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Full text of "Backwoods poems"

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Backwoods Poems. 



S. NEWTON BERRYHILL. 



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BACKWOODS POEMS. 



S. NEWTON BERRYHILL, 



'I'd lea re behind 



Somethhiff imtnortal of mjr heart and mind." 

Mbs. Hemanb. 



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COLUMBUS, MISSISSIPPI: 

PRINTED BY CHARLES C. MARTIN, EXCELSIOR OFFICE. 

1878. 



^^ 






Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1878, by 
- S. NEAVTON BERRYHILL, 
In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C. 



TO THE MEMORY OF 

MY FATHER AND MOTHER, 

SAMUEL AND MARGARET BERRYHILL, 

THIS LITTLE VOLUME IS DEDICATED BY 
THE AUTHOR. 



PREFACE 



The little book here presented embraces the rhymes and poems written by me in a period 
of thirty years, beginning with my boyhood. All of them have already been laid before the 
public in newspapers and periodicals ; but, like autumnal leaves cast on the rushing stream, 
they have been swept away, and only the writer's scrap-book has saved them from oblivion. 

It is not through affectation that I have given my book the title it bears. I chose this 
title in my boyhood, when I first conceived the design of i^ublishing, some day, a book of 
poems. Nor is the title inappropriate. While I was yet an infant, my father, with his family, 
settled down in a wilderness, where I grew up with the population, rarely ever going out of 
the neighborhood for forty years. Save what I learned from books and newspapers, and from 
the conversation of those into whose society I was thrown — 

The little world in which I lived, 
Was all the world I knew. 

The old log school-house with a single window and a single door— described in one of my 
earlier pieces — was my alma tnater; the green woods were my campus; and if I climbed 
Parnassus, 'twas not with Homer, " by dint o' Greek," but with trusty dogs, chasing the 
mottle-coated hare over the bush-eovered hillock. Thus isolated and thus surrounded, both 
my intellectual and my moral nature could not fail to receive a coloring, which, reflected on 
my rhythmic effusions, renders the appellation, "BACKWOODS PoEMS," peculiarly significant. 

I am well aware, that there are many crudities and imperfections in these poems, particu- 
larly in the earlier pieces. I have kept all; I could not discard the poor children of my brain 
on account of deformity. 

Such as they are, I present my rhymes to the public, craving their indulgence if I can not 
gain their applause. One merit, at least, I claim, for which I hope my readers will give me 
credit. I have not attempted to carry them to lofty heights, nor into deep waters. Knowing 
the weakness of my arm, I have kept my little boat near the shore ! 

In the years to come, I hope — what writer did not so hope P — that I will have many, very 
many, readers. In the variety presented, I hope that each reader will find something to please, 
something to while away a passing hour, and somewhere in these pages — I pray God !— something 
to incite to a nobler, better life. 

Columbus, Miss. 1878. 



i^LIL^A.. 



Does the pale-face see the diamonds bright 

Which twinkle on the brow of night ? 

As many moons as these beiore 

Your fathers' feet had trod our shore, 

There lived, close by Sebolee stream, 

A chief, the whisper of whose name 

"Would make his en'my's cheek grow pale. 

And cause the boldest heart to quail. 

The flow'ry prairies on the East, 

The Father of Waters on the West, 

The counti'y of the long leaved pine 

Upon the South, the "bloody line" 

Toward the North, beyond which dwelt 

The Chickasaws, who often felt 

This chieftain's ire — these were the lines 

Which bounded Gray Hawk's wide domains. 

A thousand hamlets owned him lord ; 

Ten thousand warriors, at his word, 

Would grasp the tomahawk and bow. 

And fall upon the trembling foe, 

Like the iierce hurricane whose force 

Spreads death in its impetuous course. 

On many a field his tow'ring form 

Had stood amid the battle's storm ; 

His sinewy arm had dealt the blow 

Of death to many a gallant foe ; 

A thousand scalps in his wigwam hung, 

And the Western world with his praises rung. 

The moon waned oft, the chief waxed old ; 

His eye grew dim— his mien less bold ; 

His arm grew weak, his footstep slow, 

And his raven locks turned white as snow. 

Many moons before, his aged wife 

Had winged her flight from the haunts ot life 

To the spirit land. An only child— 

The sweet Palila— on the chieftain smiled. 

O, she was tair as th' wild i-ed rose 

Which in the dark green forest grows. 

Her hair was black as th' wing of night ; 

Her eyes as bright as th' orbs ot light ; 

Her step like that of the timid doe ; 

Her voice as soft as the streamlet's flow. 

As the tendrils of the creeping vine 

Around the sapless oak entwine. 

And shield it from the wintry blast 

When the halcyon days of Spring are past ; 



So young Palila's tender care 
Made light the troubles of her sire. 
Her own fair hands at night and morn 
Prepared his meals — the parched com. 
The smoking venison, the fruits 
Herself had culled, and many roots ' 
Whose sav'ry taste is yet unknown 
To the wise pale face. The gloomy frown 
Which like a threatening cloud displayed 
Itself on Gray Hawk's brow, would fade 
Into a smile, when she, the pride 
Of his old age. was by his side. 

Young braves from many a distant land 
Had sought the young Palila's hand. 
Many a costly gift they bore 
And laid at the old chieftain's door : 
Gay plumes and costly gems t' adorn 
The young Palila's brow ; green corn 
And luscious fruits from th' southern isles. 
Where the hunter is lured by fairies' wiles ; 
The shaggy skins of grizzly bears 
Slain in their lofty mountain lairs ; 
And deer-skins soft, dyed many a-hue — 
Green, orange, yellow, red and blue. 
But the chief would send the braves away, 
And bid them call some other day. 

The young Palila never smiled 

Upon their suit. Love's passion wild 

Had never fired her youthful blood. 

Content to wander in the wood, 

And cull the flowers of varied hue 

Which there in rich profusion grew ; 

Or with her bow and arrow slay 

The redbird or the noisy jay. 

And with their plumage soft and fair 

Adorn her glossy raven hair — 

She never sighed for man's warm love. 

Ne'er wished from her fair home to rove. 

II. 
Close where the chieftain's wigwam stood, 
A little stream flowed through the wood. 
On each side of the narrow plain 
In which it ran, a verdant chain 
Of gently sloping hills arose. 
Beside the stream a fountain flows. 



6 Backwoods Poems. 




Whose magic waters, bright and clear, 


Oft steals, and paints with heav'nly hues 




"Were sought by red men, far and near. 


Whatever meets the enraptured eye 




To heal their sickness, and impart 


In earth, the ocean or the -ky. 




New life and strength to every part. 


She sat and gazed with dreamy look 
Into the waters of the brook, 




One day the dark-eyed Indian maid 


Where th' azure sky, and spreading trees 




Into this lovely valley strayed. 


With branches waving in the breeze 




Wearied with wand'ring through the wood. 


Were dimly mirrored. The spirit land, 




Slie sat her down in pensive mood 


With all its bright, immor.al band. 




Beneath a bluff which overhung 


Its verdant plains and valleys fair, 




The little stream. Her bow unstrung 


Its silvery trees and flowers rare, 




Lay at her feet : her arrows tied 


Seemed floating in the dim twilight, 




In a quiver neat, hung by her side. 


Far down below the waters bright. 




A wreath of Autumn flowers around 


But soon her blissful dieaui was broke. 




Her broad and lofty brow was bound. 


The crimson hue her cheeks forsook. 




In glossy waves her raven hair 


And left tliem deadly paie wiLli fear. 




Fell on her nut-brown bosom bare. 


Reflected in the water clear, 




Her skirt of doe-skin half concealed 


She saw the hideous outlines 




Her rounded limbs, and half revealed. 


Of a panther crouched among some vines 




And moccasins ot yellow hue. 


That gxjvv ux)ou tue biiitt o'erhead. 




Embroidered with green and blue. 


Its an L'v, SL'ovlin"- eyes were red 




Adorned her dainty little leet. 


As glowing coals ot fire ; its jaws 




Her cheeks were glowing with the heat 


Half oped, displayed two shining rows 




Of exercise, and her eyes were bright 


Of long sharp teeth ; while on the ground 




With wild enthusiastic light, 


Its tail was writhing round and round 




As she witli soul enrapt surveyed 


Like a wounded snake. One moment short 




The seene which nature here outspread. 


Palila gazed with pulseless heart 
Upon the sight, then rose to flee. 




The Indian summer had just begun. 


Fearful that he would lose his prey. 




The mellow rays (ff th' Autumn sun 


The panther sprang with piercing scream; 




Diffused a light soft and serene 


But fell midway the little stream— 




O'er Nature's face. The robe of green 


^_ An arrow quivering in his heart. 




AVhich gentle Spring o'er the forest threw. 


Soon a young brave, with bow and dart, ■ 




Was changed to one of varied hue. 


Leaped from the blufi', and stood beside 




The luscious grapes and muscadines 


The atflrighted girl. His face was dyed 




In clusters hung upon the vines. 


A sanguine red— the dreadful hue 




Upon the huckleberry bush, 


Which the Indian maiden too well knew, 




Bending with fruit, the russet thrush 


Was the hated badge of Gray Hawk's foes— 




Poured forth her sweet melodious song. 


The llerceaiid warlike Chickasaws. 




The black-eyed squirrel frisked among 


" Fear not, sweet maiden," spoke the youth. 




The hickory trees, and at each bound 


In tones that breathed of love and truth. 




Scattered tlio brown nuts on the ground. 


AVhile young Palila, like a hare 
Caught in the hunter's fatal snare, 




The evening waned; in the distant west 


Stood trembling by. "Shrink not away. 




The sun sank gently down to rest 


Think you that Toppasha would slay 




Upon a soft, voluptuous bed 


Yon cruel beast, only to wreak 




Of rosy clouds. His last rays shed 


His hate on you ? Think you he'd take 




A flickering gleam upon the pines, 


The lite he risked his own to save 1 




Which stretched their misty, blue outlines 


Such deeds would not become the brave." 




Like a mighty wall with towers high. 


And with a smile of winning grace 




Across the face of the western sky. 


He gazed into the maiden's face ; 




Still sat Palila by tlie stream. 


Gazed till her heart with quick'ning beat 




Wrapped in that sweet, poetic dream 


Drove the warm blood in blushes sweet 




Which o'er the soul, like twilight dews, 


To her soft cheeks ; and the liquid light 





Backwoods Poems. 



Of wild and rapturous delight 
Glowed ill her dark and Unguid eyes, 
Like sunbeams in the morning skies. 
Soon did Palila cease to tear ; 
Soon did her ravished, willing ear 
Drink ia each softly spoken word 
The stranger's el'quent lips outpoured. 

Ha told her of his native hills 

F.ir to the Xcrth, where crystal rills 

Now gently raui-mured through the dell, 

Now in wild cascades headlong fell 

O'er jutting rocks ; where all day long. 

The woods were voeal with the song 

Of the mocking bird and timid quail. 

Which echo bore from hill to vale. 

And down the stream meand'ring by. 

Till it melted in the distant sky ; 

■\V nere i a herce-eyed eagle built her nest 

Mid fleecy clouds, upon the crest 

Of the tow'ring pine ; and the hunted stag 

Disdainful leaped from crag to crag, 

Switt as the equinoctial wind. 

Leaving the hunter far behind. 

He told her of his chieftain sire, 

Before whose dreadful eye ot lire 

The loemau quailed with tremblmg heart. 

