We love the spot where Valor bled
In the days of other years;
Where some young hero bowed his head
Whom memory endears.
We venerate the mound where lie
Some aged veteran's bones;
Though naught denotes his victory
But rude unsculptured stones.
Say not the Revolution's age
In memory has no place:
Because the present has its page,
The former to efface !
Old soldiers, those who yet remain,
Oh ! guard with tenderest care;
Remembering that they sowed the seed
That made*us what we are.
Prop up those withered oaks that stand,
Memorials of the past:
They tell and point, with trembling hand,
Where Liberty was cast;
Tell where the hero Washington
With his compatriots trod ;
Where many a dauntless warrior's soul
Passed up from strife to God.
Then let our grateful homage prove
Our true fidelity,
To those whose valor, honor, love,
Were pledged to make us free.
Sung by the graduating class of the Keokuk High School, May 3, 1872.
Our farewell must to-day be spoken,
The time draws near when we must part,
Yet Friendship holds our chain unbroken,
And clasps the links that bind each heart.
And ever, in the years before us,
Will Memory guard with jealous care
The golden hours that floated o'er us
When youth flew by with visions fair.
While o'er the Past our thoughts are yearning,
Our deepest gratitude is due
To him who, all our needs discerning,
Has kept life's highest aims in view.
The guiding hand so ready ever
To point our feet to Wisdom's way,
The voice that strengthened each endeavor,
We leave with fond regret to-day.
And ere we go take our places
'Mid changing scenes on earth's broad mart,
Love stamps these dear familiar faces
In deathless lines on every heart.
Though future joys be crushed by sorrow,
Though hopes be changed to doubts and fears,
Undimmed throughout our life's To-morrow
Will gleam the light of other years.
Old Settler's Song
Tune, 'Way down upon the Swanee River'.
Right here, where Indian fires were lighted,
Long, long ago;
Where dusky forms, by rum incited,
Danced wildly to and fro;
We, Old Settlers, come to greet you,
Proffer heart and hand;
Breathe, too, a fervent prayer to meet you
Yonder, in the spirit-land.
Gone tawny chief, whose war-cry sounded—
All but his name,
That far and near has been resounded,
Linked with our rising fame.
Keokuk! with pride we gather
On thy golden strand;
While from the skies a loving Father
Blesses our sunset land.
O brothers! there are dear old faces
Hid 'neath the mold;
Forms missing from their wonted places,
Hands we have clasped, still and cold.
While the scores of years behind us
Tell we're hastening on,
And that, when friends return to find us,
Softly may fall, 'They are gone.'
Here, brothers, where our noble river
Chants through its waves,
May we remain till called to sever,—
Make here and guard our graves.
And with welcoming shouts we'll greet you
When you reach heaven's strand;
Fling wide the golden gates and meet you,
Brothers in the Eden-land.
The scorching August rays fell fast,
As through a Western village passed
A youth, who bore, through sun and flame,
A banner bearing high the name,
The love that lit his lifted eye
Revenge and malice might defy,
And whether met by young or old,
His answer followed, firm and bold,
'Trust not Republicans, my son,'
An aged Copperhead begun ;
'They lurk along the mountain-side.'
But, jubilant, his voice replied,
' Beware of ' Rebs,' ' old Croaker cries ;
' Beware of trakors in disguise !'
But opening wide his arms for all,
He shouts aloud the magic call,
And later, when, his goal attained,
He paused where sunset's glory waned,
His whisper floated to the stars
That hid behind those crimson bars,
The young moon, too, too coy to speak,
Dropped golden kisses on his cheek;
Then, as he slept, she veiled her light
And murmured, with her soft ' Good-night,'
And thus, by Heaven's own touch caressed,
In dreams our hero's footfalls pressed
The golden streets, where patriots heard,
And softly breathed our Union-word,
I Am Waiting For Thee
A song for the aged.
Beloved, dost know that, though heaven is far,
Heart throbs unto heart as star answereth to star?
That the dear ones below and the dear ones above
Receive and return mystic tokens of love ?
That the mourner, though lonely, is never alone,
For a form keeps its shadow in one with his own ?
Has a whisper e'er thrilled thee, a tone glad and free,
'Be patient, my own, I am waiting for thee?
' Lone heart, thou art weary ! As age stealeth on
Thou longest, thou yearnest, at times, to be gone.
I read all thy thoughts, and the bright dreams I bring,
The answers to prayers 'neath my sheltering wing,
I pour on thy heart in the hush of the night,
And, hovering o'er thee, catch words of delight.
Oh, wait ! and be patient till Death sets thee free,
For, darling, be sure I am waiting for thee.
'Yes, waiting for thee, and while thou must remain,
The summit of glory I may not attain ;
Thy love is the magnet that holdeth me near
When my spirit would soar to a loftier sphere.
Oh, not e'en for heaven would I widen the space
That holds me, at times, from the light of thy face.
I will stand at the gate, and at last thou wilt see,
When He calls thee to come, I've been waiting for thee.'
My Mother's Friend
Lovingly Inscribed To 'Grandma Fulton.'
You wondered why my fingers clasped
So lovingly that withered hand;
The tenderness that filled my heart
You saw, yet could not understand.
Yet will the mystery be explained:
My impulse you will comprehend
When you are told that aged one
Was, in her youth, my mother's friend.
Those snowy locks in other years
Luxuriant hung, in graceful curls
Perchance, and oft touched mother's cheek
With soft caress, when both were girls.
That breath commingled with her own,
As the young head would trusting bend,
To tell, in low, confiding tone,
Her secrets to her early friend.
With such a bitter, aching void
As life must hold when mothers go,
No matter when, – if full of years,
Or in their noontide's golden glow,
It is not strange my weary heart
Should long to feel those arms descend
And fold in motherly embrace
The daughter of her early friend.
I wonder if the mists of years
Melt in the radiance of the skies?
Will heaven restore our faded bloom,
And youth return in Paradise?
Do blighted hopes and vanished joys
Revive, return when earth's dreams end?
If so, what glad surprise awaits,
Beyond the blue, my mother's friend!
Oh, peaceful be her closing hour,
And soothing the familiar tone
That bids her deathless spirit rise
Where weight of years is all unknown!
May the same hand that points her way
Clasp mine when life and care shall end,
And bear me to the shining shore,
To join my mother's early friend!
Affectionately inscribed to my father's friend, Hon. D. F. Miller
Dear friend, 'twas not thy word of praise,
Bestowed upon my simple lays,
That woke, as if by magic art,
A thrill responsive in my heart.
'Twas the fond mention of a word
That all my tenderest feelings stirred,—
A name the Past endeared to thee,
And fraught with love and trust to me.
His step, his touch, his vanished tone
Seem mingling often with thine own.
The teacher, as in days of yore,
Repeats his sage instructions o'er;
The pupil, in the flush of youth,
Lists to those golden words of truth,
And dreams such dreams as manhood may
When proud ambition points his way.
Ah ! neither then had locks of white !
He, on life's grand meridian height,
Thou, with thy powers as yet untried,
And I a prattler at thy side.
It seems so strange to see thee now
With frosts of age upon thy brow,
Yet sweet to know thy love for him
Has never faltered nor grown dim.
How much they gain of heavenly lore,
Our loved and lost who 'go before' !
The jasper walls will brighter glow
When from them lean the forms we know.
Our foretaste of celestial bliss
Will be a welcoming clasp and kiss;
Our recompense for every pain
Will be this 'gathering home' again.
And wilt thou not hold converse sweet
Where constant friends their vows repeat?
Where change can mar, nor time can dim,
Wilt thou not learn again of him?
With the deep mystery of the skies
Unveiled before thy wondering eyes,
What guide more meet, if choice be given,
To lead thee to the highest heaven ?
A Welcome To Mrs. Frances D. Gage
I wait thy coming, honored friend,
With tenderness and tears,
For memory's tapers brighter burn
As age steals on, until I yearn
With confidence and trust to turn
To friends of other years.
I've had my share of golden dreams,
Of hopes and haunting fears ;
Of days whose suns in darkness set,
Of ecstasies that thrill me yet
And make my weary heart forget
The weight of twenty years.
The silvery threads are whiter now
That on thy brow appear ;
Age, suffering, and, it may be, care
Have left their spotless symbol there,
As pure as the fresh snow-flakes are
That deck the dying year.
The shock full ripe, the golden grain
Awaits the Reaper's hand ;
Awaits the Boatman's silent oar―
The signal from a distant shore―
For tones of loved ones gone before,
Guides to the spirit-land.
