem'ry dull and grey.

O the grave is a quiet place, my dear,
So still and so quiet by night and by day,
Reached by no sound either joyous or drear,
But keeping its silence alway, alway.
O the grave is a restful place, my dear,
Unvext by the weightiest loss or gain,
All the undone work of the speeding year
May beat at its portals in vain, in vain.
O the grave is a tender place, my dear,
The Love immortal, the faith, the trust,
The grace and the beauty, lie buried there,
So pure and so white in a robe of dust.
O the grave is a home-like place, my dear,
Where we all do gather when day is done,
Where the earth mother folds us close and near,
And the latch string waits for the laggard one.

'It is good-bye,' she said; 'the world is wide,
There's space for you and me to walk apart.
Though we have walked together side by side,
My thoughts all yours, my resting-place your heart,
We now will go our different ways. Forget
The happy past. I would not have you keep
One thought of me. Ah, yes, my eyes are wet;
My love is great, my grief must needs be deep.

'Yet I have strength to look at you, and say:
Forget it all, forget our souls were stirred,
Forget the sweetness of each dear, dead day,
The warm, impassioned kiss, the tender word,
The clinging handclasp, and the love-filled eyes-
Forget all these; but, when we walk apart
Remember this, though wilful and unwise,
No word of mine did ever hurt your heart.'

A Prayer Of Love

A prayer of love, O Father!
A fair and flowery way
Life stretches out before these
On this their marriage day.
O pour Thy choicest blessing,
Withhold no gift of Thine,
Fill all their world with beauty
And tenderness divine!

A prayer of love, O Father!
This holy love and pure,
That thrills the soul to rapture,
O may it e'er endure!
The richest of earth's treasures,
The gold without alloy,
The flower of faith unfading,
The full, the perfect joy!

No mist of tears or doubting,
But in their steadfast eyes
The light divine, the light of love,
The light of Paradise.
A prayer of love, O Father!
A prayer of love to Thee,
God's best be theirs for life, for death,
And all Eternity!

One lesson let us bear in mind-
Be very gentle with our own,
Be to their faults a little blind,
Nor wound them by a look or tone.

Put self behind! turn tender eyes;
Keep back the words that hurt and sting;
We learn, when sorrow makes us wise,
Forbearance is the grandest thing.

Be patient lest some day we turn
Our eyes on loved one fast asleep,
And whisper, as we lean and yearn,
'How often I have made you weep!

'Some loved you not and words let fall
That must have pierced your gentle breast,
But I, who loved you best of all,
Hurt you far more than all the rest.'

One lesson let us keep in mind-
To hold our dear ones close and fast,
Since loyal hearts are hard to find,
And life and love so soon are past.

I cannot echo the old wish to die at morn, as darkness strays!
We have been glad together greeting some new-born radiant days,
The earth would hold me, every day familiar things
Would weigh me fast,
The stir, the touch of morn, the bird that on swift wings
Goes flitting past.
Some flower would lift to me its tender tear-wet face, and send its breath
To whisper of the earth, its beauty and its grace,
And combat death.
It would be light, and I would see in thy dear eyes
The sorrow grow.
Love, could I lift my own, undimmed, to paradise
And leave thee so!
A thousand cords would hold me down to this low sphere,
When thou didst grieve;
Ah! should death come upon morn's rosy breast, I fear
I'd crave reprieve.
But when, her gold all spent, the sad day takes her flight,
When shadows creep,
Then just to put my hand in thine and say, 'Good-night,'
And fall asleep.

From the little bald head to the two little feet,
You are winsome, and bonnie, and tender, and sweet,
But not for this do I love you.

You're wilful, cajoling, not fond of restraint,
A creature of moods-no tiresome saint-
You're wise and you're wistful, and oh, you are quaint,
But not for this do I love you.

You're a rose of a maiden, the pink and the white
Of your face is to me a rare thing of delight,
But not for this do I love you.

That 'agoo' on your lips is the tenderest thing,
And the eyes smiling at me, ye bonnie wee thing,
Are violets washed with the dewdrops of spring,
But not for this do I love you.

Come, nestle down close on my bosom, you dear,
The secret I'll whisper right into your ear,
Because you are you do I love you,

Because you are you, just you, oh, my own,
Because you are Lesley, this reason alone
Will do for us, darling, until you are grown,
Because you are you do I love you.

Your presence is a psalm of praise,
And as its measure grandly rings
God's finger finds my heart and plays
A te deum upon its strings.
I never see you but I feel
That I in gratitude must kneel.

Your head down-bent, the brow of snow
Crowned with the shining braids of hair,
To me, because I love you so,
Is in itself a tender prayer,
All faith, all meekness, and all trust-
'Amen!' I cry, because I must.

Your clear eyes hold the text apart,
And shame my love of place and pelf
With, 'Love the Lord with all thine heart,
And love thy neighbor as thyself!'
Dear eyes and true,-I sorely need
More knowledge of your gracious creed.

About your lips the summer lies-
Who runs may read each subtle lure
To draw me nearer to the skies,
And make me strong, and keep me pure.
I loathe my worldliness and guile
Each time your red lips on me smile.

The benediction of your face-
Your lifted face-doth make a road
For white-robed peace and golden grace
To reach my heart and take its load.
Dear woman saint, I bow the knee,
And give God thanks for love and thee!

'O last days of the year!' she whispered low,
'You fly too swiftly past. Ah, you might stay
A while, a little while. Do you not know
What tender things you bear with you away?

'I'm thinking, sitting in the soft gloom here,
Of all the riches that were mine the day
There crept down on the world the soft New Year,
A rosy thing with promise filled, and gay.

'But twelve short months ago! a little space
In which to lose so much-a whole life's wealth
Of love and faith, youth and youth's tender grace-
Things that are wont to go from us by stealth.

'Laughter and blushes, and the rapture strong,
The clasp of clinging hands, the ling'ring kiss,
The joy of living, and the glorious song
That drew its sweetness from a full heart's bliss.

'O wealth of tenderness! O gladness great!
That crowned me, covered me a year ago!
A bankrupt, I-gone faith, gone warm caress
Gone love, gone youth, gone all!'
She whispered low.

'Oh, last days of the year, you take away
The riches that I held so close and dear.
Go not so swiftly, stay a little, stay
With one poor bankrupt,
Last days of the year.'

Archibald Lampman

You sing of winter gray and chill,
Of silent stream and frozen lake,
Of naked woods, and winds that wake
To shriek and sob o'er vale and hill.

And straight we breathe the bracing air,
And see stretched out before our eyes
A white world spanned by brooding skies,
And snowflakes drifting everywhere.

You sing of tender things and sweet,
Of field, of brook, of flower, of bush,
The lilt of bird, the sunset flush,
The scarlet poppies in the wheat.

Until we feel the gleam and glow
Of summer pulsing through our veins,
And hear the patter of the rains,
And watch the green things sprout and grow.

You sing of joy, and we do mark
How glad a thing is life, and dear;
Of sorrow, and we seem to hear
The sound of sobbing in the dark.

The subtle power to sway and move,
The stamp of genius strong and true,
This, friend, was heaven's gift to you,
This made you great and won you love.

Your song goes ringing clear and sweet-
Though on earth's bosom, bare and brown,
All willingly you laid you down,
The music is not incomplete.

Sleep on, it is not by the years
We measure life when all is done;
Your rest is earned, your laurels won;
Sleep, softly sleep, we say with tears.

So still you sleep upon your bed,
So motionless and slender,
It cannot be that you are dead,
My maiden gay and tender!

You were no creature pale and meek
That death should hasten after,
The dimples played within your cheek,
Your lips were made for laughter.

To you the great world was a place
That care might never stay in,
A playground built by God's good grace
For glad young folks to play in.

You made your footpath by life's flowers,
O happy, care-free maiden!
The sky was full of shine and showers,
The wind was perfume laden.

Your dimpled hands are folded now
Upon your snowy bosom,
The dark hair nestles on your brow-
O tender, broken blossom!

The white lids hide your eyes so clear,
So mirthful, so beguiling,
But as my tears fall on you, dear,
Your lips seem softly smiling.

And do you feel that it is home,
The city far above us?
And were they glad to have you come?
And will you cease to love us?

Methinks when you stand all in white
To learn each sweet new duty,
Some eye will note, with keen delight,
Your radiance and beauty.

And when your laughter softly rings
Out where God's streets do glisten,
The angels fair will fold their wings
And still their song to listen.

For He Was Scotch, And So Was She

THEY were a couple well content
With what they earned and what they spent,
Cared not a whit for style's decree–
For he was Scotch, and so was she.

And oh, they loved to talk of Burns–
Dear blithesome, tender Bobby Burns!
They never wearied of his song,
He never sang a note too strong.
One little fault could neither see–
For he was Scotch, and so was she.

They loved to read of men who stood
And gave for country life and blood,
Who held their faith so grand a thing
They scorned to yield it to a king.
Ah, proud of such they well might be–
For he was Scotch, and so was she.