As from the lightning's forked dart ; 

And of the hosts that chief could .ead 

Against the foe in th' hour of need. 

And then how he had chanced to roam 

So far from his fair mountain home. 

One day, while hunting in the wood, 

He spied a creature strange which sf.ood 

Down in a dark and deep ravine, 

Which lay two rooky luil> between. 

In shape 'twas like a little doe ; 

But white and spotless as the sno v 

Which lines the earth, when the Winter King 

Spreads o'er the sky his gloomy wing. 

Fast clinging to the vines which grew 

Upon the pvecipice, he threw 

Himself from rock to rock, until 

He reached the bottom, gazing still 

Upon the creature, where it stood 

Half hidden in the little wood. 

But even as he gazed 'twas gone ; 

And looking up he saw it on 

The precipice's topmost rock, 

Calmly gazing, as if to mock, 

Upon the hunter far below ; 

While he, with timid step and slow, 

Climbed up the bank. But when 



He reached the top he found again 

That it had fled. He saw it now 

Upon a lofty mountain's brow, 

Far to the south. Swift as the gale, 

He onw-ard sped o'er hill and dale. 

Until he gained the mountain side. 

Then bending low, so as to hide 

Himself beneath its grassy bed. 

He crept with soft and stealthy tread 

Toward the lofty summit bare. 

When near the top, he chose with care 

A polished arrow straight and true, 

And fixed it to his supple bow. 

With quick'ning heart he slowly raised 

His head above the grass. Amazed, 

He looked upon the vacant height — 

Tlie doe had vanished from his sight ! 

He looked toward the South again, 

And saw it on a distant plain; 

Again sped on — ag tin drew near. 

And saw it vanish in the au\ 

And thus he followed on till night 

Concealed the creature from his sight ; 

When lying down ii])imi the ground 

He fell into a sleep profound. 

Next morn, refreshed with sweet repose, 

At rosy dawn's a ipru eh he rose. 

He saw, by the dim twilight gray. 

The spirit-doe not far away, 

And followed on. Six times the sun 

Through his diurnal course had run ; 

Six times on earth the stars and moon 

Had smiled ; and still he wandered on : 

Up many a mountain's craggy side ; 

Through many a forest dark and wide ; 

Across full many a broad deep stream. 

Whose dark-blue waters the bright sunbeam 

Could never kiss. Like the witch's light 

Which often in the dark wet night. 

We see beside the boggy stream. 

Lighting the swamp with flick'ring gleam, 

The spirit-doe still lured him on. 

But when within his grasp— was gone. 

The seventh morn, when he awoke, 

He found him.self beneath an oak. 

Whose spreading branches overhung 

A stagnant stream which wound along 

The valley, like a huge black snake. 

And now his limbs began to ache 

With pangs he never felt before. 

And sharped-tooth hunger pinched him sore. 

For six long days his only food 

Had been the wild fruits ot the wood, 

Which he had gathered by the way. 



I 



Backwoods Poems. 



For he had never paused to slay 
The deer which gazed with wondering eye 
On him, as he was speeding by. 
"While he was musing on his wo, 
He saw the little spirit-doe 
Standing upon a mound close by, 
Looking tow'rd him with pitying eye. 
With trembling hand, he seized his bow 
And fixed the shaft. The little doe 
Fled not. He aimed the deadly dart 
Toward the little creature's heart ; 
Drew back the string, the string let fly — 
And then there came a mournful cry. 
Like a murdered infant's dying wail 
Borne on the midnight's moaning gale ; 
And the spirit-doe dissolved away, 
Like the morning mist before the ray 
Of the rising sun. He turned and fled. 
While every hair upon his head 
Stood straight with wild affi'ight. The night 
Came on, ere he had ceased his flight. 
At last his limbs refused to bear 
Him farther, and he fainted near 
The bluff, where through the night he slept. 
At rosy dawn's approach he ci'ept 
Into a grove of little pines, 
Which, interwove with tangled vines, 
Concealed him from the intruder's sight. 
He saw the maid with footstep light 
Trip by ; and from his hiding place 
He stole to gaze upon her face, 
As wrapt in her elysian dream, 
She sat beside the little stream. 
His heart beat wild with sweet delight, 
As he gazed upon the vision bright ; 
And, O too soon ! his captive soul 
Submissive bowed to love's control. 
He saw the panther on the bluff 
Prepared to leap. It was enough- 
He sent the keen unerring dart 
Swift to the horrid monster's heart. 

Long ere the youth had told his tale, 
The dark-browed Night had thrown her veil 
O'er slumbering Nature's face ; and soon 
From o'er the eastern hills, the moon 
With trembling ray shone through the wood 
Upon the spot where the lovers stood. 
And warned them that 'twas time to part. 
Young Toppasha, with swelling heart 
And mournful look, now gently prest 
Palila to his heaving breast, 
While she with blushing upturned face, 
Responded to his warm embrace. 



A moment more he held her there. 

As if his soul would quaff tore'er, 

Th' intoxicating cup of bliss ; 

Then, bending down, a long, sweet kiss 

Upon her half-oped lips he sealed. 

Rushed from her arms, and was concealed 

In the forest's thick and gloomy shade, 

Before the languid, weeping maid 

Could realize that he was gone. 

Or feel she was indeed alone. 

III. 

Love is a wizard ; at his touch 

The strong man's heart, though e'er so much 

With pride enfrozen it may be. 

Melts like the iceberg when the sea 

Blushes beneath the ardent kiss 

Of the summer's sun. New founts of bliss, 

Beneath his soft yet stem control, 

Are opened to the thirsty soul. 

The gloom upon the pensive brow 

Is chased away ; while eyes that glow 

And spai'kle with mischievous mirth, 

Are made to droop all sad to earth. 

A change came o'er the chieftain's child : 

No more she roamed in the forest wild 

With lightsome step and sunny face, 

Or merrily danced with childish grace 

Before her father's lodge. A shade 

Of sadness, like soft twilight, played 

Upon her features ; and a beam 

Of pensive light, like the last gleam 

Of the setting sun, shone in her soft 

And languid eyes. She wandered oft 

To the dear-loved spot beside the stream. 

Where first her soul was taught the dream 

Of love. Here she would sit alone 

And muse upon the loved one ; 

Recall each gentle word which fell 

Upon her soul like the magic spell 

Which moonlight weaves around the grove— 

And each sweet, melting glance of love. 

Again she felt his burning kiss 

Upon her lips ; and O, the bliss 

E'en in the thought ! again was prest 

With rapture to his manly breast. 

The gentle, brown-haired Autumn drew 
Her flowing robe of rainbow hue 
Closely around her shivering form. 
And, mounted on the swift-winged storm, 
Flew to the South. While Nature slept, 
Old Winter from his cavern crept 



I 



Backwoods Poems. 



Witli stealthy tread : and his icy breath 
Spread o'er the wood the chill of death. 
The withered leaves, \vith rustling sound, 
Fell slow and mournful to the ground ; 
And the tall trees sighed with deep despair, 
To see their limbs thus stripped and bare. 
The leprous frost, at midnight hour. 
Crept to the bed of the humble flower; 
Next morn it lay upon its bed 
All pale and cold — the flower was dead ! 
Palila, too, the young and fair. 
Seemed drooping 'neath the wintry air. 
As if the frost which nipped the flower. 
Had, in the self-same evil hour. 
Nipped every bud of youthful hope, 
That in her heart began to ope. 
Her lovely cheek grew thin and pale. 
Like a tree in summer which the gale 
Has thrown to earth ; her step grew slow. 
Like the mournful tread of the timid doe 
That's lost her mate ; and eyes once bright 
Lost all the splendor of their light. 

Old Gray Hawk saw his lovely flower 
Repining — withering, every hour, 
And blamed his selfishness and pride. 
That he had kept her by his side, 
While she was pining for the love 
Of some twin heart, like mateless dove. 
Or flow'r shut out from the evening dew 
By the branches of the spreading yew. 

Young White Wolf— chieftain of a band— 

Whose home was in the lovely land 

Of the long-leaved pine, had often sought 

Pallia's hand. His sire liad fought 

By Gray Hawk's side in days gone by. 

And the son had proved a true ally. 

So Gray Hawk sent old S [jotted Deer, 

His faithful messenger, to bear 

To Wliite Wolf in his distant home, 

The pleasing news, that he might come. 

When spring's soft breeze had oped the flow'rs 

In nature's lovely, verdant bow'rs. 

And take his bride, the chieftain's child, 

Unto his home in the forest wild. 

IV. 

The red-faced Sun in flaming ire 
Came from the south. His darts of lire 
Shivered Old Wintei-'s icy shield, 
And drove him howling from the field. 
The bright-eyed, amorous Spring again 
Resumed her soft voluptuous reign. 



The laughing trees put on anew 
Their waving robes of verdant hue ; 
Again the violet's drooping head 
Reclined upon the mossy bed ; 
And the brier rose and fragrant pink 
Hung o'er the gurgling streamlet's brink. 

But the crimson rose bloomed never more, 

As in the happy days of yore, 

On young Pallia's cheek. The sun 

Warmed ev'ry flower to life ; that one 

Was far beyond his healing art. 

The winter of a broken heart 

Ha<l froz'n the fount who.se crimson stream 

Its life sustained ; and not a gleam 

Of hope peered through the cheerless gloom. 

The darkness of her soul t' illume. 

The nuptial eve aiTived ; the young. 

Athletic braves their bows had strung, 

And gone into the woods in quest 

Of ven'son for the nuptial feast. 

The morrow was to be a day 

Of joyous feasts and pleasures gay, 

Throughout old Gray Hawk's wide domains. 

From noon to eve came joyous trains 

Of girls, with flowers to strew before 

The aged chieftain's wigwam door. 

But when they saw the pale, sad face 

Of the youthful bride, their joy gave place 

To tears ; for each one called to mind 

Some act— some little token kind— 

Which made them love their chieftain's child 

With all the warmth of natures wild. 

When evening came Palila sought, 

For the last time, the dear-loved spot 

Beneath the bluff. While sitting there, 

Gazing into the water clear, 

The witch of the hills, old Oradore, 

Came fi'om the wood and stood before 

The affrighted girl. Her shrivelled face 

Was smeared with paint, yet one might trace 

Those lines of hclUsh passion there 

Which mark the witch. Among her hair, 

Whose long, grey tresses swept alie ground. 

The skin ot a rattlesnake was wound, 

With e'en its rattles and its head, 

From which one shrinks witli shivering dread. 

Palila, trembling, rose to flee. 

"Ha!" screamed the witch, "you shrink £i-om me! 

The daughter of the chief is proud ; 

The poor old witch whose form is bowed 

With age and grief, she treats with scorn. 

Away ! may that proud heart be torn 



10 



Backwoods Poems. 



With grief ; may devils haunt your path, 

And feast upon your soul in death !" 

"Nay, do not curse the chieftain's child," 

Palila said in accents mild. 

"The poor old squaw she did not mean 

To treat with scorn or proud disdain. 

With grief her heart's already sore : — 

O, do not curse me, Oradore." 

"Tlie maiden speaks with a serpent's tongue,' 

Exclaimed the witch ; "what has the young 

Pallia's heart to do with grief .' 

You are the daughter of a chief — 

A mighty chief whose faithful band 

Would yield their lives at his command. 

What 'tis to want you ne'er have known ; 

You've but to will and it is done. 

And I have learned that you're to wed" — 

"Alas ! 'tis this," Palila said, 

"That now with sorrow wrings my heart. 