The bravest heroes are not they
Who foremost rush to fight ;
But they who aid each glorious plan
That elevates their fellow-man ;
Who help to kindle, feed, and fan
The smouldering flames of Right.
More beautiful are withered hands
Than fingers girt with gold,
If they have scattered here and there,
With blessings oft, sometimes with prayer,
The seeds of good, henceforth to bear
Perchance an hundred -fold.
The tenderest and the truest hearts,
Strong in their purity,
Are such as crucify desire,
Forgetting self in purpose higher,
To raise humanity still nigher
To Him who made us free.
That voice can never lose its thrill,
Its pathos and its power,
That swells responsive to a call ;
Whose earnest tones will rise and fall
In pleadings for the good of all
Until the closing hour.
(Written during the Jubilee at Chicago)
While thousands throng each crowded mart,
And gaze around in mute surprise,
I turn with an adoring heart
To thee, fair mirror of the skies.
Yet not in silence can I pour
My full heart out, fair Lake, to thee,
So, humbly kneeling on thy shore,
I chant thy praise, my Jubilee.
The purple clouds are all drawn back
From heaven's blue vault, that I may trace
Its distant verge, —its shining track
Held to thy heart in close embrace.
The roseate flush that tinged the sky
Has slowly turned to burnished gold,
And every wave that hurries by
Clasps all of sunlight it can hold.
I saw thee not, Lake Michigan,
When all aglow —a sheet of flame;
When forth the frenzied people ran
To shriek for help —to- call thy name.
Chicago, thine own cherished bride,
Thou mightst not succor —couldst not save;
But fettered lay as flames spread wide
And scooped for her a yawning grave.
The loss was ours; we mourned with thee
That she should fall, —a nation mourned;
Nor deemed we then we e'er should see
Her hopes restored, her strength returned.
'Forever lost, forever gone! '
Came through thy murmuring wavelets' swell;
' Forever lost, forever gone! '
We echoed back, —her funeral knell.
Yet now, so soon, a wondering throng
Crowd to thy shore in hushed surprise,
And there behold (grand theme for song)
Chicago, Phcenix-like, arise.
A world lamented when she fell,
And now, 'neath turret, tower, and dome,
A multitude of voices tell
Her year of Jubilee has come.
Chicago, City of the Lake,
Bride of this lovely inland sea,
Thy resurrection-glories wake
A dream of what thou yet shalt be.
Undaunted in thy darkest hour,
Thyself hast brought the awakening dawn;
Thy energy has been the power
That led, and still shall lead thee on.
When first thou went'st my yearning heart,
With many a low, despairing cry,
Kept reaching up, with sudden start,
As if to draw thee from the sky.
And when they said, ' Be reconciled,
And know it is the Father's will,'
I only moaned, ' My child ! my child !'
And held my arms to clasp thee still.
But vain were all my pleading cries ;
My prayers, my longings, all were vain :
My wild lament might reach the skies,
But could not call thee back again.
And time wrore on ; the summer days
Dragged, with slow step, their weary length,
While upward still my earnest gaze
Would wander as I prayed for strength.
I mind me when the great eclipse
Spread its black wings o'er earth and sea,
With eager eye and parted lips
I stood to catch a glimpse of thee.
I said, ' If from the jasper wall
The angels lean toward friends below,
Thy searching glance may on me fall,
Thy gentle whispers soothe my woe.'
But through the shade no gleam was given,
I could but watch and yearn-in vain ;
It only met the frown of Heaven,
My wish to call thee back again.
And so, as each returning year
Brought round the day that claimed my child,
With bursting sigh and blinding tear
It found me still unreconciled.
It seemed so long to watch and wait:
My selfish sorrow made me blind ;
I charged my bitter loss to fate,
Nor felt the chastening Hand was kind.
The wild, wild wish to have thee here,
Close to my heart, in joy or pain,
Was all I craved,—to feel thee near,
To have thee, darling, back again.
But now, oh now, I see it all
With vision clear, with open eyes,
And would not, if I could, recall
Thy deathless spirit from the skies.
Nor will I think the blight and gloom
That sear and shade a world like ours,
Are known to those who rest in bloom
And brightness in the Eden bowers.
Forever safe, forever blest,
'Tis sweet to know thou wilt remain ;
And from that true, abiding Rest
I would not call thee back again.
One Year Old
Sitting with my babes around me,
And the youngest on my knee,
Gazing' through the open lattice
At the sunlight warm and free;
Thinking how my spirit doteth
On this blessed Autumn-time,
How she loves its low-voiced whispers
Better than the Christmas chime,
Or the babbling of the brooklet
When it bursts its icy band,
Winter's close and Spring's returning
Loud proclaiming through the land,—
Musing thus, my eye unconscious
Seeks the lambkin of our fold,
And Remembrance softly murmurs,
' She is just a twelvemonth old !'
Little hands ! 'neath their light pressure
Naught but dimples now I trace ;
Trusting eyes, turned fondly upward,
Mutely woo a warm embrace.
Timid lips, that ne'er have ventured
On the first sweet, trembling word,
Fluttering voice, that utters only
Cooings like some nestling bird,
Save when raised in mocking laughter
As she joins the children's play,
Listening to their gleeful chorus:
' Addie's one year old to-day !'
Tottering feet, that claim the guidance
Of a mother's guarding hand ;
Tiny form, that bends and trembles
In its weak attempts to stand;
Will that hand be spared to guide thee
Onward through the coming years ?
Will her voice be near to banish
All thy childish doubts and fears?
Precious one ! when slumber binds thee
Thoughts like these so often start,
For there's many a secret longing
Prisoned in a mother's heart.
Should this be, O Father ! aid me
In the truths I would impress ;
When I crave Divine Assistance,
Deign to hearken and to bless.
Sooner than these feet should wander
Wayward, erring, from the Right,
Or these hands in acts of kindness
Never learn to take delight;
Sooner than these lips should utter
Slander base or black untruth,
And this spotless soul be sullied
In the golden hour of youth;
Sooner, though the pang it cost me
Might be more than I could bear,
Would I see the death-dew gather
Now upon her forehead fair;
Sooner, when the spring-time cometh,
Part the grass above the mold,
Reading on the tablet o'er her:
'Little Addie, one year old.'
The Saddest Thing
I've done the saddest thing to-day
That ever fell to woman's lot:
I've folded all her clothes away,
And every treasured plaything brought
To lay beside them, one by one;
Her birthday gifts and Christmas toys,
And then to weep, when all was done,
O'er buried hopes and vanished joys.
Her little -dress, in childish haste,
Her own dear hands had laid aside;
Upon the pins that held the waist
I pressed my lips, and softly cried.
Within her gaiters, 'neath my chair,
Two half-worn, crimson stockings lay,
And with a pang of wild despair
I bent and hid them all away.
The purple ribbon that she wore,
The coral trings and pin were there,
And just beneath them, on the floor,
The silken band that tied her hair.
A handkerchief that bore her name
Was folded like a tiny shawl;
And, wrapped within this snowy frame,
Just as she left it, lay her doll.
It bled afresh, this wounded heart,
As if with some new sorrow stung,
As, with a wild and sudden start,
I came to where her cloak was hung.
I caught it, sobbing, to my breast,
As if it held the missing form,
And in low murmurs fondly blest
What once had kept my darling warm.
Her gentle fingers seemed to glide
Across my brow to soothe my pain,
As from the pockets at the side
I drew the gloves that still retain
The impress of those loving hands,
Whose magic touch seemed fraught with power
To cheer me 'mid the scorching sands
Of sorrow, in life's desert hour.
Her little hat no more will take
To its embrace her sunny hair;
I felt that my poor heart must break
To see it lying, empty, there.
The beaming eyes it used to shade
No more with trustful glance will shine;
The grass the early spring hath made
Is growing 'twixt her brow and mine.
Her silk and thimble both were laid
With thread and scissors on the stand;
Her dolly's dress, but partly made,
Seemed waiting for the molding hand.
The drawing of a blighted vine,
Torn, ruthless, from a withered tree,
Meet emblems of her life and mine,
Were the last lines she traced for me.
Oh ! was there ever grief like this ?
Can sorrow take a form more wild
Than sweeps across us when we miss
The presence of a darling child ?
And is there any thought that cheers
Like this, the heart by anguish riven,—
That Time was given to mark our tears,
Eternity to measure Heaven ?
A Dirge For Horace Greeley
Weep, weep, O my country ! the cord has been severed
That bound the great heart of a statesman to thee ;
The spirit has fled that so nobly endeavored
To save from Disunion the land of the Free.