From neighbours' broils they kept away;
No liking for such things had they,
And oh, each had a canny mind,
And could be deaf, and dumb, and blind.
With words or pence was neither free–
For he was Scotch, and so was she.

I would not have you think this pair
Went on in weather always fair,
For well you know in married life
Will come, sometimes, the jar and strife;
They couldn't always just agree–
For he was Scotch, and so was she.

But near of heart they ever kept,
Until at close of life they slept;
Just this to say when all was past,
They loved each other to the last.
They're loving yet, in heaven, maybe–
For he was Scotch, and so was she.

The Golden Rule-the blessed creed
That shelters frail humanity,
The tender thought for those in need,
The charity of word and deed,
Without which all is vanity-

This, friend, you made your very own,
And yours the satisfying part
To pluck the rose of love full blown,
To reap the gladness you had sown
With open hand and kindly heart.

Simplicity, the jewel rare,
Whose gleam is ever true and warm-
That thing of worth beyond compare
Which none but truly great may wear-
Adorned your life with power and charm.

Yours the sincerity that grips
Fast hold of natures strong and wise;
It thrilled you to your finger-tips,
It set its seal on brow and lips,
And shone within your dark, true eyes.

The throng knew not how rich the store
Of sympathy and trust you had;
Knew not you were, till life was o'er,
God's almoner among His poor,
God's comforter to sick and sad.

Too soon you went-we miss the cheer,
The kindliness vouchsafed to all;
The world seems strangely lone and drear
When one whom many hearts hold dear
Fares heavenward ere the shadows fall.

Too soon you went, and yet, maybe,
Your work well done, your task complete,
The soul of you turned longingly
Toward gates of pearl and jasper sea
And fields of Eden rarely sweet.

Forgive And Forget

I'll tell you the sweetest thing, dear heart,
I'll tell you the sweetest thing-
'Tis saying to one that we love: 'Forgive
The careless words and the sting;
Forgive and forget, and be friends once more,
For the world is an empty place
Without the light of your warm, true eyes,
And the smile of your tender face.'

O the kissing and making up again,
And the tender whispering!
I'll tell you the sweetest thing, dear heart,
I'll tell you the sweetest thing.

I'll tell you the saddest thing, dear heart,
I'll tell you the saddest thing:
'Tis coming to one that we love full well,
Some tender message to bring.
And loitering, loitering, by the way-
Held back by a foolish pride-
Till it's all too late to say 'Forgive!'
When at length we reach her side.

For the ears are heavy and cannot hear,
And the chill lips cannot move
To whisper 'Peace,' though our hearts may break
With longing, and pain, and love,

O this coming too late with our tenderness!
O the passionate tears that spring!
I'll tell you the saddest thing, dear heart,
I'll tell you the saddest thing!

Then let us make haste to be friends again,
Make haste to fold to our breast
The one we have hurt by word and deed,
Though we loved that one the best.
'Forgive and forget! Forgive and forget!'
O warm in the tear-wet eyes
Is the glow and the gleam of a golden light
From the shores of Paradise.

O the kissing and making up again,
And the tender whispering!
I'll tell you the sweetest thing, dear heart,
I'll tell you the sweetest thing.

I was the slyest boy at home,
The slyest boy at school,
I wanted all the world to know
That I was no one's fool.

I kept my childish hopes and schemes
Locked closely in my breast,
No single secret shared with Bob,
The chum I liked the best.

I never showed my squirrel's nest,
Nor beaver dam, nor cave,
Nor fortress where I used to go
To be a soldier brave.

Oh, I was sly, just awful sly,
In winter, summer, spring,
While Bob would tell me all he knew,
I never told a thing.

And yet Bob always got ahead;
I'd find the careless knave
Asleep within my fortress walls,
And fishing in my cave.

'What, yours!' he said, in great surprise,
'You should have told me so.
You never said a word, old chum,
And how was I to know?'

My slyness hurt more than it helped;
If Bob had known, you see,
He was too kind to do his best
To get ahead of me.

I still was sly when I grew up.
I fell in love with Nan,
But scorned to own it to myself
Or any other man.

So sly was I, Nan never guessed-
No more did handsome Bob-
That every time she looked my way
My heart, it stirred and throbbed.

The same old story! Ere I knew,
My chum had loved and won.
When I explained I'd picked her out
To be my very own,

'What, yours!' he said in great surprise,
'You should have told me so.
You never said a word, old chum,
And how was I to know?'

I've learned my lesson, lost my girl;
You'll own 'tis rather rough.
Henceforward I'll not be too sly-
I'll be just sly enough.

All On An April Morning

The teacher was wise and learned, I wis,
All nonsense she held in scorning,
But you never can tell what the primmest miss
Will do of a bright spring morning.

What this one did was to spread a snare
For feet of a youth unheeding,
As March, with a meek and lamb-like air,
To its very last hour was speeding.

Oh, he was the dullard of his class,
For how can a youth get learning
With his eyes aye fixed on a pretty lass
And his heart aye filled with yearning?

'Who finds 'mong the rushes which fringe a pool,'
She told him, 'the first wind blossom,
May wish what he will'-poor April fool,
With but one wish in his bosom.

Her gray eyes danced-on a wild-goose chase
He'd sally forth on the morrow,
And, later, she'd laugh in his sombre face,
And jest at his words of sorrow.

But penitence and a troubled mind
Were fruits of the night's reflection;
After all, he was simple, and strong, and kind-
'Twas wrong to flout his affection.

They met on the hill as she walked to school;
He said, unheeding her blushes,
'Here's the early flower your April fool
Found growing among the rushes.

'Take it or leave it as you will'-
His voice ringing out so clearly
Awoke in her heart a happy thrill-
'You know that I love you dearly.'

Day-dreams indulged as she taught the school
Held lovers kneeling and suing;
'Take it or leave it'-her April fool
Was masterful in his wooing.

He gave her the flower-she gave him a kiss-
His suit she had long been scorning;
But you never can tell what the primmest miss
Will do of a bright spring morning.

Low in the ivy-covered church she kneeled,
The sunshine falling on her golden hair;
The moaning of a soul with hurt unhealed
Was her low-breathed and broken cry of prayer.

'Thy wounded hand, dear Christ, Thy wounded hand!
I pray Thee, lay it on this heart of mine-
This heart so sick with grief it cannot stand
Aught heavier than this tender touch of Thine.

'Thy wounded hand, dear Christ, O let it press
Here, where the hurt is hardest, where the pain
Throbs fiercest, and the utter emptiness
Mocks at glad memories and longings vain!

'Thy wounded hand, dear Christ, who long ago
Slept by Thy mother's side in Bethlehem!
Think of her cradling arms, her love-song low,
And pity me when Thou dost think of them.

'My baby girl, my pretty dear, I miss
Morning and noon and night-her ways so wise,
The patting of her soft, warm hands, the kiss,
The cooing voice, the sunshine of her eyes.

'I sleep, and dream she nestles close, my own,
Her red mouth on my breast; I wake and cry.
She sleeps out yonder in the dark, alone-
My arms are empty and my bosom dry.

'Thy wounded hand, dear Christ, will surely bring
Healing for this great anguish that I bear!
A nursing babe, a little dimpled thing,
God might have left her to her mother's care!

'Thy wounded hand, dear Christ, O let me feel
Its touch to-day, and past all doubting prove
Thou hast not lost Thine ancient power to heal-
Press out the bitterness, fill up with love!

'O Babe that in the manger rude did sleep!
O Prince of Peace, Thy tender wounded palm
Still holds the oil of joy for those that weep!
Still holds the comforting, the Gilead's balm!'

Friend, mark these muscles; mine's a frame
Born, grown, and fitted for the toil.
My father, tiller of the soil,
Bequeathed them to me with my name.

Fear work? Nay, many times and oft
Upon my brow the sweat-bead stands,
And these two brown and sinewy hands,
Methinks, were never white or soft.

I earn my bread and know its worth,
Through days that chill and days that warm,
I wrest it with my strong right arm
From out the bosom of the earth.

The moneyed man may boast his wealth,
The high-born boast his pedigree,
But greater far, it seems to me,
My heritage of brawn and health.

My sinews strong, my sturdy frame,
My independence free and bold-
Mine is the richest dower, I hold,
And ploughman is a noble name.

Nor think me all uncouth and rough,
For, as I turn the furrows o'er,
Far clearer than the threshing-floor
I see the tender growing stuff.

A lab'rer, I, the long day through;
The lonely stretch of field and wood
Seem pleasant things to me, and good;
The river sings, the heaven's blue

Bends down so near the sun-crowned hill-
Thank God, I have the eyes to see
The beauty and the majesty
Of Nature, and the heart to thrill

At crimson sunset, dawn's soft flush,
The fields of gold that stretch afar,
The glimmer of the first pale star
That heralds in the evening's hush.

They lie who say that labor makes
A brute thing, an insensate clod,
Of man, the masterpiece of God;
They lie who say that labor takes

All from us save the lust of pelf,
Dulls eye, and ear, and soul, and mind,
For no man need be deaf or blind
Unless he wills it so himself.

