'APOLLO laughs,' the proverb tells,
Far echo of old oracles,
A Delphic waif, —'Once in the year,
Apollo laughs.' O laughter clear
As sunshine, blithe as golden bells!
What mortal folly parallels
Olympian jest and so impels
To mirth till Heaven's bright charioteer,
Apollo, laughs?
'Tis when the annual critic knells
The death of poetry, while swells
Some faint, fresh wood-note, pioneer
Of music earth shall thrill to hear.
Then at Apollo's infidels
Apollo laughs.

WHITE year, white year,
Muffled soft in snow,
A diamond spray whose gems are gone
Before their grace we know,
A crystal-coated spray whose hours
Melt when looked upon,
Hoarfrost stars and hoarfrost flowers,
White year!
Green year, green year,
Sweet with sun and showers,
A windblown spray whose blossoms bright
Are the seven-colored hours,
A dancing spray whose leaves are days,
A spray whose leaves delight
In azure gleam and silver haze,
Green year!
New Year, new year
From rosy leaf to gold,
A shining spray on the Tree of Time
Where myriad sprays unfold,
A spray so fair that God may see
And gather it, bloom and rime,
To deck the doors of Eternity,
New Year!

The German-American

HONOR to him whose very blood remembers
The old, enchanted dream-song of the Rhine,
Although his house of life. is fair with shine
Of fires new-kindled on the buried embers;
Whose heart is wistful for the flowers he tended
Beside his mother, for the caryen gnome
And climbing bear and cuckoo-clock of home,
For the whispering forest path two lovers wended;
Who none the less, still strange in speech and manner,
With our young Freedom keeps his plighted faith,
Sides with his children's hope against the wraith
Of his own childhood, hails the Starry Banner
As emblem of his country now, to-morrow;
A patriot by duty, not by birth.
The costliest loyalty has purest worth.
Honor to him who draws the sword in sorrow!

The New Crusade

LIFE is a trifle;
Honor is all;
Shoulder the rifle;
Answer the call.
'A nation of traders'!
We'll show what we are,
Freedom's crusaders
Who war against war.
Battle is tragic;
Battle shall cease;
Ours is the magic
Mission of Peace.
'A nation of traders'!
We'll show what we are,
Freedom's crusaders
Who war against war.
Gladly we barter
Gold of our youth
For Liberty's charter
Blood-sealed in truth.
'A nation of traders'!
We'll show what we are,
Freedom's crusaders
Who war against war.
Sons of the granite,
Strong be our stroke,
Making this planet
Safe for the folk.
'A nation of traders'!
We'll show what we are,
Freedom's crusaders
Who war against war.
Life is but passion,
Sunshine on dew.
Forward to fashion
The old world anew!
'A nation of traders'!
We'll show what we are,
Freedom's crusaders
Who war against war.

When The Millennium Comes

WHEN the Millennium comes
Only the kings will fight,
While the princes beat the drums,
And the queens in aprons white,
Arnica bottle in hand,
Watch their Majesties throw,
With a gesture vague and grand,
Their crowns at the dodging foe,
Poor old obsolete crowns
That Time hangs up in a row.
When the Millennium comes
And the proud steel navies meet,
While the furious boiler hums,
And the vengeful pistons beat,
The sailors will stay on shore
And cheer with a polyglot shout
The self-fed cannon that roar
Till metal has fought it out,
But the warm, glad bodies of boys
Are not for the waves to flout.
When the Millennium comes,
Love, the mother of life,
Will have worked out all the sums
Of our dim industrial strife,
And every man shall be lord
Of his deed and his dream, and the lore
Of war shall be abhorred
As a dragon-tale of yore,
Myth of the Iron Age,
A monster earth breeds no more.

The Old Year groaned as he trudged away,
His guilty shadow black on the snow,
And the heart of the glad New Year turned grey
At the road Time bade him go.

"O Gaffer Time, is it blood-road still?
Is the noontide dark as the stormy morn?
Is man's will yet as a wild beast's will?
When shall the Christ be born?"