The beautiful rod and the strong staff are broken,
A gem from the casket of glory is reft ;
He is gone, but his eloquent words as a token
Of genius unrivaled shall ever be left.
'Mid the storms of the past, though the billows swept o'er him,
He stood, all undaunted by tempest or tide ;
For the Nation, his idol, lay bleeding before him,
And he sprang to his duty and knelt by her side.
The Union, the home of the brave and true-hearted,
Half palsied through fear by War's startling command,
With white arms upraised, all her courage departed,
In silent despair gave the statesman her hand.
As tender as brave, with a patriot's devotion,
He held and sustained her till danger was past;
With whispers of cheer checked the rising commotion,
And led her, unharmed, to a haven at last.
And when the fierce roar of the battle was over,
And Peace brooded down over hill-side and plain,
He gathered the bands we thought scattered forever,
And tried, with firm hand, to unite them again.
The boon of a Nation we claimed as his dower,—
Of her he had struggled so nobly to save ;
But friends turned aside at the hope-freighted hour,
And freemen bestowed on their Greeley —a grave.
Yet it was not defeat, —he, unmurmuring, bore it,
Till stung by the venom of taunting and sneer ;
Then shrank his great heart from the clutches that tore it.
While mind fell a victim to torturing fear.
Ah, friends ! ye should learn that all brave hearts aie tender ;
That heroes stand firm 'mid the clash of the sword ;
But spirits like fris may be forced to surrender
When the weapon ye use is a low, scathing word.
I tell you 'twere kinder if blood had flowed freely,
Had our martyr been slain by an enemy's hand,
Than to sting him to madness, —to offer our Greeley
A sacrifice here, in his own native land !
Yet worth cannot die; and, on history's pages,
His record will tell what he dared for our sake ;
And proudly reveal to the oncoming ages
How a statesman can live and a true luart can break.
Oh, that generous heart ! it was full to o'erflowing
When the wife of his youth and his country were there ;
But the one had passed on, and the other was going
Far, far from his reach, and he died of despair.
The Dying Soldier
With forehead throbbing from pain,
With lips that were burning and dry,
A soldier lay, between heaps of slain,
By his comrades left to die.
Moans ! moans ! moans !
The air reeled, sick as they fell,
Yet still he sang the ' Song of the War,'
In the tone of a funeral knell.
'Fight ! fight! fight!
Through the summer's fervid heat;
And fight ! fight ! fight !
'Mid rain and snow and sleet.
Scarcely an hour to rest,
Scarcely an hour to pray,
Until, like me, a comrade falls
In the midst of the deadly fray.
' March ! march ! march !
Till the limbs are numb and sore;
And march ! march ! march !
Till the feet are bathed in gore.
Grown so athirst for blood
That, while halting, by woods or streams,
We fall asleep to meet our foes,.
And shoot them down in our dreams.
'On! on! on!
Brave comrades, with purpose true !
Your steadfast souls must never swerve
From the work ye dare to do.
For the Union ye must defend,—
Ay ! barter your lives to save,—
Now stands, like a reeling, tottering ship,
On the brink of a yawning grave.
' Peace ! peace ! peace !
O God ! will it never come ?
I can almost hear that pleading cry
From lips now pale and dumb ;
Can almost catch the words,
As they echo, near and far,
Through the widow's plaint and the orphan's wail,
' We have had enough of War !'
Home ! home ! home !
What memories o'er me steal!
It were sweet to die with the loved ones there,
In the room where we used to kneel
And offer our evening prayer
For those who had gone to fight ;
Ah me ! what a bitter time was that
When I breathed a sad l Good-night !'
'I think that I tasted all
The wormwood in sorrow's cup,
When Mary covered her streaming eyes
And held the baby up,—
When mother, so old and frail,
Came in for a parting kiss,
And prayed we might meet in a better world,
If not again in this.
' Home ! home ! home !
Oh, would they. were with me here !
To press their lips to my burning cheeks,
Or dew them with a tear.
Fond heart ! it is hard to go
When life seems so full of joy !
Who will shield my wife and the aged one,
And my helpless baby boy?'
With forehead throbbing from pain,
With lips that were fevered and dry,
A soldier lay, between heaps of slain,
By his comrades left to die.
The struggle—the fight was o'er;
His soul, on that summer's even,
Had floated off from the field of blood,
To Home and Peace and Heaven.
Nelly 's Story
It was on a lovely evening
In the merry month of June,
That we sailed upon the waters clear,
Beneath the rising moon.
We had often sat together thus,
Young Lawrence Grey and I,
And watched the Night-Queen rolling
Through her kingdom in the sky.
He spoke as he was wont to speak,
In whispers soft and low,
Of moonlit skies and slumbering flowers,
And wavelets' murmuring flow.
In vain I listened for the words
I longed to hear him say ;
He breathed them not, —my heart was sad,—
I loved young Lawrence Grey.
Long had I known him ; oft had sat
Within the leafy grove,
And hoped to hear him whisper low
An earnest tale of love ;
Or stood, expectant, by his side,
At twilight's stilly hour,
And felt across my senses steal
A spell of wondrous power.
But Hope, the siren, from my heart
Had well-nigh ta'en her flight ;
And dark despair sat brooding there
Upon that summer's night.
And when, at last, a sacred hush
Fell upon wood and stream,
My thoughts were busy with the past,
While Lawrence seemed to dream.
I touched the water with my hand,
And tried to catch each gem
That, with the moonbeams, formed a gay,
A sparkling diadem.
A sudden fancy seized my brain,—
' Suspense is worse than death;
'Twill test his love to run the risk,—
I can but lose my breath.'
One parting glance was all I gave ;
But 'he beheld me not,
So closely were his senses bound
By deep, unfathomed thought.
' Forgive me, Heaven !' I softly said ;
' Now love or death must win !'
And, with the words, the skiff upset,
And I — I tumbled in.
One moment dark dismay became
A tenant of my breast ;
Another, every doubt gave way,—
All fear was lulled to rest.
A strong arm bore me to the shore,
Upheld my sinking form,
While tear-drops fell upon my cheeks
All fresh and bright and warm.
' Gone, almost gone !' he wildly said,
And smoothed my dripping hair ;
Then pressed his lips upon my own,
And left love's signet there.
A 'wildering bliss, an untold joy,
Across my being stole ;
And eyelids, that till then were closed,
No longer brooked control.
'Lawrence !' I slowly, feebly said, —
A flush suffused his cheek ;
Then, quick, he told me all his lips
Had long refused to speak:
He said he worshiped —he adored ;
If I would be his own,
Henceforth his aim in life should be
My happiness alone.
What answered I? Ask of the moon,
That now, all radiant, shone ;
Or of the still, pale stars beyond,
That tremblingly looked on.
I've tried a thousand times to think,
But tried, alas! in vain ;
Those words escaped from Memory's chart,
And ne'er came back again.
'Twas not till many years had fled
With many joys away,
And I had long been known to friends
As 'sober Nelly Grey,'
That I could venture to confess,
To him who used to dream,
That it was not an accident—
My falling in'the stream.
He scarce believed me when I said
I made the skiff capsize ;
Or that I heard the words he spoke
Before I oped my eyes.
He smiled, though, when he heard me say,
' If I were young once more,
And loved and doubted, I would act—
Just as I did before. ' '
Legend Of The Indian Summer
I have learned a simple legend,
Never found in books of lore,
Copied not from old tradition,
Nor from classics read of yore ;
But the breezes sang it to me
With a low and soft refrain,
While the golden leaves and scarlet
Fluttered down to catch the strain.
And the grand old trees above me,
As their stately branches swayed,
Threw across my couch of crimson
More of sunlight than of shade.
I had lain there dreaming, musing
On the summer's vanished bloom,
Wondering if each penciled leaflet
Did not mark some flow'ret's tomb ;
Thinking how each tree could tell me
Many a tale of warrior's fame;
Gazing at the sky, and asking
How the ''Indian Summer' came.
Then methought a whispered cadence
Stole from out the haunted trees,
While the leaves kept dropping, dropping,
To the music of the breeze.
'I will tell thee,' said the whisper,
'What I've learned from Nature's book;
For the sunbeams wrote this legend
On the margin of a brook.
' 'Tis about an Indian maiden,
She the star-flower of her race,
With a heart whose soft emotions
Rippled through her soul-lit face.
'All her tribe did homage to her,
For her father was their chief;
He was stern, and she forgiving,—
He brought pain, and she relief.
'And they called him 'Indian Winter,'
All his actions were so cold ;
Her they named the 'Indian Summer,'
For she seemed a thread of gold
' Flashing through her native forest,
Beaming in the wigwam lone,
Singing to the birds, her playmates,
Till they warbled back her tone.