This life I live's a goodly thing-
My soul keeps tune to one glad song
The while I turn the furrows long-
A ploughman happy as a king.

The Imprisoned Lark

Did you send your song to the gates of gold
In the days of long ago?
A song of sweetness and gladness untold,
Till fain was my lady to have and to hold-
Ah! my lady did not know.

'Tis love and joy make the soul of a song,
If we only understood.
Can each strain be tender, and true, and strong,
When the days stretch out so weary and long,
Dear little bird of the wood?

The sun came so boldly into your cell-
'Tis the springtime, pretty bird-
And full sweet the story he had to tell
Of doings in meadow and wood and dell,
Till your longing grew and stirred.

This cage of my lady's has silver bars,
And my lady's voice is mild,
But oh, to sail 'twixt the earth and stars,
Forget the hurt of the prison bars
In the gladness of freedom wild!

To soar and circle o'er shadowy glade
Where dewdrops hide from the sun!
O fields where the blossoming clover swayed!
O voices familiar that music made
Till the full, glad day was done!

Ah, then you sang, little bird of the wood,
And you stilled the laughing throng.
To make passionate longing understood
You took the height and depth of your mood
And flung them into a song!

These guests of my lady's did listen, I know,
When out through the silver bars
You sent forth a measure, liquid and low
As laughter of waters that ebb and flow
Under the shimmering stars.

You sang of the sweetest, gladdest, and best
Your longing heart held in store,
Till into the careless listener's breast
There flashed a sudden and vague unrest,
That grew into something more.

Eyes saw for a few brief moments' space
The heights that were never trod,
And, seeing, grew dim for the swift, bold race
That was planned in the hours when youth and grace
Came fresh from the hand of God.

Only a homesick bird of the field
Trilling a glorious note!
Only a homesick bird of the wood
With heaven in your full throat!

O the frozen valley and frozen hill make a coffin wide and deep,
And the dead river lies, all its laughter stilled within it, fast asleep.

The trees that have played with the merry thing, and freighted its breast with leaves,
Give never a murmur or sigh of woe-they are dead-no dead thing grieves.

No carol of love from a song-bird's throat; the world lies naked and still,
For all things tender, and all things sweet, have been touched by the gruesome chill.

Not a flower-a blue forget-me-not, a wild rose, or jasmine soft-
To lay its bloom on the dead river's lips, that have kissed them all so oft.

But look! a ladder is spanning the space 'twixt earth and the sky beyond,
A ladder of gold for the Maid of Grace-the strong, the subtle, the fond!

Spring, with the warmth in her footsteps light, and the breeze and the fragrant breath,
Is coming to press her radiant face to that which is cold in death.

Spring, with a mantle made of the gold held close in a sunbeam's heart
Thrown over her shoulders bonnie and bare-see the sap in the great trees start!

Where the hem of this flowing garment trails, see the glow, the color bright,
A stirring and spreading of something fair-the dawn is chasing the night!

Spring, with all love and all dear delights pulsing in every vein,
The old earth knows her, and thrills to her touch, as she claims her own again.

Spring, with the hyacinths filling her lap and violet seeds in her hair,
With the crocus hiding its satin head in her bosom warm and fair;

Spring, with the daffodils at her feet and pansies abloom in her eyes,
Spring, with enough of God in herself to make the dead to arise!

For see, as she bends o'er the coffin deep-the frozen valley and hill-
The dead river stirs,-ah, that ling'ring kiss is making its heart to thrill!

And then as she closer and closer leans, it slips from its snowy shroud,
Frightened a moment, then rushing away, calling and laughing aloud!

The hill where she rested is all abloom, the wood is green as of old,
And wakened birds are striving to send their songs to the Gates of Gold.

They're praying for the soldier lads in grim old London town;
Last night I went, myself, and heard a bishop in his gown
Confiding to the Lord of Hosts his views of this affair.
'We do petition Thee,' he said, 'to have a watchful care
Of all the stalwart men and strong who at their country's call
Went sailing off to Africa to fight, perchance to fall!'
'Amen!' a thousand voices cried. I whispered low: 'Dear Lord,
A host is praying for the men, I want to say a word
For those who stay at home and wait-the mothers and the wives.
Keep close to them and help them bear their cheerless, empty lives!'

The Bishop prayed: 'Our cause is good, our quarrel right and just;
The God of battles is our God, and in His arm we trust.'
He never got that prayer of his in any printed book,
It came straight from the heart of him, his deep voice, how it shook!
And something glistened in his eye and down his flushed cheek ran.
I like a Bishop best of all when he is just a man.

'Amen!' they cried out louder still, but I bent low my head;
'Dear Christ, be kind to hearts that break for loved ones dying-dead;
Keep close to women folk who wait beset with anxious fears,
The wan-faced watchers whose dim eyes are filled with bitter tears!
I know, dear Christ, how hard it is,' I whispered as I kneeled,
'For long ago my bonnie boy fell on the battlefield.
Find comfort for the broken hearts of those weighed down to-day
With love and longing for the ones in danger far away.'

'They will not shrink,' the Bishop prayed, 'nor fear a soldier's grave;
Nay, each man will acquit himself like Briton true and brave.
God of battles, march with them, keep guard by day and night,
And arm them with a trust in Thee when they go up to fight!'

'Amen!' a sound of muffled sobs. The deep voice trembled some,
But I, with hot tears on my face, prayed hard for those at home:
'Keep watch and ward of all that wait in fever of unrest,
Who said good-bye and let them go, the ones they loved the best!
O comfort, Christ! Above the din of martial clamor, hark!
The saddest sound in all God's world-a crying in the dark.'

When The Dusk Comes Down

Do you know what I will love best of all
To do when I'm old? At the close of day
When the dusk comes down and the shadows play,
And the wind sings loud in the poplars tall,
I will love to get into my corner here-
The curtains drawn, and never a one
To break the stillness-to sit here alone
And dream of these good old times, my dear.

In fancy you'll come and sit by my side-
I can see your face with my eyes close shut,
With the pride and the softness clearly cut,
The obstinate chin and the forehead wide,
The oval cheek and the smile so warm,
The dark eyes full of their fun and power,
With the tender light for the tender hour,
And the flash of fire that was half their charm.

I'll whisper: 'Twas sweet when youth was our own-
The laughter, the nonsense, the freedom from care,
The castles we built high up in the air,
The secrets told to each other alone!
Not all of laughter; the world went wrong,
And the shadows pressed till my heart was sore.
I'll never be glad, I said, any more,
Never be happy, or gay, or strong.

O the sweetest thing in the hour of pain
Is to have one near us who understands,
To touch us gently and hold our hands,
Till our strength and courage come back again.
At love's swift pace you hurried to me-
Your tender words they will ring in my ears
When I sit and dream after long, long years-
The shine in your eyes through the mists I'll see.

Our lives will be lying so far apart,
And time, no doubt, will have given us much
Of weary wisdom; put many a touch
Of his withering hand on face and heart.
But I know what I will love best of all
To do at the end of the busy day,
When the dusk comes down and the shadows play,
And the wind sings low in the poplars tall.

I will love to get into my corner here,
With the curtains drawn, and never a one
To break the stillness-to sit here alone
And dream of these happy days, my dear,
And take my treasures from memory's hold-
The tears, the laughter, the songs that were sung-
O the friends we love when the heart is young
Are the friends we love when the heart grows old!

An April Fool Of Long Ago

In powdered wig and buckled shoe,
Knee-breeches, coat and waistcoat gay,
The wealthy squire rode forth to woo
Upon a first of April day.

He would forget his lofty birth,
His spreading acres, and his pride,
And Betty, fairest maid on earth,
Should be his own-his grateful bride.

The maid was young, and he was old;
The maid was good to look upon.
Naught cared she for his land or gold,
Her love was for the good squire's son.

He found her as the noonday hush
Lay on the world, and called her name.
She looked up, conscious, and her blush
A tender interest did proclaim.

For he was Hubert's sire, and she
To keep a secret tryst did go.
He said: 'Methinks she cares for me'-
That April fool of long ago.

The flattered squire his suit did press
Without delay. 'Say, wilt thou come,'
He said, with pompous tenderness,
'And share my wealth and grace my home?'

'Kind sir,' the lovely Betty cried,
'I'm but a lass of low degree.'
'The love that is controlled by pride
Is not true love at all,' quoth he.

'I hold a man should woo and wed
Where'er he wills-should please himself.'
'There is the barrier strong,' she said,
'Of pedigree, and place, and pelf.

'Could one so lowly hope to grace
Your home?' Right proud his air and tone:
'You're pure of heart and fair of face;
Dear Betty, you would grace a throne!'

'Since you so highly think of me'-
Her tears and laughter were at strife-
'You will not mind so much, maybe,
That I am Hubert's promised wife.'

Pale went the good squire's florid cheek,
His wrath flamed out-but Betty stood,
Brown-haired, red-lipped, blue-eyed and meek,
A sight to make a bad man good.

She won on him. 'But why this guile-
This secrecy?' His voice was rough.
'We feared,' she whispered, with a smile,
'You would not think me good enough.'