For Oh ! the soul no keener dart 

E'er felt, than being forced to wed 

One not beloved. The nuptial bed 

With sharpest thorns is interwove. 

Unless 'tis spread by the hands of love." 

"You love another !" the witch exclaimed ; 

"The chieftain's daughter is a,shamed 

To let her proud old father know. 

His darling child has stooped so low, 

As to bestow her hand on one 

Of humble blood." And the withered crone 

Looked with a taunting, bitter sneer 

In the maiden's face, still pale with fear. 

"The witch of the hills has spoken a lie," 

Exclaimed the maid, with flashing eye ; 

"He whom I love is a chiettain's son ; 

Nor would I be ashamed to own 

My love for one of humble blood — 

I know no ranks but the bad and good. 

But the youth I love is a hated foe 

Of Gray Hawk's tribe — a Chickasaw." 

"A Chickasaw !" the beldam screamed. 

And in her snaky eyes there gleamed 

A light of joyous triumph ; while 

Upon her haggard face a smile 

Of more than hellish pleasure played. 

Which e'en her toothless gums displayed. 

Palila turned, and would have fled. 

"Stay, maiden, stay," the beldam said ; 

And the demon smile upon her face 

Was changed to one of winning grace. 

"Poor, tender child ! your fate, indeed. 

May well cause your heart to bleed : — 

Doomed by your cruel sire to wed 

One not beloved ; constrained by dread 



Of a father's anger to conceal 

The love your heart would fain reveal. 

But, maiden, would you not once more 

Behold the one that you adore ?" 

And the witch looked in Pallia's eyes, 

As if beneath the bright disguise 

She'd read her very soul. "I would," 

The maiden whispered as she stood. 

With palpitating heart, before 

The .searching gize of Oradore. 

"Then take this vase," the witch replied; 

And from the pouch hung by her side. 

She took a vessel made of stone. 

"The secret's known to me alone, 

How to prepare this liquid rare 

From the waters of yon fountain clear. 

Take this ; and when the midnight hour 

With gloomy frowns begins to lower. 

Steal from the wigwam of your sire ; 

Go to yon sxM'ing and build a Are 

Close by ; and then securely tie 

Your moo'sin to a twig you'll spy 

Beside the spring. Six circuits round 

The little fire, without a sound, 

You then must make. Then in the blaze 

Pour out the liquid from the vase. 

And you will soon behold once more 

The form of him whom you adore." 

Thus having spoke, the wicked crone 

Walked on, and left the maid alone. 

When hidden from Pallia's sight. 

The hellish smile of dark delight. 

Played like a writhing serpent on 

Her lips again ; and fury shone 

In her fierce eyes, like the fires of hell 

When the Devil tolls a witch's knell. 

"Ha ! ha !" she laughed, "the little hare 

Has come into the hunter's snare. 

Ha ! ha ! I'll be revenged at last. 

Though many, many years have past. 

Since Gray Hawk scorned Tuscora's love 

To wed her sister. Turtle Dove, 

Yet in her heart, with tender care, 

She's nursed the thorn he planted there. 

He's thought me dead e'er since the day, 

When from the feast 1 stole away — 

His nuptial feast— hut Oh ! to me 

A funeral feast 'twas doomed to be. 

He little dreams old Oradore, 

The hag who begs from door to door. 

Is the once proud Tuscora. No ! 

He thinks I'm dead— ho, ho ! ho, ho ! — 

She's very fair — that well may be ; 



Backwoods Poems. 



11 



They say she's gooil — what's that to me T 
She has her mother's hated face — 
The same soft smile of winning grace— 
The same dark eye and glossy hair — 
Yes, so like her that I could tear 
Her very heart from out her breast, 
And of it make a bloody feast. 
Revenge, though long delayed, is sweet ; 
At midnight, Gray Hawk, we shall meet !" 



The midnight hour drew near : the moon 
Smiled sadly, wanly from her noon, 
And shed a flood of silvery light 
O'er lowly dell and mountain height. 
O'erhead the moaning evening breeze 
Swayed to and fro the tall, dark trees. 
Whose flickering shades would now grow deep, 
Now dim, as the pale-faced moon would peep 
Out from behind the fleecy cloud, 
Or in its folds her form enshroud. 

Palila rose from her little bed. 

And stole with soft and timid tread 

From the wigwam door. Her lovely face 

"Was very pale ; and one might trace 

On it those marks of deepest gloom. 

Which oft foreshade our coming doom. 

She plunged into the forest's shade. 

Where the raccoon and the wild-cat played. 

And the swamp wolf's eyes with hideous glare. 

Gazed on her from the liidden lair ; 

Into the deep and tangled brake. 

Where the ven'mous, sharp-toothed rattlesnake 

Hissed at her fast retreating form. 

As he rattled loud his dread alarm. 

She climbed the steep and rugged hill. 
Upon whose crest the wliippoorwill 
Was uttering her mournful cry, 
A token sure that death was uigh. 
On— on, into the gloomy dell. 
Where the owl was hooting in his cell ; 
On, with a footstep like the deer, 
On, though her heart beat fast with fear ; 
On, though her limbs could scarce uphold 
Her trembling form, and drops of cold 
And clammy sweat were gathering now, 
Like dew-drops, ou her lovely brow. 
At length, she reached the fountain clear, 
And with some brushwood, kindled near 
Its brink a blazing fire. She found 
The twig, and bending down, she bound 
Her moccasin secure and fast 



Upon its stem ; and having cast 
Around a look of anxious fear- 
Like some poor, timid, frightened deer, 
When menaced with the hunter's ire— 
Her circuit round the crackling fire 
She then began. Six times she made 
The circuit round, with noiseless tread. 
Then with a trembling hand she threw 
The liquid from the vase into 
The ruddy flame. Straitway, a cloud 
Of smoke— black as the sable shroud 
Of night, when the fierce tempest's ire 
Bursts ou the earth— came from the Are 
In spiral wreaths, and wound 
Itself, like some huge serpent, round 
Pallia's form. A moment more. 
And the gentle wings of the zephyr bore 
It far away ; and the maiden saw 
Her long-loved, long-lost Toppasha 
Standing beside the spring. But O ! 
His look was cold as the winter snow ; 
His melting glance of love was gone ; 
The chill of death, it seemed, was on 
His lofty brow ; and his eagle eye 
Was vacant— dim. With joyful cry, 
That through the silent forest rang, 
Palila tow'rd the spectre sprang. 
But with a frown upon its face, 
It slowly shrank from her embrace. 
And like the magic village seen 
By travellers on the prairie green, 
'Twould always flit away, whene'er 
Pallia's trembling steps drew near. 
"O, Toppasha," the maiden cried, 
"Why shrink'st thou from Pallia's side ? 
E'er since the sweet, yet mournful hour. 
When first we met in yonder bower. 
My very life, bj' love's decree, 
Has been one long, long thought of thee. 
O, come, and let me once more rest 
This fevered brow upon your breast. 
O, come, and round me twine your arm. 
And let me feel your kisses warm 
Upon my liiis. Then I could die 
In peace, and cast no ling'ring sigh 
On aught behind." But the spectre stood 
With folded arms, in gloomy mood. 
Cold and unmoved. And the maiden bowed 
Her lovely form, and wept aloud. 

Meanwhile, the witch, old Oradore, 
Had wound her way to Gray Hawk's door. 
And roused him with her piercing screams. 
"Who wakes me fiom my midnight dreams ?" 



12 



Backwoods Poems. 



The chief, in tones of thunder cried. 
"No matter, now," the witch replied ; 
"Let the chieftain string his good, sti'oag bow, 
And to the med'cine fountain go. 
Haste— quick— the chieftain's daughter fair 
Has met her Chicka-saw lover there." 
Old Gray Hawk rose in frenzy wild, 
Strode to the bedside of his child, 
And found that she indeed was gone. 
Then his dark eye, like lightning shone ; 
His brow grew dai-k as the tempest cloud ; 
And like the thunder, his voice loud. 
"My bow !" he cried, "my trusty bow, 
I'll teach the coward Chickasaw, 
What 'tis to creep with catlike tread, 
And steal my daughter from her bed." 
He grasped his bow, where it had hung 
O'erhead for many a year, unstrung. 
And fixed the string. Then having tied 
His well-stored quiver by his side. 
He bounded from the door, and sped 
Into the forest, with a tread 
As light as 'twas in days of yore, 
When with unsparing hand he tore 
The reeking scalp from the foeman's head. 
As from the battle field he fled. 
At last he reached the spring, and saw 
Palila and the Chickasaw, 
Not closely looked love's in embrace, 
But gazing in each other's face. 
With mournful look of deep despair. 
Like a wild-oat wounded in tlie lair. 
The aged chief with fury raged. 
Quick from his quiver he disengaged 
A barbed arrow straight and true, 
And fixed it to the bow. He drew 
The string, and glanced along the dart- 
'Twas pointed toward the stranger's heart— 
The bowstring twanged— tlie arrow sped— 
Quick from his sight the phantom fled - 
And Oh ! the sharp and murd'rous dart 
Was buried in Pallia's heart ! 
With piercing scream, upon the ground 
The maiden fell ; while from the wound 
The warm, red current bubbled fortli. 
Like a spring of waterfrom the earth. 
Old Gray Hawk raised her lifeless form 
Upon his almost nerveless arm ; 
Drew the keen arrow from her side, 
And strove to staunch the crimron tide- 
Alas ! he found that 'twas too late. 
Her wounded heart had ceased to beat , 
And her young spirit winged its flight, 
Beyond the ken of mortal sight. 



To join the bright and happy band 

Who range the woods of the spirit land. 

"My child ! my child !" the chieftain cried, 

"Would that 'twas I— not thou— that died V 

And in the agony of despair. 

He wildly tore his long, grey hair ; 

And wept, until the woods around, 

Were vocal with the mournful sound. 

Straitway, a peal of laughter clear. 

Rang out upon the midnight air ; 

And Oradore came from the wood. 

And with a mocking count'nance stood 

Before the chief. "Gray Hawk," she screamed. 

And from her furious eyeballs gleamed 

The hellisli fires of demon hate : 

"Gray Hawk, revenge is sweet, though late. 

Rememb'rest thou Tuscora? How, 

In this same wood, she once did bow 

All humbly at thy very feet. 

And there, with streaming eyes entreat 

Thy love ? And thou, with scornful eye, 

Did'st turn away, without a sigh 

Of pity e'en ! The pois'nous dart 

Rankled in young Tuscora's heart. 

Like the arrow in tlie buffalo's side. 

The Turtle Dove became thy bride. 

That day the fair Tuscora fled 

Into the wood. All thought her dead. 

She did not die. She lived to hate 

Thee and thy race. She lived to wait 

The coming of the happy hour. 

When she could have thee in her power ; 

To crush thy heart, and rack thy brain, 

And feast her soul upon thy pain. 

Know then, that she has leagued with hell. 

And learned to weave the witch's spell ; 

That the young stranger, at whose heart, 

Thy rashness aimed the fatal dart, 

Was but a phantom, which her power 

Had conjured up this very hour, 

That thou might'st slied, in frenzy wild. 

The heart-blood of thy darling child. 

Say, has she not fulfilled her vow \ 

Tuscora stands before thee now !" 

This said, into the woods she sprang, 

With a laugh that through the forest rang. 

And from that day was nevermore 

Beheld tlie face of Oradore. 

Next day the White Wolf found his bride, 
Lying all pale and cold beside 
The med'cine spring. Beside her lay 
Her aged sire ; his long locks grey 
Stained with the maiden's blood — his arm 



Backwoods Poems. 