' When the summer days were ended,
And the chilling months drew near,
When the clouds hung, dull and leaden,
And the leaves fell, brown and sere,
' Brought they to the chieftain's presence
One, a ' pale-face,' young and brave,
But whom youth nor manly valor
Could from savage vengeance save.
' ' Bring him forth !' in tones of thunder
Thus the 'Indian Winter' cried,
While the gentle ' Indian Summer'
Softly flitted to his side.
' When the tomahawk was lifted,
And the scalping-knife gleamed high,
Pride, revenge, and bloody hatred
Glared within the warrior's eye;
'And the frown upon his forehead
Darker, deeper, sterner grew ;
While the lowering clouds above them
Hid the face of heaven from view.
' ' Spare him ! oh, my father, spare him!'
Friend and foe were thrust apart,
While the golden thread of sunlight
Twined around the red man's heart.
' And her eye was full of pity,
And her voice was full of love,
As she told him of the wigwam
On the hunting-ground above,
' Where great Manito was talking,—
She could hear him in the breeze ;
How he called the ' pale-face' brother—
Smoked with him the pipe of peace.
' Then the warrior's heart relented,
And the glittering weapon fell:
1 For the maiden's sake,' he muttered,
' Thou art pardoned,— fare thee well !'
' And the sun, that would have slumbered
Till the spring-time came again,
Earthward from his garnered brightness
Threw a flood of golden rain;
'And the 'Indian Summer' saw it,
She, the gentle forest child ;
And to ' Indian Winter' whispered,
* See how Manito has smiled !'
'All the tribe received the omen,
And they called it by her name :
Indian Summer, Indian Summer,
It will ever be the same.
'Though the ' pale-face' gave another
To the lovely maid he won,
Nature still receives her tribute
From the wigwam of the sun.
' Here, alone, this shining symbol
Gilds the streamlet, warms the sod,
For no Indian Summer cometh
Save where Indian feet have trod.'
Came she with the April dawning ;
Such a tiny, tender thing,
Little sisters thought a seraph
Bore her earthward 'neath its wing.
And they said her harp was heavy
As her golden, starry crown,
Else the kind bestowing angel
Would have tried to bring it down.
And they spoke in softest whispers
When she nestled to my breast,
Saying, as they gazed above them,
' 'Twas so far she needeth rest.'
So she slumbered, Baby Margie,
Dreaming of her native skies;
This we knew, for, on awaking,
Heaven still lingered in her eyes.
April flow' ret ! Spring's first blossom !
How our thoughts would onward rove,
Picturing, from her fair unfolding,
What the perfect flower might prove !
Thinking how new joy would thrill us,
Deeper transports still be stirred,
When her trembling voice came freighted
With the first sweet, lisping word.
Musing how her step uncertain
Soon our guidance would repay ;
Tender feet ! Life's paths were rugged,—
All too rough to lure her stay.
So she wandered, Baby Margie,
Upward to the golden strand,—
Left the hearts that could not hold her,
Reaching toward the spirit-land.
Earth seems lone and drear without her,
Home is robbed of half its bliss,
For our hearts' exultant morning
Broke with her awakening kiss.
Faith looks up, but Love still turneth,
Bruised and bleeding, to the dust ;
And, in tones of wildest anguish,
Cries to Him for perfect trust.
Lips whose gentlest pressure thrilled us,
Cheek and brow so saintly white,
Underneath the church-yard daisies
They have hid ye all from sight.
Though we yielded back her spirit
Trustingly to God who gave,
'Twas as if our hearts were buried
When we left our darling's grave.
There's an empty crib beside us,
And the wrappings still remain,
Showing, from their careful folding,
Where a precious form has lain.
Yestereve a string of coral,
In my searching, met my view,
And a half-worn, crimson stocking
Prisoned in a dainty shoe.
When the children's sports are over,
When their mimic work is done,
When they come and kneel before me,
Hushed and solemn, one by one,—
When their low-voiced 'Our Father'
Meekly from their young lips fall,
And they rise and wait in silence,
Then I miss her most of all.
'Twas her lips, while yet she lingered,
Claimed the last, the warmest kiss,
And their saddened, wistful glances
Tell me truly what they miss.
And they wonder if she wants me
In her home so strange and new ;
'Tis a point I cannot answer,
For I often wonder, too.
Though I know the seraphs bore her
To the mansions of the blest ;
Still, I think, she must have missed me
When she left my longing breast.
And I trust some angel-mother,
Followed by her pleading eyes,
Took her gently to her bosom
When my cherub reached the skies.
Father-love, I know, is holy :
In the heavenly Parent's arms
All His spotless lambs are gathered,
Free from pain or earth's alarms.
But the thought that some fond mother,
Yearning for her babe below,
Clasped my little orphan -angel
To her heart, with love aglow,
Makes me feel that naught is wanting
To perfect her bliss above ;
For her gentle, trusting spirit
Needs a mother's tenderest love.
Kind Old Year ! thou gavest our treasure
With the opening buds of spring,
And our grateful spirits thanked thee
For thy vernal offering.
But, alas ! thou couldst not leave her
To the chance of coming woe,
So thou blessed her dreamless slumber
Ere thy summons came to go.
Fond Old Year ! Such tearful memories
Bind my mourning soul to thee !
In thy arms my baby tasted
Life and immortality.
Thou and she have gone together,—
Crossed the bounds of Time's dark swell,—
Therefore let my benediction
Mingle with thy parting knell.
The Shadows On The Wall
Fever sapped my very life-blood, frenzy fired my tortured brain,
And the friends who watched beside me, felt their lingering hopes were vain.
I was going —going from them, all unconscious of their fears ;
Hastening to the Silent Valley, deaf to moans and blind to tears.
But a change was wrought at midnight —the destroyer's hand was stayed,
And the frenzy and the fever fled, affrighted and dismayed.
And the dear ones who had trembled as I neared the mystic goal,
Spoke in glad, rejoicing whispers as light slumber held control ;
All, save one, the youngest —fairest— gentle friend of other years,
Who knelt reverently beside me, and returned her thanks with tears.
Since the sunny days of childhood we had known each other well,
And each fleeting year we numbered but increased love's magic spell ;
But, till sickness felled me, never did her acts of love divine
Seem to drop, like gems unnumbered, from a great exhaustless mine.
With a sister's sweet devotion would her young head o'er me bow,
As she bathed my cheeks with kisses, and with tear-drops dewed my brow,
Like a fond and gentle mother on her bosom lay my head,
And, in soft, endearing accents, speak of happy hours long fled.
When the dreadful dream was ended, when delirium's spell was broke,
When, with all an infant's weakness, I to consciousness awoke,
I could see the form of Emma round my darkened chamber glide,
And could hear her sweet voice breathing soothing whispers by my side
Not till stars were shining brightly in the blue sky overhead
Would she leave me to my slumbers with a Sibyl's noiseless tread,
Then, within the room adjoining, sat she with attentive ear,
Ready, at the slightest murmur, at my bedside to appear.
Well, one eve my eye had wandered from the bright and cheerful light
That came streaming through the doorway, to the wall so smooth and white,
When methought I heard a footfall ('twas not Emma's, I was sure)
Stepping lightly through the hall and pausing at the inner door.
It was opened —oh, so softly I could scarcely hear the sound ;
Had a human hand unclosed it, or were spirits stalking round ?
While I looked and thought and wondered, lo ! there glided from the hall,
With a stealthy tread, a shadow, and stood waiting on the wall.
'Twas as handsome as the 'photos' done by Emerson last week ;
Its two lips were slightly parted, as though just about to speak ;
And its eyes —I lost their color with their most bewitching flash,
Yet I saw it sported whiskers and a slightly-curled moustache ;
Then its nose was sharp and classic, —it was finely built and tall,
And a full round chin and forehead had this shadow on the wall.
Quick before my wondering vision did a second shadow glide ;
It excelled the air in fleetness till it reached the other's side.
Ah ! full well that face, that figure, and those graceful curls were known,
For, with sportive pencil, oft had I the self-same outline drawn.
And, so great was my amazement, I my voice could scarce suppress
When I saw these phantom figures meeting with a warm caress ;
And —my memory here grows faithless —I can only just recall
That I saw four lips of shadow meet upon the pictured wall.
When the pantomime was ended, I grew restless from surprise,
And, remembering not my weakness, I in vain essayed to rise ;
But the shadows heard my movement, and they fled before my gaze
With the swiftness of the lightning, choosing wisely different ways;
And when, in a moment after, bent a fair face o'er my bed,
Eyes were closed and breast was heaving: 'Sleeping sweetly,' Emma said;
Never dreamed she that the sleeper had been witness to it all,
Or, more truly, to the tableau of the shadows on the wall.