'An April fool am I. Come, come-
My offer stands. As Hubert's wife,'
He laughed, 'you'll share my wealth and home
And brighten up a lonely life.'

He kissed her cheek and rode away.
Unbroken was his heart, I wist,
For he was thinking of a day-
A day back in youth's rosy mist-

And of a form and of a face.
'My dear, dead love,' he whispered low,
The while he rode at sober pace,
That April fool of long ago.

Earth To The Twentieth Century

You cannot take from out my heart the growing,
The green, sweet growing, and the vivid thrill.
'O Earth,' you cry, 'you should be old, not glowing
With youth and all youth's strength and beauty still!'

Old, and the new hopes stirring in my bosom!
Old, and my children drawing life from me!
Old, in my womb the tender bud and blossom!
Old, steeped in richness and fertility!

Old, while the growing things call to each other,
In language I alone can understand:
'How she doth nourish us, this wondrous mother
Who is so beautiful and strong and grand!'

Old, while the wild things of the forest hide them
In my gray coverts, which no eye can trace!
Hunted or hurt, 'tis my task to provide them
Healing and soothing and a hiding place.

And then, my human children, could you listen
To secrets whispered in the stillness deep
Of noonday, or when night-dews fall and glisten-
'Tis on my bosom that men laugh and weep.

Some tell me moving tales of love and passion,
Of gladness all too great to be pent in-
The sweet, old theme which does not change its fashion-
Another cries out brokenly of sin.

While others filled with sorrow, fain to share it,
Hide tear-wet faces on my soft brown breast,
Sobbing: 'Dear Mother Earth, we cannot bear it,
Grim death has stolen all that we loved best!'

The old familiar cry of loss and sorrow
I hear to-day-I heard it yesterday-
Ay, and will hear in every glad to-morrow
That ye may bring to me, O Century.

I answer mourner, penitent, and lover,
With quick'ning stir, with bud and leaf and sap:
'Peace, peace,' I say, 'when life's brief day is over
Ye shall sleep soundly in your mother's lap.'

The loss, the longing of mankind I'm sharing,
The hopes, the joys, the laughter and the tears,
And yet you think I should be old, uncaring,
The barren, worn-out plaything of the years!

Past centuries have not trodden out my greenness
With all their marches, as you well can see,
Nor will you bring me withered age or leanness.
March on-what are your hundred years to me

While life and growth within me glow and flourish,
While in the sunshine and the falling rain
I, the great Mother, do bring forth and nourish
The springtime blossom and the harvest grain?

March on, O Century, I am safe holden
In God's right hand, the garner-house of truth-
The hand that holds the treasure rare and golden
Of life, and sweetness, and eternal youth!

Love's Sacrifice

'And behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment and stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head.'

The eyes He turned on her who kneeling wept
Were filled with tenderness and pity rare;
But looking on the Pharisee, there crept
A sorrow and a hint of sternness there.

'Simon, I have somewhat to say to thee,'
The Master's voice rang clearly out, and stirred,
With its new note of full authority,
The list'ning throng, who pressed to catch each word.

'Master, say on,' self-righteous Simon said,
And muttered in his beard, 'A sinner, she!'
Marvelling the while that on the drooping head
The hand of Jesus rested tenderly.

'Seest thou this woman, Simon?' Scornful eyes
Did Simon bend upon the woman's face,
The while the breath of love's sweet sacrifice
Rose from the broken box and filled the place.

Self-righteousness, the slimy thing that grows
Upon a fellow-creature's frailty,
That waxes fat on shame of ruined lives,
Swelled in the bosom of the Pharisee.

'Into thine house I came at thy request,
Weary with travel, and thou gavest not
To me the service due the humblest guest,
No towel, no water clear and cold was brought

'To wash my feet; but she, whom you despise,
Out of the great affection she doth bear
Hath made a basin of her woman's eyes,
A towel of her woman's wealth of hair.

'Thou gavest me no kiss'-O Simon, shame,
Thus coldly and unlovingly to greet
The Prince of Peace!-'but ever since I came
This woman hath not ceased to kiss my feet.

'He loveth most who hath been most forgiven.'
O Simon, hearken, learn the great truth well,
No soul on faith's glad wings mounts nearer heaven
Than that which hath been prisoned deep in hell.

Methinks I hear her say: 'Thou who forgivest
My many sins, this off'ring, sweet of breath,
I pour on Thee, dear Lord, while yet thou liv'st,
For love is ever swift to outrun death.'

Upon her are the eyes of Jesus turned,
With gaze which seems to strengthen and to bless.
Who knows how long the soul of Him hath yearned
For some such token of rare tenderness?

The flush of shame flaunts red on Simon's cheeks,
About the table idle babblings cease,
A deep, full silence, then the Master speaks:
'Thy faith hath saved thee, go in peace-in peace.'

As 'Peace on earth!' the glad world sings one glorious Christmas morn,
'Peace, peace on earth! Good-will to men! Peace, peace! the Christ is born!'
As through the courts, the wondrous courts, of heaven hosannas ring,
As harpers strike their harps of gold and 'Glory! Glory!' sing,
Upon the City's threshold fair
A woman steps, and lingers there.

The eyes she turns on Peter's face with unshed tears are dim,
'Tell Christ,' she says, 'a mother waits who fain would speak with Him.'
Through all the music, far above the highest, grandest note
Of triumph, and of joy and praise, her soft voice seems to float;
And hearing it, straight from His throne
Comes down to her the Kingly One
With shining face and eyes that hold
Such wealth of love and peace,
She feels her trembling heart grow bold,
Her doubt and grieving cease.
'Dear Lord!' she cries, and lowly kneels, 'I have a prayer to make;
O do Thou hear and answer it for Thine own mercy's sake,
Since heaven will not seem fair to me
If one dear face I may not see.

'Dear Christ, a mother's love is great
To shield, to guide, to watch, to wait.
The last kiss that I gave on earth was to my wayward son,
Whose soul, though deeply stainèd by sin, may yet by love be won
To penitence, to higher walk, to purer, holier way;
O wilt Thou let me to go to him and guard him night and day?

'Thou wert a babe in Bethlehem, a mother guarded Thee.
I pray Thee now, for her dear sake, to hearken unto me!
Remember how she held Thee close, and crooned Thee, sweet and low,
The lullabies that mothers sang long centuries ago,
And bared her snowy breast to Thee,
And stroked Thy forehead tenderly.

'And kissed Thee oft, and told herself, again and yet again,
To hold Thee thus one hour outweighed the travail and the pain!
Dear Christ, this city is most fair; its glories thrill and move;
O doth it grieve Thee that my heart cleaves to an earthly love?
That on mine eyes heaven's beauties dim
Because my heart is back with him?

'With him-the wandering son of mine, the wayward one-whose need
Of patient love and guiding hand is very great indeed!
Think not I love Thee not, dear Lord, nor long for heaven's rest;
'Tis only that the mother-heart throbs fiercely in my breast.
On this glad morning of Thy birth,
O grant me leave to visit earth!'

Lo! on her head she feels the touch of tender wounded hand,
'Fear not,' she hears, 'a love like thine the Christ can understand.
No mother prays in vain to Me on this day of the year,
For when the faltering words she speaks fall on My waiting ear,
I do remember that My cheek
Lay on a bosom warm,
I do remember Bethlehem,
And Mary's cradling arm.'

As Good As A Girl

Oh, a big broad-shouldered fellow was Ben,
And homely as you would see,
Such an awkward walker and stammering talker,
And as bashful as he could be.

The son of a lone, widowed mother was he,
And right well did he act his part,
A giant at sowing and reaping and mowing-
His farm was the pride of his heart.

His mother depended on his strong arm;
In the cottage so neat and trim
He kept the fires burning, did sweeping and churning-
Oh, the odd jobs saved up for him!

'My Ben's a comfort,' she said every day,
With pride that made his head whirl,
'As handy at sweeping as he is at reaping-
Ben is just as good as a girl!'

'A six-foot fellow to work round the house!
We'll call him 'Miss Ben,'' said the girls;
But Ben, heaven bless him, never let this distress him
Till there came a day when the curls

And blue eyes of Gladys, the prettiest girl,
And the proudest in all the place,
His young heart set beating at every chance meeting-
Though she only laughed in his face.

'I'll have none but a gay and a gallant man'-
Her lips took a scornful curl-
'Your pride is in hearing your mother declaring,
'Ben is just as good as a girl!''

But sweet little Marjory laughed not at Ben;
He was homely, awkward, shy,
But she liked the fellow whose voice was so mellow,
And she smiled as she passed him by.

He went to the front when the war broke out,
And filled his post like a man;
The good-natured giant was bold and defiant
As soon as the battle began.

You'd never have thought of the broom and the churn,
Nor of the nickname 'Miss Ben,'
Had you heard his voice cheering, seen his arm clearing
A path for his own gallant men.

Capt. Benjamin Brooks he came riding home
When the war was over and done,
As homely and backward, as shy and as awkward,
As tender and loyal a son.