13 



Clasped round her stiff and lifeless form. 
Gray Hawk was dead ! A keener dart 
Than that winch pierced Pallia's heart, 
Had found its way to his. Remorse 
Had crushed him with its iron force. 

They dug a gi'ave in a little wood 

Close where the chieftain's wigwam stood, 

And by the moonlight, buried there 

The chieftain and his daughter fair — 

The maiden, with her jewels rare 

Braided among her raven hair ; 

The chieftain, with his sturdy bow 

And tomahawk, which many a foe 

Had caused to bleed, when he, the dread 

Of every foe, the column led. 

A little mound above the grave 

Was raised, and many a brave 

Stood round, and dropped the scalding tear 

Upon his loved chieftain's bier. 

From all old Gray Hawk's wide domains, 

The Chootaws came in mournful trains. 

To join the solemn funeral rites ; 

And for a score of days aad nights. 

The neighb'ring hills, and plains and vales. 

Resounded with their piteous wails. 

VI. 

The moccasin still hung beside 

The med'cine spring, where it was tied 



Fast to the twig. When the Winter King 

Usurped the throne of gentle Spring, 

And nature's face was wan with grief, 

It fell and mouldered with the leaf 

Upon the ground. But when again 

Spring spread her mantle o'er the plain. 

And the tender plants put forth anew 

Their flow'rs, a bud of yellow hue 

Upon the little twig was seen. 

Nestling among the foliage green. 

At length it oped its bosom fair 

Unto the wooing, morning air. 

A tiny moccasin it now 

Appeared, bung to the tender bough, 

Such as the one Palila hung 

Upon the twig. From it haa sprung 

The curious, little, yellow flower 

We often find in nature's bower 

In spring. 'Tis called by the wise pale-face. 

In the polished language of his race, 

The Lady's Slipper. By red-men 

'Tis called Pallia's Moccasin. 

Oft, in the forest's pleasant shade. 
The Choctaw and his dark-eyed maid 
Search for this flow'r, which having found 
They sit down on some mossy mound. 
And there the lover will relate 
The sad tale of Pallia's fate. 




u 



BaoTcwoods Poems. 



The Old School House. 

I see it now — that lude old hut — 

The wooden chimney, low and wide, 

The stage ot clay before the door, 

And the bush arbor by its side : 

The old gray oak, beneath whose shade 

I oft have played at noon-day hours; 

The little rill that murmured by. 

With banks o'erspread with moss and flowers. 

It seems it was but yesterday. 
That I, with slate and book in hand. 
Trudged slowly up the oft-trod path, 
To join the school-boys' merry band. 
In fancy oft I sit me down 
Within those smoky walls again ; 
See dear old schoolmates seated round, 
And listen to their noisy din. 

Oft on yon grassy plat I've sat, 
And viewed the sports of stouter boys ; 
And wept, to feel that I was formed 
Too weak to share their active joys : 
Or watched the school-girl's fairy form 
Glide lightly through the merry play, 
Till the teacher's loud stentorian voice 
Warned us from sport to haste away. 

Years — many years— have passed away — 
Years fraught with evil and with good — 
And tangled briers now overspread 
The spot where the old school-house stood. 
The oak has shared the cabin's fate — 
The ruthless axe has laid it low ; 
And a new school-house now stands upon 
The spot where once in jsride it grew. 

The rocky Spring where oft at noon 
We quaft'ed the water clear and cool. 
Is filled with leaves and blackened earth, 
And naught remains but a stagnant pool. 
And where, O where, are those dear friends 
I loved to meet in by-gone days ? 
Where are those girlish forms that woke 
The youthful poet's earliest lays ? 

Some have removed to other lands ; 
Some in the silent grave are lain ; 
And friendship's chain no longer binds 
The hearts ot those who still remain. 
We meet no more with cordial smiles, 
As in the happy days of yore ; 
But oft I think ot schoolboy days. 
And sigh that they return no more. 



The Cuban Maid to the American 
Volunteer. 



O, come, soldier, come o'er the broad rolling wave 
To the island where dwell the lovely and brave ; 
O, come where the flowers bloom throughout the year. 
And the voice of the nightingale ever is near. 

O, hard is the yoke, and galling the chain. 
Imposed on our land by the tyrants of Spain ; ' 

Tlie blood of our brothers has crimsoned the earth I 
For daring to love the sweet land of their birth. 

But the power of the tyrants is passing away. 
Like the mist on the hills at the dawning of day ; 
For brave men are arming on mountain and plain, 
And the battle of fi'eedom was never in vain. 

Then come, soldier, come, and aid us to wrest 
From the grasp of the Spaniaid the Gem of the West ; 
Come aid us to rear, in our bright, sunny clime 
An empire to last throughout all future time. 

Then, in some lonely dell where the orange trees grow. 
Where nightingale's warble, and soft zephyrs blow, 
With no monarch to serve but our Father above. 
We'll glide through a life of liappiness and lo^■e. 

1851. 



O Come Dear Girl! 

O come dearest girl, O come with me now. 
And I'll weave a wreath for yovir snowy brow ; 
Come, and let the breeze fan your raven hair, 
And blow on your cheeks so soft and so fair. 

Come let us sit on the banks of this stream. 
And ot love and joy we will sweetly dream. 
We will dream of times forever gone by— 
Of .some with a smile, others with a sigh. 

I'll cull thee flowers, the fairest in the gi'ove, 
I'll get thee a rosebud, to toll thee of love, 
Then come, dearest girl, and wander with me. 
And I'll be a kind companion to thee. 

1847. 



Backiuoods Foeins. 15 


Farewell to Erin. 


I oft have sat thy shade beneath, 


Farewell- -a long and last farewell— 

To Erin's lovely sliore ; 
The friends and scenes to me so dear, 


Beside my heart's first love ; 
W^hile round my brmv he twined the wreath 
He gathered in the grove. 


Shall meet these eyes no more. 


My lorer false has gone away,— 


I once did live in yonder vale, 

Beside yon murm'ring- stream ; 
My little Held with plenty smiled— 


Forever gone from me, — 
But till my last, my dying day 
Will I remember thee. 
1848. 


How happy was the dream ! 




My gray-haired father blest his son, 




My mother on me smiled ; 
(1, happy, happy, was my lot, 


The Irish Felon. 


Ere want the scene dispelled. 






He's far from his home and the scenes of his youth— 


My cottage now in ruin lies, 


The gallant defender of freedom and truth : 


My little field in waste ; 


He dwells on the crest of the broad rolling wave— 


My father sleeps beneath the turf. 


The dark felon ship is the home of the brave. 


My mother is at rest. 






The fair fields of Erin— his own native shore- 


The blight destroyed the poor man's food, 


Shall gladden the eye of the felon no more ; 


The fields all barren lie ; 


All lonely he dwells on the prison ship drear. 


The landlord drove the pig away. 


With not a kind friend his condition to cheer. 


And left the serf to die. 






With loud cries of anguish his wife walks the shore. 


The Saxon turned a cold, deaf car 


Bewailing the husband she'll embrace no more. 


To Erin's starving cry ; 


pale is her cheek, O tearful is her eye, 


He drained the land of all her wealth. 


And deep are the woes that in her bosom lie. 


And left her sons to die. 






O, dark was the crime that they laid at his door : 


But there's a land beyond the sea— 


When Erin lay bleeding at every pore. 


'Tis freedom's liappy home ; 


He dared to condemn the base tyrants that eruslied 


Her fields all smile with golden grain. 


Her chivalric children so low in the dust. 


And bid the exile come. 






Aye, he, a vile subject, did e'en dare to raise 




His plebean voice in sweet liberty's praise ; 
Did speak of resisting the dark iron hand 




The Tree Where We First Met. 


That bound in oppression his own native land ! 


My memory fondly clings to thee— 

To thee and to the past ; 
Thou wilt fore'er be dear to me. 

Where'er my lot is cast. 


Yes, this is the crime of the gallant and brave : 
For this he must lead the base life of a slave — 
Deprived of the dearest enjoyments of life — 
His freedom, his friends, his dear country and wife 1 


Methinks I see thy dark form now, 


Ye sons of Hibemia, whose glorious name 


Wide towering o'er the plain ; 


Has long filled the loftiest niche of fame. 


Methinks I hear ray lover's ^■ow 


By Emmet's fond mem'ry, O, swear you'll he free. 


Repeated o'er again. 


And tear from proud England the gem of the soa '. 


Beneath thy shade I once did rove. 


O, rally around the green Hag ot the brave ; 


My lone hours to beguile ; 


In every breeze let that proud banner wave ; 


Beneath thy shade I learned to love. 


And never return your bright swords to their sheath. 


To sigh, to weep, to smile. 


Until you have won Independence or Death. 



16 



Backwoods Poems. 



The Murderer's Doom. 

The burnished sun's last gilded ray^ 
Bright token of the close of day— 
Cast a bright flood of mellow light 
On lowly dell and mountain height. 
The grey twilight crept slowly on ; 
The twinkling stars peered forth ; anon 
The pale moon with her silv'ry sheen, 
Cast her soft rays upon the scene. 

II. 

Along a deep and tangled wood, 

Fit only tor the dark abode 

Of fierce and savage beasts of pre/, 

A lonely horseman wound his way. 

His brow was dark as the face of night, 

When not a star appears in sight ; 

Dark hate and fear both lingered there — 

A mark upon the murderer ! 

"Ho! ho!" he laughed, " I'm safe at last ; 

My tears are o'er, the danger's past." 

" Safe !" echoed back the swamp wolf's howl ; 

" Safe ?" hooted loud the midnight o v\ ; 

"Safe?" croaked the bull-frog in the lake ; 

"Safe!" hissed the deadly rattlesnake. 

A voice whispered in his ear, 

" Thou art yet unsafe, even here. 

The God that fixed the black'ning stain 

Upon the brow of guilty Cain, 

Saw thee thy fellow-creature slay : 

Vengeance is His, He will repay." 

The horseman rode to an oak that stood 

Like a grim sentry in the wood ; 

Then tying fast his jaded beast. 

He sank upon the ground to rest. 

III. 

Night wore slowly on ; in the west 
Appeared a thunder-cloud's dark crest ; 
It slowly mounted up on high, 
Till its dark veil o'erspread the sky. 
Shut out the twinkling stars from sight. 
And e'en obscured the Queen of night. 
The winds awoke from their calm sleep, 
Like waves upon the troubled deep ; 
They howled among the tall, dark trees. 
Like " warlocks sporting on the braes." 
The lightning leaped from pole to pole ; 
Then came the deaf 'ning thunder's roll; 
The forest trembled as with fear — 
Heaven's fierce artillery was there. 



IV. 

Still 'neath the tree the murderer slept : 

Dark visions 'fore his fancy crept. 

That froze the life blood in his heart. 

And made him writhe with Conscience' dart. 

Dark demons flitted swiftly past 

His damp and lowly place of rest ; 

They laughed until the woods around 

Echoed the loud, unearthly sound. 

Amid the blackness of the storm 

He saw his victim's bloody form : 

It pointed to the ghastly wound, 

Then slowly sank upon the ground. 

Amid the darkness of the night 

A gleam of lightning quivered bright ; 

Sped the bolt to the dark old oak— 

A thund'ring crash the silence broke — 

Beneath the tree the murderer lay, 

A blackened mass of crisped clay. 

1348. 



To Miss Mary P r. 