Often have I seen the substance of the shadow first since then,
And no nobler heart is numbered in the family of men.
He is worthy of his Emma, who, now standing by his side,
Does not note his beaming glance of mingled tenderness and pride.
With one hand upon his shoulder and the other clasped in mine,
She's been coaxing for a poem about ' Charles and Emmeline ;'
And I've quickly snatched my pencil for the first time to recall
To the twain the summer's eve I saw the shadows on the wall.
The Eastern Star
Read before the members of this degree at Hamilton, Illinois, on St. John's Day, June 24, 1875.
Most worthy Patron, Matron, friends,
The blue sky fondly o'er us bends;
This grand old river at our feet
Listens, as if 'twould fain repeat
To distant shore or passing breeze
A murmur of our melodies.
Oh, wisely chosen, the gentle Five,
Whose spotless virtues we should strive
To imitate, that we may be
Worthy adoptive Masonry ;
Worthy to learn their sacred rite
When heavenly Orders greet our sight;
Worthy to catch the mystic sign
When Eastern stars below us shine;
Worthy to learn the pass-word given
By the sweet Sisterhood of heaven,
When golden gates are open wide,
By loved ones on the other side.
Mizpah!* the very name is fraught
With sweet significance ; for thought
Carries the heart to other years;
The circlet on the hand appears
As first it glowed when, 'Only thine,'
Responded to the mystic sign.
On Gilead's mount the maiden stood,
Not dreaming of the vow of blood
That bound her, in her budding bloom,
To meet a dread, unaltered doom.
The father came, exultant, back,
Hoping a pet -lamb on the track
Would, bounding, welcome his return ;
But, ah ! sad fate the truth to learn !
His lovely child, with flying feet,
Hastened, her honored sire to meet.
Then Jephthah told his vow, and said,
' Would that my life might serve instead !'
But the proud daughter answered, ' No !
'Twas to the Lord,—it must be so.'
That answer stands, a first Degree,
In our adoptive Masonry.
O Constancy ! bright badge of love,
Ruth did thy mighty fullness prove.
' Where'er thou goest I will go;
Thy resting-place I, too, must know;
Thy fate, thy country, I will try,
And where thou diest I will die.'
Forsaking Moab's dewy sod,
Her kindred and her people's God,
Of faithful Mahlon's love bereft,
Her fond heart had Naomi left.
' Esther, my queen ! what wilt thou, say?
If half my kingdom, I obey !'
The golden sceptre near her bent,
Admiring numbers gazed intent;
She, kneeling, touched the shining thing,
And cried, ' My people ! O my king !'
Fidelity to kindred shone
In every feature, and her tone,
Though tremulous, was firm and brave
As the fond look of love she gave.
The Crown and Sceptre thus find place
Whene'er our third Degree we trace.
' Hadst Thou been here, he had not died !'
Weeping, the trusting Martha cried ;
'Yet, even now, O blessed Lord,
My soul hangs trembling on Thy word !'
Oh, love sublime ! Oh, wondrous power,
To stay her in affliction's hour!
Her white arms, raised in mute appeal,
Her spirit's eager hope reveal.
She sees,—she feels her Saviour nigh,
And Faith repeats its yearning cry :
'I know that he will rise again,
Yet even now'—and not in vain
The sweet voice plead,—she led the way
To where the lifeless Lazarus lay;
And then across His brow there swept
A mortal sorrow,—
Then His diviner nature spoke :
' Lazarus, come forth !' The dead awoke
To learn a woman's faith could prove
The largeness of a Saviour's love,
To learn His pitying heart could melt
When those He Joved in anguish knelt.
Our broken Column,—fourth Degree,
Is type of Death in Masonry;
The Evergreen, its shaft beside,
Emblem of fields beyond the tide,
Where, in Fidelity complete,
Sits Martha at her Saviour's feet.
' Forgive them, Father ! they are blind !'
Thus prayed Electa, ever kind;
Her husband, children, home were gone,
Yet, brave and true, she stood alone.
The tender hands that gently led
The needy in, the hungry fed,
That prisoned in their fervent hold
The wretched wanderer, pinched and cold,
That held her hospitable Cup
To famished lips so bravely up,
Those hands condemned (so soft and fair)
The Crucifixion pang to bear !
Her perfect confidence in God,
Her sweet submission 'neath the rod,
Form, of her attributes, the key
To ope our sacred fifth Degree.
Lo ! in the East the Magi saw
The star, and, filled with holy awe,
They followed, in their winding way,
To where the Babe of Bethlehem lay.
A woman's hand its brow caressed,—
'Twas pillowed on a woman's breast;
While its first look of pleased surprise
Found answer in a woman's eyes.
Then, may not Woman bear a part
In Masonry's exalted art?
And what bright emblem, near or far,
Significant as Eastern Star?
Our Worthy Matron long has stood
Crowned with her badge of Motherhood,
And knows full well the rapturous bliss
That woke with Mary's welcoming kiss.
Our Worthy Patron guardian stands,
Ready to guide with willing hands;
Explaining Emblem, Signet, Hue,
Exhorting us to honor true,
Telling how widowed Ruth 'could glean
Humbly the golden sheaves between ;
Extolling Martha's changeless trust,
When life had sought its kindred dust ;
Recalling Esther's pleading tone,
That moved* Assyria's mighty throne;
And holding, like a crystal cup,
Electa's pure devotion up.
Be ye, my sisters, tender, true,
As our sweet type, the Violet blue ;
Steadfast as flower that ne'er will shun
The rising nor the setting sun.
Pure as the spotless Lily shine;
Changeless and bright as leaves of Pine;
Fervent of soul as Life can be
When warmed by glowing Charity.
Friends, brothers of the mystic tie,
Can we, unnoticed, pass you by ?
You, who have dried the widow's tears
And hushed the trembling orphan's fears?
Who, linked as in a golden band,
With widening circles fill our land?
Can aged eyes, though dimmed by tears,
Shut out the home that still appears
Changeless and bright to memory's view
As when both life and hope were new?
Can the fair bride forget the tone
That answers fondly to her own?
Or sister from remembrance tear
An elder brother's constant care ?
Till this can be will we disclaim
That Masonry is but a name;
Till this can be we'll chant afar
The praises of the Eastern Star,
That led the wandering shepherds on
Until, at the awakening dawn,
It rested, like a royal gem,
Upon the brow of Bethlehem.
Eighteen Hundred And Sixty-Two
I'd a dream last night : in the dim twilight
I was thrilled by a strange emotion ;
For the Old Year came, with his withered frame,
And led me on by a torch of flame
To the verge of the p&hless ocean.
In our onward flight, by the lurid light
Beamed his eye with a spectral brightness;
And he shivered so in the drifting snow,
While his silvered hairs fluttered to and fro
O'er a forehead of ghostly whiteness.
Yet he made no moan as we hurried on,
While the stars bent, pitying, o'er him;
Though from rock and dell rose a parting knell,
And the weird trees whispered a low farewell
As their shadows knelt before him.
But he paused with me by the grand old Sea,
Where the Nighty in her glory slumbered ;
And he gathered sand from the golden strand,
And said, as it dropped from his palsied hand,
' 'Tis thus that my hours are numbered.
' Yet before I go to my couch of snow
I will sing, though my voice may quiver;
For my heart is brave as yon dauntless wave
That laughs ere it leaps to its ocean grave,
To be locked in its depths forever.
' But no thought of earth, with her joy and mirth,
Upon memory's page is beaming;
Not her sweet spring flowers, or her summer hours,
Or the whispered echoes from love-lit bowers,
Or her bright autumnal gleaming.
'For these strains are old, you have heard them told
By the years that have dawned and perished ;
And the witching ways of their smiling Mays,
And their golden, dreamy October days,
Are like those I once fondly cherished.
' So my voice shall sweep to the boundless deep,
Far down 'neath the wild waves hoary,
That madly tore from their glittering floor
The magic chain, lest the listening shore
Might learn of their viewless glory.
* * * *
' Then list to me, and I'll sing to thee
Of the mystic depths where I've wandered free;
Of the coral halls and the diamond bed
Where old Neptune sits with his pale-faced dead;
Of the fairy grottoes of gold and pearl,
That the sea-nymphs weave for each fair young girl
That the storm-king bears from the ocean's crest
And lays, in her beauty, down to rest.