Now Gladys gave him her sunniest smile-
On heroes she ever did dote-
And the proud little beauty felt it her duty
To be kind to this young man of note.

But Ben, wise fellow, liked Marjory best;
He knew her lips did not curl
When mother said sweetly, 'Ben does work so neatly-
He is just as good as a girl!'

So he wooed and won this Marjory true,
And made her his loving bride,
While Gladys she fretted, bemoaned and regretted
The goal she had missed by her pride.

To-day Ben is filling a prominent place,
A statesman, honest and bold;
He frees the opprest, and he helps the distrest,
Wins love, which is better than gold.

For the very grandest men you can find
In this great world's busy whirl
Are men like my farmer-no praise need be warmer
Than 'he's just as good as a girl.'

Two men were born the self-same hour:
The one was heir to untold wealth,
To pride of birth and love of power;
The other's heritage was health.

A sturdy frame, an honest heart,
Of human sympathy a store,
A strength and will to do his part,
A nature wholesome to the core.

The two grew up to man's estate,
And took their places in the strife:
One found a sphere both wide and great,
One found the toil and stress of life.

Fate is a partial jade, I trow;
She threw the rich man gold and frame,
The laurel wreath to deck his brow,
High place, the multitude's acclaim.

The common things the other had-
The common hopes to thrill him deep,
The common joys to make him glad,
The common griefs to make him weep.

No high ambitions fired his breast;
The peace of God, the love of friend,
Of wife and child, these seemed the best,
These held and swayed him to the end.

The two grew old, and death's clear call
Came to them both the self-same day:
To him whose name was known to all,
To him who walked his lowly way.

Down to his grave the rich man went,
With cortege long, with pomp and pride,
O'er him was reared a monument
That told his virtues far and wide;

Told of his wealth, his lineage high,
His statesmanship, his trophies won,
How he had filled the public eye-
But empty praise when all was done.

The other found a narrow bed
Within God's acre, peaceful, lone;
The throng cared not that he was dead,
A man uncultured and unknown.

But in the house that he had left
A woman whispered through her tears:
'Christ, comfort me, who am bereft
Of love that failed not through the years.'

And oft his stalwart sons and tall
Would murmur as their eyes grew dim:
'A useful life is best of all;
God grant we pattern after him!'

A sick man sighed: 'I'll miss his smile;'
A shrivelled crone did shake her head
And mutter to herself the while
How oft his hand had given bread.

A maimed child sobbed: 'He carried me
To gather blossoms in the wood,'
And more than one said, brokenly:
'A man who always did me good.'

One came at twilight to the grave,
And knelt and kissed the fresh-turned sod.
'Oh, faithful soul,' she cried, 'and brave,
'Twas you that led me back to God!

'Back from the sin, the shame, the snare-
Forget your trust and faith?-not I;
Each helpful word, each tender prayer,
I will remember till I die!'

Two men that sleep: above the one
The monument an artist's hand
Has fashioned from the block of stone,
A thing of beauty, tall and grand;

Above the other naught-what then?
Ere he did fold his hands for rest,
He builded in the hearts of men
The fairest monument and best.

At The Sick Children's Hospital

A little crippled figure, two big pathetic eyes,
A face that looked unchildish, so wan it was and wise;
I watched her as the homesick tears came chasing down each cheek.
'I had to come,' she whispered low, 'I was so tired and weak.
My spine, you know! I used to be so strong, and tall, and straight!
I went to school and learned to read and write upon a slate,
And add up figures-such a lot, and play with all my might,
Until I hurt my back-since then I just ache day and night.
'Tis most a year since I could stand, or walk around at all;
All I am good for now, you see, is just to cry and crawl.'
Poor, pale-faced thing! there came to us the laughter gay and sweet
Of little ones let out from school, the sound of flying feet.
She listened for a moment, then turned her to the wall
To hide the tears. 'Oh, me!' she cried, 'I'm tired of it all.
I feel so hurt and useless, why can't I run about
As others do?' 'Some day, please God, you will,' I said, but doubt
Was in the eyes she turned on mine, and doubt was in her tone.
'Perhaps,' she faltered, then the pain grew harsh; the plaintive moan
Smote sharply on my heart. I knew she had but lately come
From mother's care and father's love, and all the joys of home.
'I wished I'd lived on earth,' she sobbed, 'a long, long time ago,
When Jesus came at eventide, because He loved folks so,
And just by stretching out His hand made all the sick folks well.
If it were now, oh, wouldn't I creep close to Him, and tell
All that I wanted Him to do. I'd kneel down low and say:
'It is my back, dear Jesus, please cure it right away.
I'm tired of being weak and sick, I want to jump and run,
And play at games, and laugh out loud, and have such heaps of fun!
Be good to your poor crippled girl,' and He would touch me-so-
And every atom of the pain and crookedness would go.'
I held her close, and kissed her, and soothed her off to rest,
So frail she was, so homesick for the ones she loved the best!

But yesterday I saw her, and would have passed her by
Had I not caught the greeting smile, the glance so bright and shy.
'Can this be you?' I questioned. She laughed, 'O yes, I thought
You'd hardly know me when you came, I've changed, oh, such a lot!
For see how tall and straight I am! My back don't hurt at all,
And I can stand and I can walk-I never have to crawl.
I'll tell you, it's a secret, I raced with nurse last night.
Just think of it! I raced and won,' and then, in sheer delight,
She laughed so loudly and so long the nurse looked in to say,
'Is not this little girl of ours quite boisterous to-day?'
'They are so good to me,' she said, 'I know I'll want to cry
When I start off for home next week, and have to say good-bye.
What if I hadn't come at all?'-the sweet blue eyes grew wet-
'My back would ache and throb and hurt-I'd be a cripple yet.
For folks as poor as my folks are, they haven't much to spare
For nurse's bills, and doctor's bills, and all-but won't they stare
When I go home, red-cheeked and straight, and fat as I can be?
My daddy, he will never take his dear eyes off of me;
My mamma, she will cry some tears, and bend her head and pray,
While all the others kiss and hug; then I can hear her say:
'Give me my girlie, she's been gone so many long months-five,'
And hold me close-oh, I will be the gladdest thing alive!'

When Mary found fault with me that day the trouble was well begun.
No man likes being found fault with, no man really thinks it fun
To have a wisp of a woman, in a most obnoxious way,
Allude to his temper as beastly, and remark that day by day
He proves himself so careless, so lacking in love, so mean,
Then add, with an air convincing, she wishes she'd never seen
A person who thinks so little of breaking a woman's heart,
And since he is-well, what he is-'tis better that they should part.

Now, no man enjoys this performance-he has his faults, well and good,
He doesn't want to hear them named-this ought to be understood.

Mary was aggravating, and all because I'd forgot
To bring some flowers I'd promised-as though it mattered a lot;
But that's the way with a woman, your big sins she may forgive,
But little things, not worth mention, you hear of as long as you live.

A few sweet peas and carnations to start a tempest, forsooth!
For Mary got in a temper-I did the same, of a truth.
I said things that weren't gentle; she pretended not to mind-
But answered back in a manner that left me away behind.

It ended up in our saying good-bye for the rest of our days,
Both vowing we'd be happier going our different ways.
And I strode out in the garden where the trees were pink and white,
Where bobolinks scolded sparrows, and robins, wild with delight,
Chirped and called and fluttered in the blossoming trees above,
Where Nature was busy teaching her lessons of joy and love.

I made a bed of the soft, warm earth, stretched me out in the sun.
Vext and weary, I fell asleep, and slept till the day was done.
The voice of my brother waked me, crying, 'Quickly arise and come;
Bear up like a man, Heaven help you! Death has suddenly entered your home!'

'Twas Mary, my own sweet Mary! The eyelashes slept on her cheek,
The lips had a half-smile on them, as though they were going to speak
Some of the old-time tender words, witty rejoinder or jest,
Or ask the question they'd asked so oft, 'Jim, who do you love the best?'

But the small hands gave no pressure when I took them in my own,
And bending down to kiss her face, I found it cold as a stone.
And it came to me I could never-never, since Mary was dead-
Say, 'Dear one, I didn't mean them, the bitter words that I said.'
Never see the tears go from her sweet, dark eyes, and
the brightness take their place,
Never watch the joy and gladness come back to my darling's face.

Not a fault could I remember-she'd been perfect all her days,
With her sweetness and her laughter, her tender womanly ways.
Dead-dead in her fresh young beauty-oh, I had an anguished heart
At thought of the quarrel ending in our agreeing to part!

When two people love each other, I'll tell you the wisest way,
'Tis to think before speaking harshly, for there surely will come a day
When one will sleep on so soundly that he or she will not wake,
The other sit in the stillness and cry with a great heart-break.
It is to ears all unheeding our tenderest words are said-
The love that the living long for we waste it upon the dead.
We say this life is so dreary, talk much of heaven, I know,
But if we were good to each other we'd have our heaven below.
'Mary,' I whispered, 'my Mary, no flowers to you I gave,
But I'll heap them on your coffin and plant them over your grave.'