He laughed as he answered, grim Gaffer Time,
Whose laugh is sadder than all men's moan.
"That name rides high on our wrath and crime,
For the Light in darkness shone.

"And thou, fair youngling, wilt mend the tale?"
The New Year stared on the misty word,
Where at foot of a cross all lustrous pale
Men raged for their gods of gold.

"Come back, Old Year, with thy burden bent.
Come back and settle thine own dark debt."
"Nay, let me haste where the years repent,
For I've seen what I would forget."

"And I, the first of a stately train,
The tramp of a century heard behind,
Must I be fouled with thy murder-stain?
Is there no pure path to find?"

The Old Year sneered as he limped away
To the place of his penance dim and far.
The New Year stood in the gates of day,
Crowned with the morning star.

Two centuries' winter storms have lashed the changing sands of Falmouth's shore,
Deep-voiced, the winds, swift winged, wild, have echoed there the ocean's roar.
But though the north-east gale unleashed, rage-blind with power, relentless beat,
The sturdy light-house sheds its beam on waves churned white beneath the sleet.
And still when cold and fear are past, and fields are sweet with spring-time showers,
Mystic, the gray age-silent hills breathe out their souls in fair mayflowers.
And where the tawny saltmarsh lies beyond the sand dunes' farthest reach,
The undulous grass grown russet green, skirts the white crescent of the beach.

Above the tall elms' green-plumed tops, etched against low-hung, gray-hued skies,
Straight as the heaven-kissing pine, the home-bound mariner descries
The goodly spire of the old first church, reverend, serene, with old-time grace,
Symbol and sign of an inner life deep-sealed by time's slow carven trace.

Out of that church in days long gone went a stalwart, true-eyed sturdy band,
Sons of the mist and the flying foam, the blood and brawn of the Pilgrim land;
Down to the sea where the tall masts rose, where the green-mossed black hulls rose and fell,
And the cables strained at the call of the tide, for they knew and heeded its summons well.

Not the Prussian, the forsworn,
By whose fury overborne,
Martyred Belgium, you lie
Bruised with all injury.
Through your peace red paths he clove,
Burning, slaying, making spoil
Of your shining treasure-trove,
Ancient wisdom, beauty, toil;
Drenching hearth and shrine and sod
With the blood that cries to God.
Futile all that savage force.
Time in his aeonian course
Still shall clarion your fame.
Yours the triumph;his the shame.
On your honor he made war,
But his guns have battered down
Only forts. Inheritor
Of unparalleled renown,
Belgium, your name shall be
Brighter than Thermopylæ.
None could scorn you, had you said:
'Hopeless are the odds, and dread
Will the fiery vengeance fall
On our homes. In vain we call
For help that still delays. We yield.'
But unflinching from your fate,
Up you flung your slender shield,
Bore the onset, held the gate
For the priceless hour, and saved
Liberty, yourself enslaved.
No; thrust down to serfdom, still
Your unmasterable will,
Your high fortitude and faith
Outwear exile, anguish, death.
On his strip of coast your king
Holds your glorious flag unfurled;
Your great priest, unfaltering,
Peals the truth across the world.
With your neck beneath the sword,
You are victor, you are lord.

O dear my Country, beautiful and dear,
Love cloth not darken sight.
God looketh through Love's eyes, whose vision clear
Beholds more flaws than keenest Hate hath known.
Nor is Love's judgment gentle, but austere;
The heart of Love must break ere it condone
One stain upon the white.

There comes an hour when on the parent turns
The challenge of the child;
The bridal passion for perfection burns;
Life gives her last allegiance to the best;
Each sweet idolatry the spirit spurns,
Once more enfranchised for its starry quest
Of beauty undefiled.

Love must be one with honor; yet to-day
Love liveth by a sign;
Allows no lasting compromise with clay,
But tends the mounting miracle of gold,
Content with service till the bud make way
To the rejoicing sunbeams that unfold
Its culminant divine.

There is a rumoring among the stars,
A trouble in the sun.
Freedom, most holy word, hath fallen at jars
With her own deeds; 'tis Mammon's jubilee;
Again the cross contends with scimitars;
The seraphim look down with dread to see
Earth's noblest hope undone.