' Oh, wonderful things have I seen below,
Where the bright fern clings and the sea-flowers blow;
Where the mermaids gather and slyly hide
Their red-lipped shells from the amorous tide;
Where shattered wrecks, with their gold-heaped spars,
On the pebbles gleam like a heaven of stars.
' 'There is one bright spot that I love to scan:
'Tis the emerald couch of a valiant man,
Whom the breakers' roar nor the flame-lit sky,
Nor the prayers of kindred, could urge to fly.
The ship's on fire !' like a funeral knell
On the hearts of that startled crew it fell;
And strong men shook, as the lurid glare
On the waters gleamed like a hideous stare;
And women shrieked, as with fiendish sound
The fiery serpents hemmed them round,
And hissed in glee as their fangs were pressed
Through the babes that slept on their mothers' breast.
But the brave commander, with dauntless mien,
At the helm of the sinking ship was seen
And when maddened flames through the crackling shrouds
And the hot air leaped till they licked the clouds,
When the whirlwind force of the tempest's breath
Swept the tottering wreck in the jaws of death,
With the firm, strong grasp of an iron will
He clung to the mast, and he clings there still.
' The beautiful maidens adown the main
Have tried to untwine his grasp in vain;
They made him a couch of the greenest moss
And the snow-white down of the albatross;
And they placed at the head, for a funeral stone,
The shell that could utter the softest moan ;
And they tried to melt in their gentle hold
The icy touch of those fingers cold.
But they found it vain ; so with tender care
They wove a pillow of sea-weeds there,
And, circling around it, these matchless girls
Knelt as they severed their own bright curls,
And tossed them down till their sheen was pressed
By the brave man's feet they had wooed to rest.
And 'tis thus he stands, like a warrior bold,
Chained to the wreck with his iron hold.
'And far away, where the billows moan
In a sadder strain and with softer tone,
I have seen, in its infant beauty, lay
A bright creation of human clay,
As pure its cheek and its brow as fair
As dews from heaven or the snow-flakes are;
And the dimpled hands round that cherub face
Were fondly clasped in a long embrace,
While the sleep that closed its unconscious eye
Grew deep 'neath the waves' soft lullaby.
A. lonesome thing seemed that babe to me,
Rocked in the arms of the great, broad sea;
A wee, small thing to have come so far
All by itself, without spot or scar;
A frail, weak thing, with no hand to guide
Such tender feet down the rugged tide.
Yet I know when they launched that unguided barge
The void in its mother's heart seemed large
As the ocean's self, and her grief as wild
As the breakers dashing above her child.
' But my strain must cease :—through the starlight clear
I have heard the steps of the coming Year;
My pulses flutter, my eye grows dim,
Yet once I was merry and strong like him.
Oh, my brighter days !—they are crowding back :
I am gazing now on Spring's rosy track,
Till the Summer comes with her broad, bright smile,
And the Autumn follows her steps the while.
But they vanish now,—yes, they all have flown,
And left me here, with the Night, alone.
I'm a frail old man,—all my bright dreams sped,
My fond hopes crushed, and my loved ones dead.
Well, my snow-couch waits me,—yon phantom bell
Is tolling slowly my parting knell.
I will rest me here where the wild waves sweep :—
Good-night, fair Earth, I—must—sink—to—sleep.'
So the Old Year slept, and the New Year leaped
From the clouds to the moaning billow;
And he bade it stand on the golden strand,
And guide his steps with its jeweled hand
To the aged champion's pillow.
And the New Year bowed, while the starry crowd
That had thronged the verge of even
Marked his earnest gaze, and in hymns of praise
They told the birth of this Prince of Days
To the countless hosts of heaven.
And the clouds drew up, from their magic cup,
The tears that each gentle flower
Had wept unseen when the earth was green,
And faithless zephyrs, with flattering mien,
Went wooing from bower to bower.
And this treasured dew, when the year was new,
They poured from their crystal chalice,
Till it touched his brow, though I scarce knew how,
Nor yet who had breathed the baptismal vow
That rang through his midnight palace.
Then I saw him fly through the sapphire sky,
Earth's spells and her fetters scorning,
Till he sat alone where his sire had flown,
A crowned king on his royal throne:—
And when I awoke—it was morning.
Eighteen Hundred And Fifty-Nine
Oh, a grand old vessel was Fifty-Nine,
And a captain brave had she;
For eighteen hundred and more stout ships
He had steered over life's rough sea.
Eighteen hundred and more stout ships,
Bound not for different goals,
But all for the same, and freighted down
With cargoes of human souls.
And some of these souls were seared by crime;
Some, sin had made foul and black;
While others were pure as the flakes of snow
That cover our wild-flower track.
There were souls of monarchs, and souls of kings,
(The souls of their subjects, too ;)
And some were treacherous, false, and vile,
While others were heavenly true.
There were souls of brokers, bare, flinty things,
All shaved to tlie very core,
For even their honor was loaned on time,
At a hundred per cent, or more.
There were coquettes' souls of chameleon dyes,
And bachelors', knotty as pine,
And these unsocial and selfish souls
Came alone to old Fifty-Nine.
And old Captain Time, as they came aboard,
Counted all he could see;
But some were so narrow and shriveled up,
That they smuggled their passage free.
It was noon of night when the ship was launched,
But the ocean was calm and clear;
And merrily on, with her motley crew,
Went dancing the proud New Year.
On, past the glaciers of snow and ice
That decked the receding shore;
On to the isles where the spring-time sleeps,
Till she hears Time's distant oar.
And the forests woke when they heard afar
The flutter of coming sails ;
And whispered softly a low salute,
That was borne by the passing gales.
And every eye on the vessel's deck
Was turned toward that vision bright;
And those who worshiped at Nature's shrine
Were thrilled with a wild delight.
For those isles looked fair as a gleam of heaven
Through the sunset's golden bars;
Or like beauty's cheek, when its mantling flush
Is seen by the light of stars.
The ship was moored where the gentle flowers
Breathed fragrance on all around,
And the hours to some of the host within
Brought blessings and peace profound.
But, hark ! from the deck of old Fifty-Nine
A shout of defiance comes;
Then the tramp of feet, and the clang of war,
And the roll of advancing drums.
'To arms !' is echoed, in thunder-tones,
Through the din of the cannon's roar;
While sword and spear and the fair green earth
Are sated with human gore.
But Captain Time says never a word
To still the contending foes;
He has promised to steer the ship to port,
And has no hotirs to lose.
He is out, 'mid the blast and the shivering sails,
Tolling the funeral bell,
And every soul that can hear the sound
Sighs at the parting knell.
It tolls for one who has journeyed far,
Whose labors a world may boast;
Who has trodden Atlantic's crowded shore
And Pacific's quiet coast;
Whose wanderings led him o'er Southern plains,
Where eternal sunshine sleeps ;
And up to the loftiest Alpine height
Through snow-drifts' 'wildering steeps.
But Life's work is done, and the mourners pause
That the billows his dirge may sing,
As the dust of Humboldt is laid to rest
On the breast of the gentle Spring.
And slowly now is the vessel turned
From those bright, enchanting isles,
To hasten on where the Summer waits
With her witching, sunny smiles.
And it is not strange that those saddened hearts
Grew light as they neared her bowers,
And caught the gleam of her azure robes
Begirt with a zone of flowers;
Or that Captain Time, though his form is bent,
With labor and age and care,
Should feel a thrill through his palsied frame
When his ship was anchored there;
That the hoary seaman should half forget
The weight of unnumbered years,
When her rippling laugh, through ten thousand rills,
Was borne to his aged ears.
But see ! as they coast round those India isles,
Where the flowers of the orange blow,
Where the bulbul warbles its vesper hymns
By the light of the fire-fly's glow,
With the speed of thought he has left her side,
And fair Summer stands alone :
For off to the aft of old Fifty-Nine
Was a sound like a dying groan.
He has reached the spot, and he chants this dirge
As they bear the dust to shore,
And lay it down in its lonely bed
With a sigh of 'Nevermore' :
' Toll ! toll ! for a mighty soul
Is anchored in harbor now;
A mind creative, whose giant thoughts
Made men to his genius bow.
'Old Fifty-Nine, you are not so strong
Since you yielded up this prize;
You will feel no more his sustaining arm
When feuds and dissensions rise.
He will slumber here while incense sweet
From the date- and the palm-tree float ;
And a nation will hold in its heart of hearts
The name of the statesman Choate.
' But reef the topsail ! we may not wait
To sigh o'er the mighty dead,
For I know, from the surge of yon mountain waves,
There are breakers and shoals ahead.