A bird sang sweetly and shrilly in the blossoms over-head,
And I awoke, awoke, awoke-I'd dreamed that Mary was dead!
I woke in the golden sunshine, the birds were singing aloud.
There was no still form beside me, nor any coffin or shroud,
But just a slip of a woman with her brown eyes full of tears-
Oh, that blessed, blessed waking I've remembered through all the years.
I told the story to Mary, who hasn't let me forget
That dream in the blossoming orchard-I hear of it often yet.
If I neglect to bring flowers, it's: 'Oh, you're going to save
Your roses to heap on my coffin, your pansies to plant on my grave?'

And if I lose my temper-a common weakness of men-
The sweetest voice in the world says: 'You'll have to get dreaming again.'

The Harbor Lights Of Home

J. Thomas Gordon left home one day,
Left home for good and all-
A boy has a right to have his own way
When he's nearly six foot tall;
At least, this is what J. Thomas thought,
And in his own young eyes
There were very few people quite so good,
And fewer still quite so wise.

What! tie as clever a lad as he
Down to commonplace toil?
Make J. Thomas Gordon a farmer lad,
A simple son of the soil?
Not if he knew it-'twould be a sin;
He wished to rise and soar.
For men like himself who would do and dare
Dame Fortune had much in store.

The world was in need of brains and brawn,
J. Thomas said modestly,
The clever young man was in great demand-
They would see what they would see.
He would make his mark in the busy world,
Some day the daily press
Would herald the glad news forth to the throng,
J. Thomas is a SUCCESS.

Then would the doubters and sceptics all
Say, with regret sincere,
'To think that we gave his hopes and his aims
But an unbelieving sneer!'
As for him, he would kiss his mother,
And give her wealth galore,
Shake the hand of his father-maybe-
Then back to the world once more.

With big ambition and high conceit
Was young J. Thomas filled;
The warning of friends and their arguments
His eloquence quickly stilled.
'You may go,' said the irate father,
'I'll not urge you to stay;
You will learn your lesson, you headstrong fool,
Be glad to come back some day.'

So J. Thomas Gordon left the farm,
As boys have done before,
And his mother began to count the hours
Till he would be home once more.

The father wearied as time went on-
Missed the boy from his side;
But all through the years the fond mother kept
Her love, her hope, and her pride.
With a mother's beautiful faith, she said:
'I know my boy will come
So wealthy, so honored, noble and great,
Proudly come marching home.'

And ever she looked at eventide
Into the glowing west
For the dust of the carriage bringing her
The one that she loved the best.
Ah! how she longed to look on his face,
Her stalwart lad and true,
With his sunburned cheek, and his ruddy hair,
And his eyes so bright and blue.

To those who said 'twas cruel of him
Never a line to send,
She had but one answer, with eyes ashine:
'It will all come right in the end;
He's busy making a name and place,
And I must patient be
Till this clever, ambitious lad of mine
Finds time to come back to me.'

Important and wealthy and famous,
Honored and wise and great!
But look you, who can that ragged tramp be,
Down there by the garden gate,
Pale as if hunger had pressed him sore,
Trembling because so weak,
Pushed on by his longing, held back by shame-
A tear on his poor pale cheek?

'Tis he! Had he come back rich and great
She'd have met him at the door,
But she's down the path with her arms outspread,
Because he has come back poor.
Gone, gone are her day-dreams sweet and fair-
Gone in the swift glad shock
Of folding a ragged tramp in her arms,
But love stands firm as a rock.

She rang the dinner bell long and loud,
The father came with speed;
The welcome he gave the prodigal
Was a tender one indeed.
'The young fool has learned his lesson,'
J. Thomas whispered low.
'So he has-God bless him!' the father cried,
'He'll make a good man, I know.

'Honest, unselfish, and true as steel,
Our boy will stand the test;
Kindly of thought and word and deed-
The homely virtues are best.
I knew when you went, and you know it now,
That all this pride and style,
This yearnin' to fill up the public eye,
Isn't really worth the while.'

Oh, the happy face of the mother
That night as, kneeling low,
Tom said the prayer that he used to say
At her knee so long ago.
A new J. Thomas had this to add-
With his bonnie blue eyes wet-
'Thank God for the home, for the faithful hearts
That never change or forget.'

Though far and wide on the world's rough sea
The children, reckless, roam,
The boldest thanks God in some stress of storm
For the harbor lights of home.

The day she came we were planting corn,
The west eighty-acre field,-
These prairie farms are great for size,
And they're sometimes great for yield.

'The new school-ma'am is up to the house,'
The chore-boy called out to me;
I went in wishing anyone else
Had been put in chief trustee.

I was to question that girl, you see,
Of the things she ought to know;
As for these same things, I knew right well
I'd forgot them long ago.

I hadn't kept track of women's ways,
'Bout all I knew of the sex
Was that they were mighty hard to please,
And easy enough to vex.

My sister Mary, who ruled my house-
And me-with an iron hand,
Was all the woman I knew real well-
Her I didn't understand.

But I'd no call to grumble at fate,
Fifty, well off, and unwed;
Young as a lad in spite of the dust
Old Time had thrown on my head.

I engaged the school-ma'am on the spot,
And the reason, I surmise,
Was this, she didn't giggle or blush,
But looked me fair in the eyes.

The planting over, why, every lad
In a space of ten good mile
Was off for the school with a sudden zeal
That made all us old folks smile.

How she took to our wide prairie
After towns with narrow streets!
To watch that west eighty-acre field
Was one of her queer conceits.

'You planted that corn the day I came,'
She said, 'and I love to go
And watch the sun-mother kiss and coax
Each slim green stalk to grow.'

I called her 'Cornflower' when she took
To wearing 'em in her belt.
The young chaps were all in love with her-
And I knew just how they felt.

Oh, I tell you that was a summer,
Such sunshine, such dew, such rain;
Never saw crops grow so in my life-
Don't expect I will again.

To watch that west eighty-acre field,
When the fall came clear and cold,
Was something like a sermon to me-
Made me think of streets of gold.

But about that time the new school-ma'am
Had words with the first trustee;
A scholar had taken the fever
And she was for blaming me.

That schoolhouse should be raised from the ground-
Grave reason there for alarm;
A new coat of plaster be put on
That the children be kept warm.

A well-a good one-should take the place
Of the deathtrap that was there.
'This should all be done at once,' she said.
Cost five hundred dollars clear!

I told her I couldn't think of it,
But, when all my work was through,
If the taxes came in middling good,
I would see what I could do.

'Remember you're only the steward,'
She said, 'of your acres broad,
And that the cry of a little child
Goes straight to the ears of God.'

I remarked that it wasn't her place
To dictate to the trustee,
And Cornflower lifted her eyes of blue
And looked what she thought of me.

That night as we came up from the fields,
And talked of the threatened frost,
The chore-boy called out, half pleased, half scared:
'The school-ma'am's got herself lost.'

I turned me about and spoke no word;
I'd find her and let her see
I held no spite 'gainst a wayward girl
For lecturing a trustee.

For I knew before I found the knot
Of ribbon that she had worn,
That somehow Betty had lost her way
In the forest of ripened corn.

The sun went down and left the world
Beautiful, happy and good;
True, the girl and myself had quarrelled,
But when I found her and stood

With silver stars mistily shining
Through the deep blue of the skies,
Heard somebody sob like a baby,
Saw tears in somebody's eyes.

Why, I just whispered, 'Betty, Betty,'
Then whispered 'Betty' some more;
Not another word did I utter-
I'll stick to this o'er and o'er.

You needn't ask me to explain, friends,
I don't know how 'twas myself,
That first 'Betty' said I was ashamed
Of my greedy love of pelf.

The second one told her I'd be glad
To raise the old schoolhouse up,
And be in haste to put down a well,
With a pump and drinking cup.

The third 'Betty' told her I would act
A higher and nobler part;
The fourth 'Betty' told her I loved her-
Loved her with all my heart.

'Ah, well! there's no fool like an old fool,'
Was what sister Mary said;
'No fool in the world like an old fool,
You'll find that out, brother Ned.'

'Mary,' I said, 'there's a better thing
Than land, or dollar, or dime;
If being in love is being a fool
Here's one till the end of time.'

I should think so, I'm a married man
Four years come this Christmastide,
And autumn now is flinging her gold
O'er the fields on every side.

My wife called out as I drove the cows
To the pasture-field this morn,
'Ned, please go look for your son and heir,
He toddled off in the corn.'

And sister Mary must make a joke;
'Go find him at once,' said she,
'You know to get lost in a field of corn
Runs in that boy's family.'

In Sunflower Time

In the farmhouse kitchen were Nan and John,
With only the sunflowers looking on.

A farmhouse kitchen is scarce the place
For knight or lady of courtly grace.

But this is just an everyday pair
That hold the kitchen this morning fair.

A saucy, persistent thorn-tree limb
Had sacrificed a part of the brim

Of the youth's straw hat. His face was brown,
And his well-shaped forehead wore a frown.

His boots were splashed with mud and clay
From marshland pasture over the way,

Where alderbushes and spicewood grew,
And frogs croaked noisily all night through.