Like the meteor which swiftly shoots 
Across the gloomy fields of night. 

Your lovely form before ma shone, 
Then vanished from my raptured sight. 

But still that lovely form remains 

Imprinted deeply on my mind ; 
As, when the meteor is lost. 

It leaves a train of liglit behind. 

In fancy yet I fondly gaze 

Into your soft and dreamy eyes ; 
Still view that calm and beauteous face, 

Briglit as a beam from Paradise. 

At eve I hear your gentle voice 

In every passing zephyr's tone ; 
And new-bom rapture swells the heart 

Your charms, sweet girl, have made your own. 

Years may elapse, and other arms 
May clasp you in love's warm embrace ; 

But time and space can ne'er blot out 
The mem'ry of your lovely face. 



Backwoods Poems. 


17 


To Mary Jean. 


A .shout for Pierce and King 
In the Granite State is heard ; 
And gallant old Connecticut 




In clays of aulcl (I have been tauld, 


Has caught the magic word. 




And sao the history teaches,) 


The sons of York have girded on 




Owe guid auld sires bnilt rousing tires, 


Their armor for the fight ; 




To raust alive the witches. 


And Seward, with his " wooly heads," 
Is trembling with atti'ight. 




It 'twere sae now, tair lass, I trow 






Ve'd fa' an early vietim ; 


A shout for Pierce and King ! 




For there's a score of lads, or more. 


The brave old Keystone State 




Wad swear tliat ye've bewitclied 'em. 


Has thrown her banner to the breeze. 
And sealed the Nation's fate. 




I dinna mean that ye hae been 


The " Jersey Blues" are opening 




A leaf?uin' wi' the Devil; 


A fire in Winfield's rear. 




Or that, astride the broom, ye ride 


While cheers ascend from Maryland, 




To witches' midmght revel. 


And little Delaware. 




Itut this I say— as weel I may— 


A shout for Pierce and King ! 




Ye've leagued wi' wicked Cupid ; 


Virginia's in the tield. 




And got his darts, to pierce the hearts 


With the principles of *Si8 




Of us puir mortals stupid. 


Inscribed upon her shield. 

Old Kip Van Winkle has awoke 




Ye didna know I saw his bow 


To see the glorious light. 




Beneath your silken lashes. 


While South Carolina— bless her name- 




When you so sly the darts let fly 


Stands ready for the fight. 




At me, like lightning flashes. 


A shout for Pierce and King ! 




We poets ken what other men 






Hae not the gift o' spyin' ; 


In every Southern heart 




The spirit-laud, wi' all its band. 


Those names are shrined; and nobly will 
The Soutli perform her part. 




Is open to our pryin'. 


For when fanaticism first 




But still we rush into the mesh 


Revealed its snaky form. 




Wi' which ye seek to bind us ; 


Pierce stood beside our own Calhoun, 




And the magic liglit o' second sight 


And braved its howling storm. 




But .serves the mair to Wind us. 


A shout for Pierce and King I 
Like a lion from his lair, 
The giant West has risen up. 








And shook his locks in air. 




A Shout lor Pierce and King. 


From North to South, from East to West, 
The work goes bravely on ; 






And onward still the ball wdl roll 




.\IR— " A Life, nn Die Ocenv Wave." 


Until the victory's won. 


' 


A shout for Pierce and King . 


A shout tor Pierce and King I 




Is borne on every gale; 


Let the loud echo sound 




'Tis heard u]>on the mountain top. 


From shore to shore, until it spreads 




And echoed in the vale. 


The spacious earth around ; 




From the forest wilds of Maine 


Till Europe's millions catch the ery. 




To California's shore. 


And burst the tyrant's chain ; 




One long loud shout of joy is heard — 


And " fraedoin's mirtyrs" find at last 




" The Gulphin reign is o'er. 


Tlieir work was not in vain. 





18 



Backwoods Poems. 



Lines to Miss L. V. S. of Memphis. 

Sweet girl, amid the desert waste 

Of vapid thoughts and jarring rhymes, 

Called POETET in modern times, 

I've found an oasis at last. 

I've read the warblings of your muse ; 

They glow with that poetic fire 

Which genius can alone inspire. 

Tour verse is soft as " twilight dews ;" 

Your thoughts are clear— not overwrouglit ; 

That mist of words you scorn with pride 

Which scribbling fools employ to hide 

The stupid vacuum of thought. 

Press on to your high destiny ; 

On eagle pinions soar above 

The buzzing insect tribes who rove 

Amid the flowers of poesy. 

Let themes sublime your mind engage ; 

And with the pen of genius write 

Your name in lines of living light 

On glory's bright, enduring page. 



Day. 



O mortal man ! look up on high ; 
Behold the bright, the calm, blue sky : 
Behold tha sun, in splendor bright, 
Disperse the gloomy shades of night. 
Look at the trees, in bright, full bloom, 
Shedding around their sweet perfume ; 
The earth arrayed in gaudy dress ; 
The brook that murmurs happiness. 
All these, so beautiful and grand, 
Were mide by God's Almighty hand. 

NIGHT. 

The moon upon her nightly march. 
The stars adorning night's blue arch. 
Their great Creator's power display. 
And tell of worlds far, far away. 
Look at that bright and golden cloud 
That seems the heavens to enshroud ; 
Yon silv'i'y lake, so clear and bright, 
Reflecting pale, fair Cynthia's light. 
Look thou, O man ! and tell me now. 
Does not thy heart before God bow? 
Yes, yes, all things His power display, 
And praise His name by night and day. 



Lines written in Miss L. W. H.'s Album. 

" Write but a word— a word or two, 
And make me love to think of you." 

Think not of me amid the throng 
Where pleasure beams in every eye ; 
When music thrills each swelling heart, 
And th' hours on rosy pinions fly. 
But think of me, when twilight throws 
Her sombre veil o'er hill and dell ; 
When the sun has sunk in th' golden West, 
And speaks to us a sweet farewell. 

Think not of me, when prosperous galei5 
Transport thy bark o'er life's smooth sea ; 
When rippling waves reflect the beams 
Of th' morning sun— think not of me. 
But think of me when frowning clouds 
O'erspread the bright cerulean sky — 
When lightnings flash, and thunders crash 
Beneath the storm that's hovering nigh. 

Think not of me, when youthful lips 
In trembling tones fond love reveal ; 
And th' timid blush confesses what 
The maiden heart would fain conceal. 
But in some lonely, pensive hour. 
When life has lost its charms for thee. 
Turn to these lines my hand has traced, 
And think, sweet girl, O think of me. 



Autumn Flowers. 

Accept, my fi-iend, this sweet bouquet 

Ot autumn's fairest flowers. 
Which I have culled and wove for thee 

In Nature's fading bowers. 

Far dearer are these flowers to me 
Than Summer's fragrant rose, 

Which 'neath the rays ot a genial sun 
In gorgeous sjjlendor grows; 

But when the chilling winds creep on, 

Forsakes, the flowery glade, 
Like those false friends who leave us when 

Misfortune needs their aid. 

But these are like the friend whose lo\e 

Misfortune cannot sever— 
A friend in sunshine and in storm, 

A faithful friend forever. 



Backwoods Poems. 19 


Isola. 


Nay, Do Not Pout. 


My brain is throbbing wild, Isola, 


Nay, do not pout your rosy lips, 


My aching lieart will break ; 


Nor frown upon the love 


And yet, I may not dare to bieathe the words I long 


Whose subtile web your countless charms 


to speak ; 


Around my heart have wove. 


For, O, I know too well, 'twould give your gentle 




bosom pain. 


It surely is no crime to love ; 


To know that you are loved by one you cannot love 


And though my love were vain, 


again. 


I would not for a thousand worlds. 




Tlirow off its silken chain. 


I've striven often, sweet Isola, 




To tear you from ray breast. 


For, 0, 'tis sweet to think of you, 


And drive each burning thought of you to a Lethean 


And feel ray bosom thrill 


rest : 


With wild delight, which Reason's voice 


But wlien your large blue eyes are gazing calmly 


Has not the power to still ! 


into mine. 




My soul rebels, and bows again before the dear- 


To fondly treasure every glance 


loved shrine. 


Of your dark liquid eye ; 




And hang upon your every woi-d 


For, 0, that look recalls, Isola, 


With burning ecstasy. 


Dear mem'ries of the past — 




Of hours I .^pent with you in childhood — hours too 


Re.iect the tribute of my heart- 


sweet to last ; 


Hate— scorn— me, if you will. 


When through the dark, green woods we roamed— 


Despite the frowns of cruel fate. 


a happy little pair— 


I will adore you still. 


And culled wild pinks to braid among your glossy 




raven hair. 




But sorrow since has cast, Isola, 




O'er both oui' hearts a gloom, 


Look Up. 


And many of our dearest hopes lie mouldering in the 




tomb; 


When first your trembling feet essay 


And oft, like spring-time violets wet with morning's 


The journey thro' life's mazy way. 


limpid dew. 


And a dark unknown, the future lies 


Have been suffused with bitter tears your eyes so 


Before your sad, desponding eyes — 


softly blue. 


Look up ! 


I do not ask your love, Isola, 


When pleasure strews your path with flowei-s, 


That once dear hope has flown, 


And gently glide the rose-winged hours ; 


A.nd I must tread life's path unloved— uncared for — 


When calm content brings sweet repose, 


and alone : 


Remember whence each blessing flows- 


Still you shall ever be the star, with soft and silvery 


Look up ! 


light. 




To cheer me on ray dreary way, through clouds and 


When gloomy clouds around you lower 


gloomy night. 


In dark misfortune's fearful hour ; 




When plunged in sorrow's Stygian deep, 


Sweet thoughts of you shall paint, Isola, 


Your grief-strained eyes retuse to weep — 


With hues of love my themes ; 


Look up ! 


And you shall be the spirit of the poet's daring 


- 


dreams. 


When Death's cold hand is on you laid ; 


Then, though the world may frown, the whisper of 


When earthly light begins to fade. 


Isola's name 


And th' timid soul shrinks from the gloom 


Shall nerve me boldly to ascend the rugged steep of 


Wliich hangs around the silent tomb- 


fame. 


Look up ! 



20 



Biichujoods Poems. 



Our Youth is Fast Fleeting. 



Insprihefl to my friend and former playmate, W. L, 
Grekn . 



The spring-time of youth is fast fleeting away, 
With all its rich freightage of pleasures so gay ; 
The clear-ringing laughter of cliildhood no more 
Is heard by the rivulet's pebble-bound shore ; 
The gambols and sports of the gay, romping boy 
No longer can fill the young bosom with ,ioy : 
The duties of ■manhood — its troubles and cares — 
Must claim the whole time of our ripening years. 

The spring-time of youth is fast fleeting away — 
Its rose-pinioned moments no longer will stay ; 
The day-dreams are o'er which our young spirits fired, 
And ads must achieve what our fancies aspired. 
The high hopes which budded in childhood's sweet 

hours. 
By fond, gentle nursing have bloomed into flowers ; 
O, say, shall they wither and fall to the earth, 
Or end in fruition as rich as their birth .' 

The spring-time of youth is fast fleeting away. 
Old age will soon sprinkle our locks o'er with gray. 
And youthful ambition will wither and die. 
Like the leaves of the forest wiien winter is nigh. 
Then, like the bold woodsman who blazes the road 
Which leads through the wood to his rural abode, 
Mark we ev'ry step in the pathway of time, 
With th' noblest of viitues, and actions sublime. 



To Mali. 