O dear my Country, beautiful and dear,
Ultimate dream of Time,
By all thy millions longing to revere
A pure, august, authentic commonweal,
Climb to the light. Imperiled Pioneer
Of Brotherhood among the nations, seal
Our faith with thy sublime.

The Falmouth Bell

Never was there lovelier town
Than our Falmouth by the sea.
Tender curves of sky look down
On her grace of knoll and lea.
Sweet her nestled Mayflower blows
Ere from prouder haunts the spring
Yet has brushed the lingering snows
With a violet-colored wing.
Bright the autumn gleams pervade
Cranberry marsh and bushy wold,
Till the children's mirth has made
Millionaires in leaves of gold;
And upon her pleasant ways,
Set with many a gardened home,
Flash through fret of drooping sprar
Visions far of ocean foam.
Happy bell of Paul Revere,
Sounding o'er such blest demesne
While a hundred times a year
Weaves the round from green to green.

--------------------------------- --------------------------------------------- --
Never were there friendlier folk
Than in Falmouth by the sea,
Neighbor-households that invoke
Pride of sailor-pedigree.
Here is princely interchange
Of the gifts of shore and field,
Starred with treasures rare and strange
That the liberal sea-chests yield.
Culture here burns breezy torch
Where gray captains, bronzed of neck
Tread their little length of porch
With a memory of the deck.
Ah, and here the tenderest hearts,
Here where sorrows sorest wring
And the widows shift their parts
Comforted and comforting.
Holy bell of Paul Revere
Calling such to prayer and praise.
While a hundred times the year
Herds her flock of faithful days!

--------------------------------- --------------------------------------------- --
Greetings to thee, ancient bell
Of our Falmouth by the sea!
Answered by the ocean swell,
Ring thy centuried Jubilee!
Like the white sails of the Sound,
Hast thou seen the years drift by,
From the dreamful, dim profound
To a goal beyond the eye.
Long thy maker lieth mute,
Hero of a faded strife;
Thou hast tolled from seed to fruit
Generations three of life.
Still thy mellow voice and clear
Floats o'er land and listening deep,
And we deem our fathers hear
From their shadowy hill of sleep.
Ring thy peals for centuries yet,
Living voice of Paul Revere!
Let the future not forget
That the past accounted dear!

How long, O Prince of Peace, how long? We sicken of the shame
Of this wild war that wraps the world, a roaring dragon-flame
Fed on earth's glorious youth, high hearts all passionate to cope
—O Chivalry of Hope!—
With the cloudy host of the infidel and the Holy Earth reclaim.
For each dear land is Holy Land to her own fervent sons
Who fling in loyal sacrifice their lives before the guns,
But when they meet their foes above the battlesmoke, they laugh,
And all together quaff
The cup of welcome Honor pouts for her slain champions.
Oh, if a thousandth part of all this treasure, purpose, skill,
Were poured into the crucible transforming wrong and ill,
By the white magic of a wise and generous brotherhood,
To righteousness and good,
The world would be divine again, with eery war-cry still.
Poor world so worn with wickedness, bedimmed with rage and fear,
Sad world that sprang forth singing from God's hand, a golden sphere,
O yet may Love's creative breath renew thee, fashioned twice
A shining Paradise,
Unsullied in the astral choir, with Joy for charioteer.
How long shall bomb and bullet think for human brains? How long
Shall folk of the burned villages in starving, staggering throng
Flee from the armies that, in turn, are mangled, maddened, slain,
Till earth is all one stain
Of horror, and the soaring larks are slaughtered in their song?
Oh, may this war, this blasphemy that blots the globe with blood,
Slay war forever, cleanse the earth in its own mighty flood
Of tears, tears unassuageable, that will not cease to fall
Till Time has covered all
Our guilty century with sleep, and the new eras bud!
How long? The angels of the stars entreat the clouded Throne
In anguish for their brother Earth, who stands, like Cain, alone,
And hides the mark upon his brow, the while their harps implore
The Silence to restore
Peace to this wayward Son of God, whose music is a moan.
Come swiftly, Peace! Oh, swiftly come, with healing in thy feet;
Bring back to tortured battlefields the waving of the wheat;
Bring back to broken hearths, whereby the wistful ghosts will walk,
Blithe hum of household talk,
Till childhood dare to sport again and maiden hood be sweet,
Though thou must come by crimson road, with grief and mercy come,
Not with the insolence of strength, the boast of fife and drum;
Come with adventure in thine eyes for the splendid tasks that wait,
To weld these desolate
Crushed lands into the fellowship of thy millennium.
O Peace, to rear thy temple that no strife may overawe!
O Purity, to fashion thee a palace without flaw! Galilee,
To build the state on thee,
And shape the deeds of nations by thy yet untested law!