Now cheerily, lads ! though the billows dash,
And the morrow bring cloudy weather,
We can bring her through with her motley crew
If we only ' pull together.''
And onward now, where grave Autumn sits
In her scarlet robes and golden,
And presses the juice from the purple grape
Like matrons in vineyards olden;
Where the blushing fruit from the ardent gaze
Of the sun drops down, to cover
The deepening flush that might else betray
Her heart to her distant lover:—
To this calm retreat Time hastens on,
To rest with the Autumn sober,
To gaze awhile on the cloudless skies
Of her dreamy, bright October.
But, hist ! there's an echo borne to his ear,
Too' feeble for distant thunder;
A sound as if fiends on old Fifty-Nine
Were tearing her shrouds asunder.
He turns and gazes ; no fleet of war
Has fired a signal warning;
He sees no speck upon sea or sky
On that fair autumnal morning.
And yet—'tis strange (he is very old,
And, perchance, he is frail and doting)—
But he fancies he sees the timbers shake
Where the Flag of the Free is floating.
And he thinks he hears (what absurd conceits
Make mortals unfit to reason !)—
He thinks he hears in that muffled sound
A murmur of 'Death and Treason.'
Yet he breathes no word of his doubts and fears,
Lest they call it imagination,
Until night comes on, and he finds the clan
At their murderous preparation.
And he looks aghast at the horrid work
The shadows of darkness cover,—
On the thirsty band that, like birds of prey,
O'er their slumbering victims hover.
And with scorn he turns from those dastard souls,
Their mutinous schemes bewailing,
While thought flies off to the days agone,
When old Fifty-Two was sailing.
And he thinks of one of its gallant crew,
Of his words of prophetic warning,
And sighs in vain for a Webster heart,
With patriot fervor burning.
'But, true hearts, rouse ye,' the captain cries,
As the tars from their hammocks spring ;
'We have traitors here we must urge to stay,
Till we let them off—with a swing.'
And once again is the vessel turned,
To stem the boisterous gales
That blow from the bleak December's shore
And moan through the shivering sails.
And hundreds of souls are landed here
On this coast so drear and bare,
While some are left on the vessel's deck
With looks of mute despair ;
For they see their captain's form on shore,
Afar o'er the waters wide,
And know that the ship is dashing on
To eternity's waiting tide.
And if ye list, at the dead of night,
To learn what her fate may be,
Ye may hear the wail of old Fifty- Nine
As she sinks in that soundless sea.
A Temperance Poem
Inscribed To The Ladies
Mr. Lionel Lightfoot, a man, you must know,
Whose life had been upright and blameless,
To the capital's chamber came three years ago
From a county that here shall be nameless.
He was loyal at heart, but all tyranny spurned,
And, when comrades endeavored to prove him,
Allegiance to Alcohol's power he spurned,—
Neither jeers nor persuasions could move him.
Though at club-room or bar they would oftentimes meet,
He ne'er treated, nor could be entreated to treat.
And now 'twas mid-winter, —the question was up
To legally sanction or banish the cup.
The ladies had come, with their beauty and grace,
To cheer the desponding and brighten the place.
Discussions grew warm, but all pleading was vain,
For Alcohol triumphed, and Whisky again
Would desolate hearthstones, —bring Want and Despair
To dear ones once guarded with tenderest care.
And Lightfoot lamented, —his mother's calm smile
Seemed resting upon him, —her voice, too, the while,
Those soft, tender tones to remembrance so dear,
Sweet, earnest, and true, floated back to his ear :
' My son, if they sanction this blight of the soul,
Forget not my teachings —beware of the bowl !'
The day had departed, the twilight had fled,
At the still hour of midnight the Old Year lay dead.
The breeze sighed its requiem, the ocean its moan,
For the aged and mighty who perished alone ;
But the sun of the morning rose fair o'er the scene
Where, in night's fearful silence, the death-pall had been.
And now it was New Year, —'a happy New Year,'—
And young Lightfoot were guilty of treason
If he failed to the fair ones in person to pay
His dues, with the dues of the season.
So, calling on Fairface, an exquisite dandy,
An ardent believer in spirits —of brandy,
He found him perturbed —in a barbarous passion,—
His moustache had been trimmed quite too close for the fashion ;
His head, too —oh, shocking to add to the list !—
Two hairs on the left the Macassar had missed.
But Lightfoot restored him : ' The former,' he said,
'Looked so foreign —distangué '(a beautiful red
He fain would have added, but paused, lest the ire
Of his comrade might set his adornment on fire.)
Then, waiting till Fairface made smooth as a die
For the fiftieth time his ' miwaculous tie,'
With assurance his collar just touched his goatee
Without varying, in distance, the slightest degree,
With cane between gloves of invisible green,
They called on Miss Mabel —society's queen ;
And, listening the while to the lively narrations
Of her numerous calls and her morning libations,
' Your health !' cries ma belle; returns Lightfoot, ' Ex-cuse me,
I never indulge.' ' What ! on New Year's refuse me !
Politeness demands it; beside' (soft and low),
' Champagne is so perfectly harmless, you know.'
Ah, woman, fair temptress, thou knew'st not the while
The doom that was sealed by that innocent smile;
Or how fatal the spell in that voice, that was given
To lure man from vice And direct him to heaven.
Thou saw' st not the phantoms that clutched at the bowl,
Nor the serpents that fastened their fangs in his soul ;
Thou heardst not the clank of the chains that were wound
By fiends that kept mocking the spirit they bound.
So Lightfoot was tempted, and yielded at last,
Beguiled by this siren of beauty ;
And, quitting her presence, he carried away
Her smile of approval as booty.
A dangerous trophy, these smiles of the fair;
They melted his good resolutions to air ;
For though he had reasoned, 'I'll only partake
This once of the wine, for the fair charmer's sake,'
He was sadly mistaken, —the breach had been made,
The fortress surrendered, its inmates betrayed ;
The noble resolves that had guarded the tower
Where Faith held her torch in temptation's dark hour,
The purposes high that had stamped on his brow
The glory of manhood, oh, where were they now?
But why follow on with the twain as they flit
From bower to bower, partaking?
Or tell how the feeble resolves of the one
Were seized with an ague of shaking?
How, long before night-fall, he fancied his brain
Was dancing a reel on a circular plain ?
How houses inverted, in warlike array,
Wheeled backward and forth in an endless chasse ?
We pass these sad pictures, nor linger to tell
How, step after step, from true manhood he fell.
How at first he took naught but the choicest of wine,—
Some ancient Madeira, or rum superfine ;
How he drank but with gentlemen, such as would deign
To touch no cheap brandy nor third-rate champagne.
Behold him, at last, in some vice-crowded den,
Where skulk the crouched forms of what once ranked as men;
Where the pestilent fumes from each whisky-scorched throat
The pure air of heaven with plague-spots have smote ;
Where Malice, Pollution, and Wretchedness teem,
And Guilt stalks among them to mock and blaspheme.
There see him, the victim of Woman's soft smile,
Debauched and corrupted, degraded and vile.
Years pass, and again with our 'pillars of State'
Is the same question pending in earnest debate ;
The fair ones are listeners ; Miss Mabel has come
To hear of the darkness in many a home,—
Of the desolate hearthstones the rum-fiend has made,
Of promises broken and loved ones betrayed,
She listens —grows weary— departing, at last,
She hastes to her chamber to think of the Past.
Though languid, she wooes a calm slumber in vain,
For the sleep that should soothe her but frenzies her brain.
She dreams —'tis of Lightfoot : she tempts him to drink.
He quaffs at her bidding, then ceases to shrink
From frequent indulgence of evils the worst;
His hopes are all blasted, his life is accurst ;
She sees him descending from honor —renown—
And sinking to ruin —down— hopelessly down.
There, wrestling with rum-fiends, in fury he raves,
Like a soul reft of reason, on life's maddening waves.
Half palsied with fright, 'mid the demons he stands,
And wards off their blows with his skeleton hands.
His eyes start with horror, and fearfully gloat
On blades, newly whetted, that point at his throat.
He shudders and cringes from serpents that hiss
And dart their forked tongues from their slimy abyss ;
And, reeling from terror, he howls in his pains,
As devils incarnate stand welding his chains;
While one, a' pale imp, the grim valet of Death,
With fagots of sulphur is firing his breath.
O horror ! it blazes ! it seethes to his brain !
His heart-strings have cracked —the blood boils in each vein !
A shudder —a gasp— a wild effort to speak—
And Miss Mabel awakes with a hideous shriek.