Sweet maiden with the dreamy eyes, 
Whose hues were stolen from April skies. 
Your gentle, artless charms have wove 
Ax'ound my heart the snare of love. 
O lovely Mell ! O sweet enchanting Mell ! 
I've lov^d before, but never half so well. 

I've watched your bosom tall and rise, 

Like th' ' ocean when 'twould kiss the skies,' 

And wondered to myself, if e'er 

A thought of me was treasured there. 

O lovely Mell ! O dear, bewitching Mell ! 

I've loved before, but never half so well. 



I've gazed upon your damask cheek. 
Where blushes play at hide and seek ; 
And thought 'twould be a heaven of bliss. 
To steal from it one burning kiss. 
O lovely Mell ! U gay, mischievous Mell ! 
I've loved before, but never lialf so well. 

I've gazed upon your half op'd lips. 
Moist with the nectar Cupid sips, 
And wondered if they breathed a sigh 
For such a rhyming fool as I. 
O lovely Mell ! O fairest, dearest Mell ! 
I've loved before, but never lialf so well. 

Alas ! you've wove a spider's snai'e : 

You mock the fool that's entered there. 

Until his heart is wild with pain. 

But ne'er will let him out again. 

O lovely Mell !, O cruel, laughing Mell ! 

I've loved before, but ne'er one half so well. 



No One Loves Me. 

How like the North wind's chilling breath 
That clothes the flow'rs in robes of death- 
How like the keen and barbed dart 
Which quivers in the eagle's heart. 
This sad — this heart-corroding truth — 
Presents itself to th' mind of youth — 
" Nil one loi'K!: me .'" 

No gentle heart, with quick'ning beat, 
Sends the warm blood in blushes sweet 
Unto the soft and glowing cheek, 
When careless lips have chanced to speak 
.My name, or ever busy memory 
Kecalls some pleasant tiiought of me : — 
No one loves me. 

No eyes grow bright when I am near, 
Nor mark my absence with a tear ; 
No bosom Jieaves a fragrant sigh. 
When hands have squeezed a fond good-bye ; 
No lips confess my name is dear, 
In whispers, lest the walls should hear :^ 
No one loves me. 

As roses lose their crinrsou hue, 
Wlien sheltered from the twilight dew ; 
As wilt the waving fields of grain 
When clouds their precious stores restrain ; 
So pines the heart of him who bears 
The thought — in silence, though in tears — 
" No one loves me." 



Bachwoods Poems. 



21 



A Blush. 

Inscribed to Miss Sallie E. S. 

A little heart beat last and wild 

Within a maiden's breast, 
As, sitting by her lover's side. 

She was by him caressed. 
And, ever and anon, Itis lips, 

Too tremulous to speak. 
Would print a warm, impassioned kiss 

Upon the maiden's cheek. 

At this, the naughty little heart 

Began to tret and grieve. 
That it shoidd bear love's keenest pangs, 

And yet no kiss receive. 
And thus it bade the crimsop tide. 

Which flowed so warm and free — 
" Speed thou unto the happy cheek. 

And bring a kiss to me." 

(iuick as the lightning's quiv'ring flash. 

The blood obedient flew 
Unto the cheek, and soon sult'used 

It with a rosy hue. 
The lover gazed with raptured eye. 

And pressed the cheek again ; — 
The heart received its longed-for kiss. 

And did no more complain. 



Autumn. 



Let nobler poets tune their lyres to sing 

The budding glories of the early spring;— 

Its gay sweet-scented flowers, and verdant trees 

That graceful bend before the western breeze : 

Be mine the task to chant in humble rhyme 

The lovely autumn of our own bright southern clime. 

No more the sun, from out the zenith high, 
With fiery tong-ue licks brook and riv'let dry ; 
But from beyond the equinoctial line — 
Where crystal waters lave the golden mine- 
Aslant on earth he x^ours his mellow beams. 
Soft as the memories which light old age's dreams. 



The green and yellow leaves peep out between 

The forest's foliage so darkly green ; 
The scarlet berries line the dog-wood tree, 
AVhere sport the birds, with songs of highest glee ; 
While o'er the gurgling stream the clambering vines. 
Hang low with loads of jet black grapes and mus- 
cadines. 

The black-eyed squirrel sings his meriy song. 
As he, with tail erect, reclines among 
The rich-lade branches of the hick'ry tree ; 
And on the lawn, the drowsy bumble-bee 
Sucks from the purple, white, and yellow flowers 
A honied store, to serve through Winter's dreary 
hours. 

From tree to tree, the parti-colored jay. 
With clam'rous cry, flits through the livelong day; 
With prudent foresight, she is culling now 
The chinijuepins from oif the bending bough. 
A rich repast they'll be in time of dearth. 
When cold, north winds with snow liave lined the 
frozen earth. 

Long ere the dawn has streaked the eastern sky. 
The little boys arise from bed and hie 
To th' well-known chestnut tree, and from the ground 
Pick up the nuts the wind has scattered round ; 
Just as the sluggish swine, with piercing squsal, 
Rush there to liunt in vain a sav'ry morning meal. 

And when the sun sinks gently down to rest 
Behind the crimson drapery of the west, 
The happy slaves in th' distant cotton field 
Sing merrily, as they pick the snowy yield : 
The song is answered from the fields around. 
And hill and dale reverberate the dulcet sound. 

And when night draws her curtains round the sky, 
And shivering screech-owls shriek their plaintive cry, 
We sit beside the crack'liug fire, and pore 
Some fav'rite author's glowing pages o'er - 
I,augh with the young at merry jibes and jeers- 
Or hear old age i-elate the tales of bygone years. 

O lovely Autumn ! thou art bound to me 
By a thousand ties of blissful memory. 
Nor Spring, nor Summer to my boyish heart 
Could half thy dear, delightful joys impart. 
I've wept to see thee change to Winter drear, 
And, childlike, wished that thou wouldst last through 
all the year. 



Baclcwoods Poems. 



Lines to 

No, no, I'll not woo thee while pleasure is beaming 

In the clear, liquid depths of thy soft, azure eye ; 
"While the bright smile of bliss on thy sweet lip is 
gleaming. 

Like glimpses of sunshine in morn's rosy sky. 
No, no, I'll not woo thee, while round thoe concentre 

A host of proud forms, far more manly than mine. 
Each striving the gate of thy young heart to enter. 

And pour out his incense upon its sweet shrine. 

With all the bright hopes that now cluster around 
thee, 

'Twere madness to ask aught but friendship for me ; 
And to offer a heart that's so lowly might wound thee, 

E'en though with deep love it is bleeding for thee. 
Like the heathen who kneels in devout adoration, 

As he views in the ether his brignt idol star, 
So, fondly I gaze on thy cheek's rich carnation. 

And silently worship thy beauty afar. 

But should the dark storm of misfortune o'ertake 
thee— 

The smile quit thy hp, and the light, thy blue eye ; 
Should those who now flatter, ail, basely forsake thee, 

Like insects, the lawn when cold winter is nigh ; 
Then come to this bosom where still shall be pulsing, 

A heart that is fondly, unchangeably thine ; 
And every sorrow, thy bosom convulsing, 

A deep pang should waken responsive in mine. 



The Magic Violin. 

The sweet harp of ^olus, when touched by the breeze. 
As it hung in the forest of green orange trees. 
Never yielded so soft, so melodious a strain 
As that which I draw from my old violin. 
'Tis more potent than brandy, to banish dull care 
From the stern breast of man, or the brow of the fair ; 
For the sullen frown changes into a broad grin. 
When I strike the sweet notes of my old violin. 

I passed through a village one bright, summer day. 
And stopped in the shade of an old oak to play : 
And such another hubbub was ne'er before seen. 
As that which took place on the smooth village green. 
The boy left his kite, and the merchant his wares; 
The black-smith his forge, and the tailor his shears; 
The matron her loom, and the toper his gin ; 
And danced to the sound of my old violin. 



I passed where a man was haranguing a crowd 
About banks and the tarifl', in words long and loud ; 
I struck a few notes— like magic they flew. 
The crowd went to dancing, and the orator too. 
There was hopping and skipping, and crossing of 

shanks ; 
The tariff wa^ forgotten, and so were the banks; 
They cared not a penny which party might win. 
As they tripped to the sound of my old violin. 

O, the power of music, when it glows with the fire 

Which Heaven-born genius alone can inspire ! 

It pierces the deepest recess of the soul. 

And holds the strong heart in its magic control. 

Old age's cold fetters encircle me now ; 

His frost's on my locks, and his seam's on my brow ; 

But still the warm current will bound through the 

vein, 
When I strike the sweet tones of my old violin. 



Note.— A German minstrel once carried with him 
in his wanderings through his fatherland, a violin, 
the sound of which set all who heard it to danoing. 
I have here changed the scene of his wanderings to 
the United States. 



Lines. 



When shining cherubim with swords of flame. 
Our parents drove from Eden's bower. 
And sfioke the curse of Heavenly ire 
Which scorched their guilty souls like tire- 
In that same dark and torturing hour, 
A smiling seraph from Jehovah came, 
A nd thus addressed poor Adam and his dame : 

" It pleases Him who sits upon the Throne, 
In pity for your fallen state. 
That you may choose the dearest, best 
Of all thing.s which you once possessed. 
Ere cherubim have shut the gate. 
Then speak and let the Heavenly will be done— 
Which will you keep when all the rest are gone .'" 

Then shades of thought came over Adam's brow, 

And oft he heaved the deep-drawn sigh ; 

Each was so dear, he sought in vain 

What he'd resign and what retain. 

But Eve exclaimed with sparkling eye— 
" O give us love— O give it, seraph, now. 
And to our fate we will submissive bow." 



Bachwoods Poems. 



IioUa Tona:* 

Come, sit thee down upon my knee — 
Give up awhile thy childish glee, 

For I have wove a song for thee— 
A simple, little childlike verse. 
Which I would in thy ear rehearse, 
Lolla Tona ! 

Thou'rt like a little rosebud bright. 
Just opening to the morning light. 

Oh ! may no cold and chilling blight 
Upon thee fall, to blast thy joy. 
And all thy rising hopes destroy— 
Lolla Tona! 

May tender care thy mind imbue 
With wisdom's sweet ambrosial dew ; 

May virtue give her glorious hue, 
To color thy expanding mind, 
And always in thy heart be shrined — 
Lolla Tona I 

And O, may He whose tender eye 
Melts when the little ravens cry, 
Fore'er unto thy heart be nigh. 
To guide thee mid the storms and strife 
Which lower o'er the path of life — 
Lolla Tona ! 



* I have a little niece named Laura Newtonia, 
aged about two years and a half. In her infant dia- 
lect she calls her name Lolla Tona. 



Little brother's in the grave ! It seems 

Scarce a week since we, with eager eyes. 
Stood and watch'd the sun's last rosy beams 
Fade to twilight in the western skies. 
Visions of the future 

Rose before us briglit ; 
And we talked of manhood 
With a sweet delight. 
Our golden dreams. 
E'en as the beams 
We then did watch, have fled— 
Each bud of hope 
Which then did ope. 
Lies buried with the dead. 

Little brother's in the cold, cold grave ! 
Lonely is the swing— the mossy seat— 
And the streamlet, where we used to lave. 
When oppressed by summer's heat. 
Lonely is the garden 

Where vur flowers grew— 
Ev'ry thing is lonely 
That I shared with you. 
What shall I do ? 
Away from you 
Lite loses all its charms ; 
A world I'd give 
To see you live, 
And clasp you in my arms. 