'Neath muslin curtains, snowy and thin,
The homely sunflowers nodded in.

Nan was a picture. Her muslin gown
Had maybe a bit old-fashioned grown,

But fitted the slender shape so well.
In its low-cut neck the soft lace fell.

Sleeves, it had none from the elbows down;
In length-well, you see, the maid had grown.

A labor of love her homely task-
To share it none need hope nor ask,

For Nan was washing each trace of dirt
From fluted bodice and ruffled skirt.

Now, few that will, and fewer that can,
Bend over a tub like pretty Nan.

The frail soap bubbles sailed high in air
As she drew each piece from frothy lair,

And rubbed with cruel yet tender hand
As only a woman could, understand.

Then wrung with twist of the wrist so strong,
Examined with care, shook well and long,

Flung in clear water to lie in state-
Each dainty piece met the same hard fate.

''Tis done!' with a look of conscious pride
At the rinsing bucket deep and wide.

Wiping the suds from each rounded arm,
She turned to John with a smile so warm:

'I've kept you waiting-excuse me, please,
The soapsuds ruin such goods as these.'

'You're over fond of finery, Nan,
Dresses and furbelows,' he began.

'Maybe I am, of a truth,' she said.
Each sunflower nodded its yellow head.

'Ned Brown's growing rich'-John's words came slow-
'That he loves you well you doubtless know.

'My house and acres, I held them fast,
Was stubborn over them to the last,

'For when my father was carried forth,
And men were asking 'What was he worth?'

'I saw them look and nod and smile
As they whispered together all the while,

''A fine old homestead, but mortgaged so,
A foolish thing for a man to do!'

'I said, 'My father's dead and gone,
But he's left behind a strong-armed son.'

'My heart was hot with a purpose set
To clear that mortgage, to pay that debt.

'I've worked, heaven knows, like any slave,
I've learned the lesson of scrimp and save,

'Kept a good horse, but dressed like a clown-
And I've not a dollar to call my own.

'I'm beaten-well beaten; yesterday
Everything went to Ned Brown from me.

'My woods, my meadows, my tasseled corn,
The orchard planted when I was born,

'The old rose garden my mother loved,
My chestnut mare-can't help feeling moved,

'For I'm a beggar, Nan, you see-
Don't think me begging for sympathy.

'The world is wide, I don't care-much.
Thank God, health's a thing the law can't touch.

'The happiest man I ever knew
Was born a beggar, and died one, too.'

Each sunflower, nodding its yellow head,
Listened to every word that was said,

As Nan in her slow and easy way,
In the farmhouse kitchen that summer day,

Set a great and weighty problem forth,
One that no scholar on this green earth

Has been able to solve since things began
With Adam-a lone and lonesome man.

Yet very coolly she set it forth:
'Tell me the truth, how much am I worth?'

The sunbeams kissing her golden hair,
Her cheeks, her round arms dimpled and bare,

Seemed stamping value of mighty wealth
On youth, and love, and the bloom of health.

John looked and looked till his eyes grew dim,
Then tilted the hat with worthless brim

To hide what he would not have her see-
'You are worth the whole world, Nan,' said he.

'Then you're no beggar,' said sweet, bold Nan,
'You're the whole world richer than any man.'

A girl queen wearing a crown of gold
Set a precedent, the tale is told,

But no royal prince this world has seen
Ever felt so proud as John, I ween,

As he clasped her hands in new-born hope-
And never noticed they smelt of soap.

Only the sunflowers looking on,
So he kissed the maid-oh, foolish John!

As he went out through the garden gate
Ned Brown was coming to learn his fate.

He was riding John's own chestnut mare,
But, somehow, John didn't seem to care.

The two men met at top of the hill,
And eyed each other as rivals will.

Ned thought of the home he'd won from John,
'Poor beggar!' he said, as he rode on.

John thought of all he had won from Ned,
'You poor, poor beggar!' was what he said.

Why? Under the heavens clear and blue
Only our John and the sunflowers knew.

The Wooing O' Katie

McLeod of Dare called his son to him.
McLeod of Dare looked stern and grim,

For he was sending on mission grave
His son, and though he knew him brave

The old man trembled lest he should make
In heedless youth a grave mistake.

'Twas not for the country, nor for the king,
Nay, 'twas a more important thing

Than country, or clan, or feud, or strife,
The young man went to woo a wife.

He listened, did Neil, with scanty grace,
Haughty gloom on his handsome face,

While the old man told him where to go,
And what to say, and what to do.

'The morrow ye'll go for a lang, lang stay
Wi' your rich uncle, Donald Gray.

'He'll gie ye a welcome wairm and true,
And mate his only child wi' you.

'She's weel worth winning, for in her hand
She hauds the deed o' a' his land.

'She's far frae haun'some-a homely lass,
As you will see-but let that pass.'

'Why should I wed a woman that's plain?
You didn't yourself.' McLeod was vain.

He smiled and he smirked, 'Ah, true, Neil, true,
But I was haun'somer nor you.

'Juist coort this cousin, and never mind
Squint or freckle, since luve is blind-

'Or ought tae be in sic case as this-
'Tis no a chance I'd hae ye miss.

'Jane's na sae braw as her cousin Kate,
But 'tis wi' Jane I'd hae ye mate;

'For Kate, poor lassie, she hasna land-
Her face is her fortune, understand.

'Gie her guid day when ye chance tae meet,
But Jane, remember, your fain tae greet

'Wi' warmer words, and a gallant air.
Go, win a wife-and a warld o' care!'

Neil listened closest to what was said
Of Kate, the poor but pretty maid.

And when he reached his good uncle's place
'Twas Kate that in his eyes found grace,

The while Jane simpered with conscious pride,
As if to say: 'Behold your bride!'

In this home he dwelt for many a day,
A favorite, he, of Donald Gray.

They walked together over the hill,
Or through the valleys solemn and still,

And the old man showed him acres wide
That would be Jane's dower as a bride,

Then spoke of the cousin, poor but fair,
Her eyes of blue and her golden hair.

'She'll hae na flocks, and she'll hae na laund,
She'll hae na fortune rich and graund,

'But gin she stood in her scanty dress,
Would man o' mettle luve her less?'

The lad's heart warmed to the logic old.
What worth has land? What worth has gold?

Compared with the light in Katie's eyes,
What worth was aught beneath the skies?

Jane courted briskly day by day,
If he walked out she walked his way.

Did he sit him down to rest awhile,
She looked his way with tender smile.

Did he try to get a word with Kate,
Jane was there like the hand of fate.

One day it chanced, as he rode to mill,
He met with Kate just under the hill.

Would she mount beside him, ride along?
Yes, if he felt 'twould not be wrong.

He helped her up with a trembling arm;
Surely the day is close and warm.

Whoa, mare! steady! there's no need for haste
With two soft arms about his waist.

Neil-shame on him!-pressed Kate's finger-tips,
Then turned about and pressed her lips.

All over the road the blossoms white
Scattered themselves in sheer delight.

A bird flew singing a tender rhyme
Of meadow, mate, and nesting time.

The world looked beautiful in the glow
That heaven flung on the hills below.

Ah me, if that ride could but last a week,
Her gold hair blowing against his cheek!

The road to the mill, says worldly wise-
Nay, nay, the road to Paradise!

Travel it once if you wish to know
Something of heaven here below.

Though your eyes grow dim, and locks grow white,
You'll not forget this journey-quite.

But Neil must go to the old home place,
Meet his stern father face to face.

Altho' his cheek was a trifle pale,
Boldly enough he told his tale.

He would marry Kate-and Kate alone-
He could not love the other one.

Her eyes were crooked, her hair was red,
Freckles over her face were spread,

And the whole world held no lass for him
But Kate. Then laughed the old man grim.

'Your mither, she was a stubborn lass,
Self-willed, handsome-but let that pass.

'In a' oor battles 'twas she who won,
And Neil, you're juist your mither's son.

'But I hae na lived these mony days
Wi'oot walking in wisdom's ways.

'I saw your Kate, and like't her weel-
In luiks she's like your mither, Neil;

'The same blue een, and the same gowd hair-
But no sae fair, Neil, no sae fair.

'I tou'd your uncle to let Kate be
The lassie poor, o' low degree,

'And gie ye at once to understand
'Twas Jane who owned baith flocks and land.

'Why gie mysel' sic a senseless task?
I wunner, lad, ye've hairt tae ask.

'Gin ye was driven ye wouldna' move,
Too stubborn to even fa' in luve!

'Like a' the Campbells, ye'll hae your way-
Your mither has hers every day.

''Tis prood ye should be, upon my word,
Tak' time to yoursel' and thank the Lord

For plans that gat ye a bonny bride-
An' heaps o' wardly gear beside.'

Ah! thankful enough was Neil that day-
Joy flashed in his eager eyes of gray.

'Twas not for the land, not for the gold,
Not for the flocks that slept in fold,

Not for the wealth-the worldly gear-
But something wonderful, sweet and dear.

'Thank heaven,' he cried, with a glow and thrill,
'Thank heaven for the day I rode to mill!'