Must I, who walk alone,
Come on it still,
This Puck of plants
The wise would do away with,
The sunshine slants
To play with,
Our wee, gold-dusty flower, the yellow clover,
Which once in Parting for a time
That then seemed long,
Ere time for you was over,
We sealed our own?
Do you remember yet,
O Soul beyond the stars,
Beyond the uttermost dim bars
Of space,
Dear Soul, who found earth sweet,
Remember by love's grace,
In dreamy hushes of the heavenly song,
How suddenly we halted in our climb,
Lingering, reluctant, up that farthest hill,
Stooped for the blossoms closest to our feet,
And gave them as a token
Each to Each,
In lieu of speech,
In lieu of words too grievous to be spoken,
Those little, gypsy, wondering blossoms wet
With a strange dew of tears?

So it began,
This vagabond, unvalued yellow clover,
To be our tenderest language. All the years
It lent a new zest to the summer hours,
As each of us went scheming to surprise
The other with our homely, laureate flowers.
Sonnets and odes
Fringing our daily roads.
Can amaranth and asphodel
Bring merrier laughter to your eyes?
Oh, if the Blest, in their serene abodes,
Keep any wistful consciousness of earth,
Not grandeurs, but the childish ways of love,
Simplicities of mirth,
Must follow them above
With touches of vague homesickness that pass
Like shadows of swift birds across the grass.
Beneath some foreign arch of sky,
How many a time the rover
You or I,
For life oft sundered look from look,
And voice from voice, the transient dearth
Schooling my soul to brook
This distance that no messages may span,
Would chance
Upon our wilding by a lonely well,
Or drowsy watermill,
Or swaying to the chime of convent bell,
Or where the nightingales of old romance
With tragical contraltos fill
Dim solitudes of infinite desire;
And once I joyed to meet
Our peasant gadabout
A trespasser on trim, seigniorial seat,
Twinkling a saucy eye
As potentates paced by.

Our golden cord! our soft, pursuing flame
From friendship's altar fire!
How proudly we would pluck and tame
The dimpling clusters, mutinously gay!
How swiftly they were sent
Far, far away
On journeys wide,
By sea and continent,
Green miles and blue leagues over,
From each of us to each,
That so our hearts might reach,
And touch within the yellow clover,
Love's letter to be glad about
Like sunshine when it came!

My sorrow asks no healing; it is love;
Let love then make me brave
To bear the keen hurts of
This careless summertide,
Ay, of our own poor flower,
Changed with our fatal hour,
For all its sunshine vanished when you died;
Only white clover blossoms on your grave.

Santa Claus' Riddle

Of all the happy and holy times
That fill the steeples with merry chimes
And warm our hearts in the coldest climes,
'Twas Christmas eve, as I live by rhymes.

One by one had the drowsy oaks
Wrapt about them their snow-flake cloaks,
And snugly fastened, with diamond pins,
Fleecy nightcaps beneath their chins.

The stars had kissed the hills good-night,
But lingered yet, with a taper light,
Till the chattering lips of the little streams
Were sealed with frost for their winter dreams.

And the silver moonbeams softly fell
On cots as white as the lily-bell,
Where the nested children sweetly slept,
While watch above them their angels kept.

Eyes of gray and of hazel hue,
Roguish black eyes and bonny blue,
All with their satin curtains drawn,'
Peeped not once till the shining dawn.