The Child's Lament. 

Little brother's in the cold, cold grave, 
Over on yon tall and grassy mound. 
Where the branches of the willow wave 
To and fro above the liallow'd ground. 
Gaily sing the spring-birds 
In the boughs o'erhead; 
Brightly blooms the moss-rose 
O'er his narrow bed. 
His little ear 
No more can hear 
The wild-bird's joyous strain ; 
His little eye 
Can ne'er espy 
Tlie crimson rose again. 



Song. 

O, smile on me again, love, 
As in the days gone by, 
Ere giief your brow had clouded. 
Or tears had dimmed your eye. 
Then hope and joy were ours, love. 
And life appeared as bright 
As summer's gorgeous rainbow. 
Or morning's early light. 
But now our sky is dark, love. 
As midnight on the Nile ; 
And naught is left to cheer me 
But your angelic smile. 
That smile is like the star, love, 
Which guides the wandering ship 
Across the trackless waters 
Of the dark and mighty deep. 
Then smile on me again, love. 
Though tears are in your eye. 
And I will banish sorrow. 
While that dear form is nigh. 



\U 



Baclcwoocls Poems. 



The Wounded Dove. 



The wounded dove sat in the wood 
With drooping head and fading eye ; 
The sportsman's lead was in her breast. 
And she had sought that spot to die. 
All sad and lone, she pinod away, 
No loved one's form was hovering nigh ; 
And fainter grew her low, sweet voice. 
As thus she breathed her plaintive cry — 
" Coo-oo, coo, coo, coo !" 

No more, at rosy dawn's axjproach. 
She'll mount on pinions soft and fair. 
And with a light and joyous heart. 
Skim thro' the misty morning air. 
No more her soft and silvery notes, 
As she salutes the new-born year, 
Shall tell the fond, exx)ectant maid, 
Where beats the heart that owns her dear — 
" Coo-oo, coo, coo, 000 !" 

She thought of loved ones waiting then 
Her slow return in th' mossy nest — 
Whose little forms would know no more 
The tender warmth of a mother's breast. 
She thought of them— and oh ! her heart 
Beat fast and wild with crushing pain : 
" Poor babes," she mused, " your mother dear 
Can ne'er return to you again" — 
"Coo-oo, coo, coo, coo !" 

" Coo-oo ! coo-coo !" what sound was that 
Which came from out the woody dell ? 
Why grew her dying eyes so bright ? 
Why did her bleeding bosom swell ? 
Her mate had come ! with trembling wings 
He hovered o'er the dying dove ; 
While she, o'erjoyed that he was near, 
Sung low her last, sweet song of love — 
" Coo-oo, coo, coo, coo !" 

Her voice grew still— her wild, bright eye 
Was turned toward her dear-loved mate— 
Her head drooped on her purple breast— 
The poor dove's heart had ceased to beat. 
Sadly around her Ifeless form 
Her mate, heart-broken, lingered long : 
And ere he sought the distant nest. 
He chanted thus her fun'ral song— 
" Coo-oo, coo, coo, coo !" 



The Three Sisters. 

I saw three sisters bending 

Above a new-made grave 
Beside the sandy sea-shore, 

Where the dark-blue rolling wave 
Sent back a plaintive chorus. 

To the music of the In-eezo, 
As mournfvilly it whispered 

Among the leaiiess trees. 

One was an aged matron 

With stern, though tearful eye, 
Whose features void of passion, 

And proud humility, 
Told that she was descended 

From the brave old pilgrim stock 
That landed from the Mayflower 

On Plymouth's famous rock. 

The second was more lovely ; 

And on her queen-like face 
Time's unrelenting finger 

Had left a lighter trace. 
Her eyes, dark, soft, and liquid, 

And sweet, voluptuous mouth. 
Showed that her torm had ripened 

In the bright and genial South. 

A wild flower was the youngest ; 

And though the heavy yoke 
Of grief had crushed her spirit, 

Her azure eyes bespoke 
A heart as free and gen'rous 

As the cool and limpid rills 
Which irrigate the valleys 

Between her western hills. 

" Dear sisters," spoke the eldest, 

" Come let our tears bedew 
The grave of him who battled 

Through life for me and you. 
My son is lost forever — 

His voice forever stilled ; 
And in his Motlier's bosom 

His place can ne'ei' be filled." 

Then spoke the youngest sister- 
She with the azure eye— 

" I feel your woes, my sister. 
With mournful sympathy. 

For th' flowers have not yet budded 
Upon the silent grave. 

Where rests my noble Henry, 
The generous and bravo." 



Backwoods Poems. 25 


" I too," exclaimed the sister 


Of the olden time that night might hear. 


With th' dark and radiant eyes, 


" 'Twas many— many years ago, 


" Can tell the pain ot breaking- 


When I was but a thoughtless child ; 


The tender, holy ties 


My father in a village lived 


Which bind us to our children ; 


'Mongst old Virginia's mountains wild. 


For Death has taken one. 


Upon a smooth and flow'ry lawn. 


Dear as the light of Heaven— 


One lovely morn in early May, 


My pride— my darling son. 


We children met with happy hearts, 




To spend the hours in merry play. 


The eye is dimmed forever 


While we were at our highest glee, 


Which burned with angry fire 


And loud our silv'ry laughter rung, 


On th' haughty, Northern foemaii 


A stranger came from out the wood. 


Who woke his deepest ire, 


And stood amid our little throng. 


By casting e'en a shadow 


Her dress, close fit, of sable hue, 


On Carolina's fame; 


Displayed a form of faultless grace ; 


For 0, he madly worshipped 


And the huge hat worn in those days. 


His mother's very name." 


Half hid her pale but lovely face. 




She stood in thouglitful mood, and gazed 


" Sweet sisters," said the youngest. 


Upon our little crowd awhile, 


" For many, many years. 


And smiled ; but then I thought it was 


Our anger tow'rd each other 


Not like my sister's happy smile. 


Has caused me many tears. 


At last, she begged that one of us 


O, let us kneel all humbly. 


Would leave awhile his merry play. 


And with the lifeless great 


And to the village pastor's house 


Entomb each bitter feeling 






Be kind enough to show the way. 


Of jealousy and hate." 


I was the boldest of the boys; 


Then knelt the weeping sisters 


And so I threw my ball aside, 


Upon the landscape bare ; 


And bounding to the little path, 


And soon to Heaven ascended 


Told her that I would be her guide. 


A deep and fervent prayer. 


When we had reached the pastor's house. 


The spirits of their children 


She thanked me with the sweetest grace ; 


Gazed from the azure skies. 


And I ran off to tell at home. 


While tears ot holy rapture 


The strange things which had taken place. 


Were sparkling in their eyes. 


Next day, when father came from work, 


18.53. 


He took me on liis knee to tell 




Me, how the stranger lady there 


* Massachusetts, South Carolina and Kentucky, 


Had come to teach us how to spell. 




This was the first school we had had — 




For scliools were not so num'rous then ; 
And 1 could scarce await the day, 






It was appointed to begin. 


The Haunted Church. 


Tlie happy day at last arrived ; 




With book in hand and clean-washed faci-, 


" 'Twas many— many years ago," 


I mounted up the broad church-steps. 


In solemn tones the old man said. 


And made my bow, and took my place. 


As from his polished hickory statt', 


Tlie school-ma'am looked so beautiful ! 


He slowly raised his aged head. 


It seems, that I can see her now, 


'Twas Christmas eve ; the sharp North wind 


With raven tresses parted smooth 


With fleecy snow-flakes lined tlie earth ; 


Upon her pale and lofty brow : 


And brightly blazed the crackling fire. 


With soft dark eyes— so eloquent, 


Upon the clean-swept, spacious hearth. 


Tliey showed each feeling's light and shade. 


A merry crowd ot boys and girls 


And half-sad smiles which round her lips. 


Had formed a circle around his chair, 


Like mellow sunbeams, ever played. 


And begged that they some thrilling tali- 


Before a day had passed, she won 



26 Backwoods Poems. 1 


Each little heart of our young band ; 


III. 


For she ne'er spoke an angry word, 




Nor gave a harsh, abrupt command. 


May had the sweetest voice for song 


Time sped ; each day the hearts of all 


That ever was to mortal given ; 


Were drawn more closely toward sweet May.— 


I oft have thought that it was like 


(She gave no other name, and it 


The music which they have in Heaven. 


Remains unknown until this day.) 


Now it would fall upon the ear 




Like the sound of harp by zephyrs played ; 


II. 


And then 'twould softly die away, 




Like the night-wind's whispered serenade. 


I said that I was but a child ; 


One Sabbath, we all met at church— 


And yet 1 saw that her young heart 


The ground was covered o'er with snow : 


Was bleeding from a hidden wound. 


That day is fresh in memory yet. 


Inflicted by some pois'nous dart. 


Though it has been so long ago. 


For when she thought she was alone, 


The pastor rose— old age his brow 


The lip compressed— the frenzied eye- 


Had furrowed o'er, and bleached his hair. 


Contracted brow— and heaving breast, 


But had not dimmed his clear blue eye, 


Told of the soul's deep agony. 


Nor quenched the fire which sisarkled there. 


I longed to throw my little arms 


He oped his well-worn book, and read 


Around her neck, and bid her tell 


His hymn in clear and thrilling tones. 


Me of the dark and with'ring blight 


Its subject was a Saviour's love 


Which had on her young spirit tell. 


For us, his erring little ones. 


One morn, I reached the church before 


It told how Jesus, Son of God, 


The time, and hid me, that I might 


His holy, precious blood had given, 


The next one who arrived at school. 


To loose the gate which justice reared 


With piteous groans and screams, affright. 


To bar a sinful world from Heaven : 


It was not long before I heard 


That, though the heavy load of guilt 


A gentle footstep at the door ; 


Might crush the heart with tortures wild. 


And May walked slowly up the aisle. 


Christ would not break the bruised reed- 


And softly knelt upon the floor. 


God would forgive his erring child. 


Her lovely face was very pale. 


With voices in sweet harmony 


But placid as the cloudless skies ; 


Attuned, the little flock now sang 


And a bright seraphic lustre shone 


The noble hymn : and with the sound 


Within her dark and brilliant eyes. 


Melodious the old roof rang. 


There was a moment's silence, then 


Amid the general melody, 


Her trem'lous lips began to move 


Was heard the low sweet voice of May, 


In deep and fervent prayer unto 


Soft as the tinkling of the bell 


The God of mercy and of love. 


Borne o'er the hills at close of day. 


Her prayer was offered in the name 


The song was done : the stilly air 


Of a bleeding Saviour crucified ; 


Far off the trembling echo bore- 


She begged that she through grace might live. 


When a gentle moan was heard, and May 


Since He for her had groaned and died. 


Fell from her seat upon the floor. 


She spoke of dear-loved parents— then 


They raised her up with tender hands, 


Mould'ring in earth's last resting place, 


But, the vital spark fore'er had fled— 


Whose too tond hearts were broken by 


Our sweet, beloved May — the joy 


Their erring daughter's deep disgrace. 


And pride of every heart — was dead ! 


And then she prayed for him whose black 


But though her lovely form was cold 


And perjured love had caused her shame:— 


Beneath death's dark and chilling shade, 


That he might leave the paths of vice, 


That smile of holy ecstasy 


And mercy gain in Jesus' name. 


Still o'er her pallid features played. 


Her prayer done, she calmly rose, 


They dug a grave in the old church-yard, 


And walked the floor with gentle pace. 