O ladies ! dear ladies ! when next round the wine
Your delicate fingers caressingly twine,
When, like a soft blessing, the breath of your lips
Floats over and hallows the juice ere he sips,
Just call the crouched form of poor Lightfoot to view,
And know that the dream of Miss Mabel was true.
Then, by your allurements, teach man to refrain,
And prove that your charms were bestowed not in vain ;
Let your spotless example illustrate the plan
That woman was made as a help-meet for man,
To warn him from treading the pathway of sin
By the beautiful love-light that glows from within.
And, oh ! as ye muse oti that Eden above,
Whence spirits departed are gazing in love,
And guarding their kindred, who, chained by the clay,
Are prone by the tempter to wander astray,
A father's fond blessing may greet you, the while,
A sister bend over your couch with a smile,
A mother, in accents of rapturous joy,
May sing how your warnings have rescued her boy.
Then woman, O woman ! thy mission fulfill !
Know man is the subject —the slave to thy will!
Thou wast given to guide him, —his beacon and star
To cheer when beside him and gleam from afar.
Then keep thy soul white, for one shadow of sin
May dim the bright taper that burneth within ;
And vain are his struggles life's billows above,
When the beacon goes out in the light-house of love.
Iowa's Centennial Poem
A hundred years ago to-day
A barren wild our borders lay;
Our stately forests grandly stood
Wrapped in majestic solitude.
Our rivers, coursing to the sea,
Felt not the chain of tyranny;
Nor yet above their glittering sheen
Could Freedom's stripes and stars be seen.
The red man. moored his birch canoe
Where sweet wild-flowers luxuriant grew;
Where sumachs, o'er the pebbly brink,
Bent down their crimson lips to drink;
And violets, with their tender eyes,
Looked up in wondering surprise
At Indian maid, who, by the wave,
Waited to greet her warrior brave.
A hundred years ! Gone like a dream,
All, save our t woods and noble stream;
The red man, with his bended bow,
No longer fells the bounding doe.
The camp-fire's curling smoke no more
Is seen beside the chieftain's door,
As Black Hawk talks, in whispers grave,
To Gitchie Manito the Brave.
But on this broad, luxuriant plain
Wave golden fields of ripening grain;
Our pastures, with their gurgling rills,
Feed cattle on a thousand hills,
While giant steamers plow our streams,
From which our starry banner gleams.
The mansions on our prairies wide,
Oft with a rude cot by their side,
Show how, by years of patient toil,
The lordly tillers of our soil
Have reared such homes as freemen may
With all their shackles torn away.
The flying shuttle, whirling wheel,
Invention's mighty power reveal.
We sweep, by steam, o'er earth's broad track,
And lightning sends our whispers back.
We share the nation's glory, too,
By holding to the world's broad view
Our men of mark, of genius rare,
Scattered, like sunbeams, everywhere.
On history's page will shine most bright
Such names as Belknap, Kirkwood, Wright,
Howell, McCreary, Mason, Hall,
Dodge, faithful to his country's call,
And warriors who, through war's wild shock,
Anchored our ship on Union rock.
The call that rose at Lexington,
There Freedom's struggle was begun,
Reached not these shores, yet still we claim
This priceless heritage the same.
They were our ancestors who fought
When liberty with blood was bought.
And Concord, with her patriot band,
Whose sons to-day rejoicing stand,
Deserves no more the honors won
Than we, so near the setting sun.
Could our hearts bound with wilder thrill
If we had met on Bunker's Hill?
Are patriots truer on the sod
Whence those br^ave souls went up to God?
Not if, with loyal heart and hand,.
We held the heritage they planned;
Not if, along this verdant track,
When Dissolution's cloud hung black,
Our soldiers poured their blood like rain,—
Deluged our sod with crimson stain,—
And flung our starry banner out
With glad, prolonged victorious shout,
Proclaiming where its bright folds waved
Our fathers' boon—the Union—saved.
Yes, side by side with those who sped
Where'er the gallant Putnam led,
With those whose forms grew cold and still
Upon the brow of Bunker's Hill,
We proudly write, on History's page,
The heroes of the present age;
Our dauntless braves, who did not quail
Beneath the storm of iron hail,
But who, like valiant Warren, fell
Guarding the land they loved so well.
Mills, Baker, Torrence, Worthington,
Martyrs to Freedom dearly won,
Beside their tombs our patriots cry,
'As much of valor as could die!'
Ask ye if Woman shrinking stood,
When rang War's cry o'er field and flood?
Did mothers, racked by dire alarms,
Prison their sons with clinging arms?
No ; worthy of the patriot sires
That lit the Revolution fires,
They forced the tears, that needs must start.
Backward, to trickle through the heart,
And said, in accents firm and low,
' Our prayers will follow, —go, boys, go!'
So when ye boast, as boast ye will,
Of the green slopes of Bunker's Hill,
And vow that ne'er shall be forgot
How Shiloh and Pea Ridge were fought;
When, with fond pride, you teach your son
How Tuttle's men took Donelson;
When to Alltoona you refer,
And tell how Corse defended her;
Or when you link with Archer's name
The sword his son will proudly claim,
Forget not Woman, who, through tears,
Read how the form that other years
Had seen soft-pillowed on her breast,—
The lips her own* so fondly pressed
Had murmured forth their dying moan—
Had paled and chilled, unsoothed —alone,—
Remember, every gallant one
Who fell was some fond mother's son.
I stood beneath our State's proud dome,
And saw the dear old Flag* come home.
Weary and worn and well-nigh spent,
To you, O statesmen ! it was sent,
To hold as a more priceless gem
Than England's royal diadem.
On shattered staff the wounded bars
Held feebly up the golden stars,
While the scarred veteran seemed to say,
'E'en death is sweet in Iowa.'
I fancied, as they bore it by,
Its red stripes glowed with deeper dye,
Since it had cheered each patriot one
Whose life-blood crimsoned Donelson.
Purer its lines of spotless white
Since trusting mothers knelt at night,
Lifting their yearning souls above
On the white wings of Faith and Love,
Pleading His arm might be the stay
Of valiant hearts from Iowa.
Deeper its blue since dimming eyes
Had faintly smiled in sweet surprise
Upon the silken folds that spread
Their pitying shadows o'er the dead,—
The loyal dead, for whom 'twas meet
Their Flag should be their winding-sheet.
Brighter its stars of deathless sheen
Since it had waved o'er fields of green,
Floated where giant steamers sailed,
Swayed —trembled —reeled— yet never trailed.
Well may we celebrate this day
With glad, triumphant shout;
Well may we bid dull care 'Away,'
And fling our banners out.
E'en Nature joins the welcome sounds
By grateful hearts begun,
Till from our rocks and vales rebounds
The name of Washington.
England her Wellington may claim;
France of Napoleon boast;
Scotia extol the deathless fame
Of Wallace and his host;
But more ecstatic is the thrill
That fires Columbia's son,
When lip and voice grow strangely still
At thought of Washington.
Perchance e'en now the shades of those
Who first in battle led
Have left their Eden of repose
To hover o'er our head.
They were the sowers of the seed
That made our country free,
And we, the reapers, loud indeed
May shout forth ' Victory !'
Nor to the arm of flesh alone
Attribute our success;
But to the One who led us on—
The God who deigned to bless.
And while, to-day, our banners wave
For battles dearly won,
We bless the power that victory gave
To our own Washington.
Bought with the life-blood of the brave,
Held through dissension's shock,
The heritage our fathers gave
Stands firm on Freedom's rock.
Then send your welcomes near and far,
Let party discord cease;
And learn of him who, first in War,
Was first alike in Peace.
Yes, patriot brothers, awaken!
Leave the red field of carnage behind;
Be former contentions forsaken,
And thus prove all brave hearts are kind.
Would ye make this, our glorious Centennial,
A type of the Union above?
Then join in our earthly millennial,
And crown it with brotherly love.
Oh, be not by prejudice blinded!
Our wanderers had something to learn;
And by parable all are reminded
That e'en prodigal sons may return.
Then let generous welcomes be proffered;
Give them robes of a right royal hue;
Let the rings that restore them be offered
By victors who honor the Blue.
They have desolate hearthstones among them,
And hearts that still moan in their pain,
When the thought of the anguish that wrung them
Floats over remembrance again.
Then when come your tear-drops, upstarting,
For friends who passed over the tide,
Forget not that many a parting
Brought woe on the Southern side.
In the names of our patriots ascended;
In the names of our heroes who bled; .
By the cause they so nobly defended;
By the Rachels who moaned o'er our dead;
We ask you to pledge them, true-hearted,
A covenant-promise anew;
Remembering 'mong patriots departed
No line parts the Gray from the Blue.