But still through the silent eventide
Brown eyes twain were opened wide,
Where, bolt upright in his pillows, sate
A wise little wean called Curly Pate.

Now yet the lore of schools and books
Had troubled the peace of his childish looks,
But through the valleys of Fairyland
He had walked with Wisdom, hand in hand.

Once midsummer eves he would hear, perchance,
The shrill, sweet pipes of the elfin dance,
And their dewy prints in the dawning trace
On tremulous carpets of cobweb lace.

He had caught the clink of the hammers fine,
Where the goblins delve in their darksome mine,
In green cocked hats of a queer design,
With crystal tears in their ruby eyne.

He had seen where the golden basket swings
At the tip of the rainbow's dazzling wings,
Full of the silver spoons that fall
Into the mouths of babies small.

He had met Jack Frost in tippet and furs,
Pricking his thumbs on the chestnut burrs,
And this learnèd laddie could tell, no doubt,
Why nuts fall down and friends fall out.

And now, while the dusky night waxed late,
All nid-nodding sat Curly Pate,
Scaring the dreams, whose wings of gauze
Would veil his vision from Santa Claus.

And ever he raised, by a resolute frown,
The heavy lids that came stealing down
To rest their silken fringes brown
On the rosiest cheek in Baby-Town.

Till at last, — so the legend tells, —
He heard the tinkle of silver bells;
Tinkle! tinkle! a jocund tune
Between the snow and the sinking moon.

O, then, how the heart of our hero beat!
How it throbbed in time to the music sweet,
While gaily rung on the frosted roofs
The frolicsome tramp of reindeer hoofs!

And down the chimney by swift degrees
Came worsted stockings and velvet knees,
Till from furry cap unto booted feet
Dear Saint Nicholas stood complete.

Blessings upon him! and how he shook
His plumb little sides with a mirthful look,
As he crammed, his bright, blue eyes a-twinkle,
The bairnie's sock in its every wrinkle.

May he live forever — the blithe old soul,
With cheeks so ruddy and shape so droll,
Throned on a Yule-log, crowned with holly,
The king of kindness, the friend of folly!

His task was done, and he brushed the snow
From his crispy beard, as he turned to go;
From his crispy beard and his tresses hoar,
As he tiptoed over the moonlight floor.

But the sparkling flakes to delicious crumbs
Of frosted cakes and to sugar-plums
Changed as they fell, whereas near by
A bubble of laughter proved the spy.

Back from the chimney flashed the Saint,
And stamped his feet in a rage so quaint
That from scores of pockets the dolls in flee
Popped up their curious heads to see.

'Oho!' in a terrible voice he spake,
'By the Mistletoe Bough! a boy awake!
Now freeze my whiskers! but in my pack
I'll stow him away for a jumping-jack.

'Wise as an owlet? Quick! the proof!
My reindeer stamp on the snowy roof.
So read my riddle, if sage you be,
Or up the chimney you go with me.

'Name me the tree of the deepest roots,
Whose boughs are laden with sweetest fruits,
In bleakest weather which blooms aright,
And buds and bears in a single night.'

Did Curly Pate tremble? Never a whit.
Below the curls was the mother-wit;
And well I ween that his two eyes brown
Spied the dimple beneath the frown.

So shaking shyly, with childish grace,
The ringlets soft from his winsome face,
He peeped through his lashes and answered true,
As I trow that a brave little man should do:

'Please thy Saintship, no eyes have seen
Thy wondrous orchards of evergreen;
But where is the wean who doth no long
The whole year through for thy harvest song?

'The Christmas Tree hath struck deep roots
In human hearts: its wintry fruits
Are sweet with love,And the bairns believe
It buddeth and beareth on Holy Eve.'

A stir in the chimney, a crackle of frost,
A tinkle of bells on the midnight lost;
And in mirth and music the riddling guest
Had smiled and vanished, as saints know best.

But low on his pillow the laddie dear
Sank and slumbered, till chanticleer,
Crowing apace, bade children wake
To bless the dawn for the Christ-child's sake.