The Preacher Down At Coles

He was not especially handsome, he was not especially smart,
A great big lumbering fellow with a soft and tender heart.
His eyes were gray and honest, his smile a friendly one,
He wore his parson's suit of black on days of state alone;
At other times he went around in clothes the worse of wear,
A blue cloth cap set jauntily upon his thick gray hair.
He cared so little how he looked, so little how he drest,
That he tired the patience sorely of the ones he loved the best.
For a preacher, so they argued, should be dressed like one, of course,
But in the winter it was tweeds, in summer it was worse;
Ducks and flannels would be grimy, if the sad truth must be told,
For he spaded up the gardens of the people who were old,
And he ran down dusty highways at unministerial rate,
Going errands for the people who really could not wait.
His coat-sleeves would be short an inch, his trousers just the same,
For the washerwoman had them every week that ever came.
He cared so little how he looked, and never paused to think
That linen, duck, and flannel were such awful things to shrink.

His wife, she was the primmest thing, as neat as any doll,
And looked like one when walking by her husband big and tall.
It almost broke her heart that he refused to give a thought
To how he looked, or do the thing, or say the thing he ought.
Sometimes, though well she loved him, quite high her temper ran,
For 'tis hard on any woman to have such a careless man.

Think! when the conference president came visiting the place,
The preacher down at Coles he had a badly battered face-
One eye was black as black could be; he looked, so we've been told,
More like a fierce prize-fighter than a shepherd of the fold.
'How did it happen?' questioned him the visitor so wise,
With hint of laughter on his lips, and in his twinkling eyes.
'Old Betty Brown,' the preacher said-his wife broke in just here,
'A cross-grained spinster of the place who hates him, that is clear;
And never did a woman have a meaner tongue than hers-
The slighting things she says of him, the mischief that she stirs!'
'Fields have we,' said the president, 'in country and in town;
Believe me, Madam, most of them can boast a Betty Brown.'

The preacher stroked his blackened eye, and laughed good-naturedly.
'She doesn't like me very well, but what of that?' said he.
'The other night I found the poor old creature sick in bed,
She 'didn't want no prayin' done,' she very quickly said,
So, seeing that she was so ill and worn she could not stir,
I thought with care and patience I could milk the cow for her.
I stroked old Spot caressingly, and placed my little can,
But Spot she knew, and I came home a sadder, wiser man.'

The preacher down at Coles he was no orator at all,
But sick, and sad, and sinful were glad to have him call.
Not that he ever found a host of happy things to say;
In fact, as far as talking went, he might have stayed away.
But oh, the welcome that he got! I think his big right hand
Gave such a grip that all the rest they seemed to understand.

Some of the congregation would have liked a different man,
He couldn't hope to please them all-few ministers that can.
Once, at the district meeting, the good old farmer Bowles
Stood up and spoke his mind about the preacher down at Coles.

'There's not,' he said, 'you know it, too, a better man than he;
An' you fault-findin', carpin' folk-I say this reverently-
If the Lord 'd take an angel and gently turn him loose
To preach down here, do you suppose he'd please the hull caboose?
Not much! It's human nature to quarrel with what we've got,
An' this man is a better man than we deserve, a lot.'

But he did preach curious sermons, just as dry as they could be,
And the old folks slumbered through them every Sabbath, peacefully;
But they all woke up the moment the singing would begin,
And not an ear was found too dull to drink the music in.
For though the preacher could not boast an orator's smooth tongue,
He could reach the people's heart-strings when he stood up there and sung.

O the wondrous power and sweetness of the voice that filled the place!
Everyone that heard it swelling grew the purer for a space.
And men could not choose but listen to the singer standing there,
Till their worldliness slipped from them, and their selfishness and care.
Mourners turned their eyes all misty from the crosses tall and white
Where their loved ones slumbered softly all the day and all the night;
Listening, faith rose triumphant over sorrow, loss, and pain,
Heaven was not a far-off country, they would meet their own again.
And the white-haired men and women wished the singing need not cease,
For they seemed to see the beauty of the longed for Land of Peace.
Upward soared that voice, and upward, with a sweetness naught could stem,
Till each dim eye caught the glory of the new Jerusalem.

He was such a curious fellow, the preacher down at Coles!
One winter day the word was brought to town by Farmer Bowles
That in a little shanty, in the hollow by the mill,
Were children gaunt with hunger, a mother sad and ill,
The father just a drunkard, a vagabond who left
His family for long, long weeks of love and care bereft.
The squire talked of taking a big subscription up,
And talked, and talked, while in that house was neither bite nor sup.
O, these talking folks! these talking folks! the poor would starve and freeze
If the succoring and caring were done by such as these.

The preacher down at Coles he had not very much to say;
He harnessed up the old roan horse and hitched it to the sleigh,
And piled in so much provisions that his wife said, tearfully,
She didn't have a cake or pie left in the house for tea.
He filled the sleigh with baskets, and with bundles-such a pile!
Heaps of wood, and clothes, and victuals-everybody had to smile
As they watched the old roan canter down the crossroad, o'er the hill,
To the little cheerless shanty in the hollow by the mill.
The preacher built a fire and bade the children warm their toes
While he heard the worn-out mother's tale of miseries and woes.
He brought in a bag of flour, and a turkey big and fat-
His dainty wife had meant to dine the Ladies' Aid on that.
He brought in ham and butter, and potatoes in a sack,
A pie or two, a loaf of cake, and doughnuts, such a stack!
Ah! his wife and her good handmaid had been baking many a day,
For the Ladies' Aid would dine there-he had lugged it all away.
He brought in a pair of blankets, and a heavy woollen quilt;
Betty Brown, who happened in there, said she thought that she would wilt,
For these things the active members of the Missionary Band
Had gathered for the heathen in a far-off foreign land.
'These belong unto the Lord, sir,' Betty said, 'I think you'll find.'
But he answered her quite gently, 'Very well, He will not mind.'
'To see him making tea for the woman in the bed
Made me wish I had been kinder to the preacher,' Betty said.
Though he was so big and clumsy he could step around so light,
And to see him getting dinner to the children's huge delight!
It was not till he had warmed them, and had fed them there, that day,
That he whispered very softly: 'Little children, let us pray.'
Then he gave them to the keeping of a Father kind and wise
In a way that brought the tear-drops into hard old Betty's eyes.
She felt an aching in her throat, and when she cried, 'Amen!'
Other folks might flout the preacher, Betty never would again.

He took up the fresh air movement, but the people down at Coles
Shook their head-a preacher's work, they said, was saving precious souls,
Not worrying lest the waifs and strays that throng the city street
Should pine for want of country air, and country food to eat.
Lawyer Angus, at the meeting, spoke against new-fangled things;
'Seems to me our preacher's bow, friends, has a muckle lot of strings.'
Merchant Jones said trade was failing, rent was high and clerks to pay;
Not a dollar could he give them, he was very grieved to say.
Old Squire Hays was buying timber, needed every cent and more;
Doctor Blake sat coldly smiling-then the farmer took the floor.

'Wish,' he said, 'our hearts were bigger, an' our speeches not so long;
I would move right here the preacher tunes us up a little song.'
Sing? I wish you could have heard him-simple songs of long ago,
Old familiar things that held us-warm that golden voice and low-
Songs of summer in the woodlands, cowslips yellow in the vale;
Songs of summer in the city, and the children wan and pale,
Till we saw the blist'ring pavement pressed by tired little feet,
Heard the baby voices crying for the meadows wide and sweet.

'Now we'll take up the collection,' said the wily farmer Bowles,
And they showered in their money, did the people down at Coles.
'Here's a cheque,' said lawyer Angus, ''tis the best that I can do;
Man, you'd have us in the poorhouse if you sang your sermons through!'

The very careless fellow still goes his cheery way
Unmindful of what people think or of what people say.
Some still are finding fault with him-he doesn't mind it much-
Laughs when they make remarks about his clothes and shoes and such,
Declare his sermons have no point, and quarrel with his text,
As people will, but oh, it makes his pretty wife so vext!
'I think,' she says, 'as much of him as any woman can,
But 'tis most aggravating to have such a careless man.'

There are those who think him perfect, shout his praises with a will.
He has labored for the Master, he is laboring for Him still;
And the grumbling does not move him, nor the praises sung abroad-
Things like these seem only trifles to the man who works for God.
Farmer Bowles summed up the total in his own original way
When he spoke at the Convention that was held the other day.
'Never knew a better worker, never knew a kinder man;
Lots of preachers are more stylish, keep themselves so spic-and-span
You could spot 'em out for preachers if you met 'em walkin' round
Over on the Fejee Islands, silk hat, long coat, I'll be bound.
Our man's different, but, I tell you, when it comes to doing good
There's not one can beat him at it, an' I want this understood.
Ask the sad folks and the sinful, ask the fallen ones he's raised,
Ask the sick folks and the poor folks, if you want to hear him praised.
Orator? Well, maybe not, friends, but in caring for men's souls
There stand few men half so faithful as the preacher down at Coles.'