Beneath an oak's wide-spreading shade, 


While a smile of holy rapture played 


And in this narrow tenement. 


Upon her sweet, angelic face. 





Backwoods Poems. 



With tearful eyes, May's form they laid. 

Next Sabbath, when the hymn began, 

A voice, low, tremulous, and sweet. 

Was heard proceeding from the spot 

Where May had always chos'n her seat. 

The hymn was checked in mute surprise — 

Men held their breath, with fear oppressed; 

But death-like silence reigned arouud— 

The unseen singer, too, had ceased. 

That low sweet sound was often heard 

In after years. Sometimes it rose 

Among the voices of the flock, 

When that same hymn the pastor chose ; 

But oftener, when around the church 

The wintry night-winds shrieked and moaned. 

And the tall old trees that o'er it stretched 

Their leafless branches, sighed and groaned. 

Men often shook their heads, and said 

The church was haunted ; and no more 

The children gamboled on the green, 

On moonlit nights, before the door. 

The old man's tale was done. He leaned 
His head upon his staff again, 
As the clock upon the mantel-piece, 
Told that the niglil was on the wane. 



A Hymn. 

Dedicated to the memory of my brother, Thomas Jef- 
ferson Berryhill, who died Nov. 5th, IS.'JS. 

" And God shall wipe away all tear's from theii- eyes : 
and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor 
crying, neither shall there be any more pain : for the 
former things are passed away."— llev. xxi-4. 

Beyond the troubled sea of life. 

Where sorrow's billows roll. 
And raging winds ne'er cease their strife 

Around the trembling soul, 
Wliat glorious scenes in splendor rise 

Before tlie i.ager sight — 
What verdant plains, what aziire skies, 

AVhat rivers of delight 1 

There, clouds no more the sky enshroud. 

Nor lightnings play their dart ; 
No tempest raves, no thunders loud 

Appal the timid heart. 
The lights which ruled the night and day, 

No more their course pursue— 
" The former things have passed away," 

Behold, all things are new I 



A purer light— of sovereign grace — 

Than sun and moon affoi-d. 
Beams trom the sweet and smiling face 

Of our redeeming Lord. 
With holy joy, the ransomed soul 

Basks in the glorious beams, 
And "drinks" the sacred " waters cool'' 

Which flow in "crystal streams." 

There, friends long-severed meet again, 

AVhere death no more can part. 
And sorrow's deep and racking pain 

No more can crush the heart : 
And " God shall wipe away all tears" 

From every weeping eye. 
With gentle words remove our fears. 

And hush the mourner's cry. 



Lines. 



Dedicated to the memory of my little Nephew, John 
Mitchell Sturdivant, who died Dec. 24th, 1853— 
aged one year and tour months. 



The fairest, sweetest flowers will fade 

Before the sunny Spring is past ; 
And, oh, too soon the clouds' dark shade 

The fairest mom will overcast. 

Death found thee in thy early youth, 
Sweet child ! ere yet the cares of time 

Had come, to soil thy spotless truth. 
Or stain thy gentle soul with crime. 

He came ; thine eyes gi-ew dim, and pale 
The cheeks where health was wont to bloom : 

Thy mother's love could not avail 
To sa%e her loved one from the tomb. 

They laid thee in thy place of rest. 

With all the hopes that round thee clung ; 

And on thy cold and lifeless breast. 
With trembling hands the dust they flung. 

But though that little form now lies 
All pale and cold beneath the sod, 

Tliy ransomed soul beyond the skies, 
Rests in the bosom of his God. 







28 Backwoods Poems. 


The Christian's Rest. 


And, reading there her spirit, 




(/'ould never —never see 


InKwibecl to my friend, Dr. W. G. Bttlker, 


A single sign or token 




That told of love for me. 


"There remaineth, therefore, a rest to the People of 
God."— Heh. iv-9. 


I'd tell her that I love her. 




But if I try, I know 




I shall begin to stammer— 


" There remaineth a rest to the people of God," 


My heart will flutter so. 


When life's fleeting moments are o'er. 


I'd tell her that I love her. 


When their frail mortal forms are consigned to the sod, 


If I but only knew— 


And sorrow and pain are no more. 


But then I don't— oh tell me. 


On the pinions of mercy their spirits arise. 


Wliat can I— shall I— do .' 


And mount to the bright, shining plains. 




Where their God wipes away all the tears from their 
eyes, 
And Jesus eternally reigns. 






" There remaineth a rest to the people of God !" 


He is Dying! 


What though the fierce tempest may roar, 




And to wild fury lash the Tartarean flood 


He is dying ! big, cold drops are gathering 


Which beateth 'gainst life's desert sliore ! 


On his forehead, smooth and higli ; 


The deep sorrow and pain which we suffer below, 


And a more than earthly light is beaming 


Can never — no never — compare 


In his wild and brilliant eye. 


With the noontide of rapture which God shall bestow 


'Neath the linger, beats his pulse as lightly 


On those who shall enter in there. 


As a feather swayed by air ; 




And as cold as winter's snowy shrouding, 


"There remaineth a rest to the people of God !" 


Ai-e his hands, so thin and fair. 


Oh ! then let us patiently bear. 




Thro' our life's lurid morning, His chastening rod, 


He is dying ! ope the \Vestern window 


Nor murmur at sorrow and care. 


Wide, and let the sunset ray 


Let us walk in the path which our Saviour has 


Greet once more on earth his fading vision. 


blessed— 


Ere his spirit pass away. 


The path all the ransomed have trod ; 


Let him breathe the pure sweet air of lieaven; 


Let us struggle to enter the Heavenly rest 


Let him hear the wild bird's song— 


Prepared for the people of God. 


Quickly bring some water cool and limpid- 




Moist his parched lips and tongue. 




He is dying ! loved ones are bending 


I'd Tell Her That I Love Her. 


O'er liis pale and wasted form ; 
One his icy hand is fondly pressing ; 




Tears of grief are gushing warm. 


I'd tell her that I love her, 


Now his bloodless lips are trem'lous moving- 


But, oh ! I sadly fear 


Brighter grows his brilliant eye — 


She'd listen to my story 


Ears are bent to catch the broken whisper 


With an unwilling ear. 


Of his long and last good bye. 


There might a shade of anger 




Come o'er her snowy brow, 


He is dying I see the smile of rapturi' 


And a naughty pout might hover 


Playing on his pallid face ; 


Where smiles are playing no^\ . 


Bright, seraphic forms are waiting- 




Soon he'll feel their sweet embrace. 


I'd tell her that I love her. 


It is finished ! death's dread struggle's over; 


But I have gazed into 


Homeward has the spirit fled ; 


Tlie depths, so calm and liquid, 


Cold and lifeless as its dust primordial, 


Of her sweet eyes of blue. 


Lies the body on the bed. 



Bachwoods Poems. 



29 



An Allegory. 

The Mind called hei' servants tog'ethev, and said : " I 
will build a temple to Wisdom — a temple so vast and 
magnificent, that the whole worlu shall wonder at its 
greatness and splendor — one on whose burnished spire 
the reflection of the sunbeams shall never cease to play. 
Go, therefore, and begin the work." 

So the servants went forth to do their mistress' bid- 
ding-. Genius and Perception went to the quarry ot 
knowledge, and brought thence tine marble, and jioi-- 
plijry, and massive blocks of granite. Some went to 
the hill of science, and felled the tall cedars and wide- 
spreading oaks which grew there. Some went to old 
Ocean's deepest recesses, and gathered diamonds, rubies, 
amethysts, and corals. Others collected the finest sculp- 
ture and painting which ever came from the artist's 
plastic hand, and the most gorgeous fabrics which human 
ingenuity had been able to weave. And as they brouglit 
the materials. Memory stowed them cart fully away, so 
tliat nothing wa.s misplaced or lost. Reflection and 
Judgment came with their trowels, their squares, their 
hammers, and their axes, and squared the timbers and 
stones ; rttting each lor its place, according to the plan 
which Reason had made of the building. After the ma- 
terials were squared. Wit, with his pumice-stone, pol- 
ished them, until they shone like molten silver. Reason 
laid the corner-stone deep and firm ; and as the work 
went on, he stood always by, to try it with plummet and 
level. Taste, Fancy, and Imagination, superintended 
the lighter work of the interior — the arrangement of the 
tapestry, the precious stones, the sculpture and the 
paintings. At length, the temple was finished. In 
sooth, it was a noble structure. Its spire rose higher 
than the eagle soars in his wildest flight. Its fame went 
throughout the world : all wondered at its greatness and 
splendor, and admired its symmetrical beauty. But the 
Mind gazed on the splendid edifice, and sighed. Though 
the temple was grand, it was cold, cheerless and gloomy. 
The light of the presence of the Father— the divine 
shechinah— was not there, to radiate, and illuminate. 
When the Father saw that the Mind wept, he sent the 
Holy Spirit to the temple. And when the Spirit stood 
between the vail and the altar, the glory of the Father 
shone around ; and dome, and pillar, and column, glowed 
and corruscated with celestial light. Then tlie Mind 
shouted and sang praises to the Father—" glory to God 
in the highest!" And the Fatlier sent three seraphs, 
to keep the light always burning in the temple. And the 
names of thes(> thrive were Faith, Hope, .\nd Ch.\rity. 



Iiines 

To a Poet whose Themes are unworthy of his Genius. 

Your genius is a bright and limpid stream 

Where fancy, wit, and taste, like diamonds gleam ; 

Pure gush its waters from th' ambrosial spring ; 

And there the Muse might bathe her wearied wing, 

And gain fresh vigor for her upward flight. 

The silver moon and twinkling stai-s delight 

To see their image mirrored in its wave. 

The trees their gi-aceful branches bend, and lave 

Them in its crystal brim. Its verdant shore 

Is lined with flowers— a rich and varied store. 

Yes, it is all that mortal could desire, 

When touched by poesy's promethean Arc. 

What pity, then, so pure, so fair a rill 

Sliould only turn a childisli Untler-miU! 



A Hymn. 

(ireat God ! to Thee I hiunbly raise 
My feeble voice in notes of praise ; 
Thee, I would honor and adore. 
To Thee be glory evermore. 

My sins are like the scarlet, red ; 
I only plead that Jesus bled 
On Calvary, and in His name. 
Some drops ot Thy free mercy claim. 

( ) cleanse my heart— my wicked heart— 
From sin, and fill its every part 
With love for Thee, Thy righteous laws, 
Thy saints on earth, and holy cause. 

Sustain me with Thy spirit's power 
In dark temptation's fearful hour ; 
And guide my steps along the road— ■ 
The narrow road— that leads to God. 

Such temp'ral blessings. Lord, I crave. 
As Thou dost know wiU tend to save 
My soul from death, and to proclaim 
The glory of Thy matchless name. 

-Vnd, when the sands of life are run. 
And Thou with me on earth art done, 
O, take the spirit Thou hast given, 
To praise Thee evermore in Heaven. 



Democracy, Defeated Not Conquered. 

We are not conquered ! Tliough our tiag' no more 
Floats in proud triumph, as in days of yore; 
Tliough dire defeat has scattered all our host, 
Like ship-wrecked vessels on the rock-bound coast ; 
Though foes, exulting, boast of viot'ries gained, 
And wield the pow'r their stealt/i, not strengtli ob- 
tained ; 
We have a spirit which no ijow'r can tame ; 
Undaunted by defeat, we still proclaim 
Our deep devotion to the holy cause 
Of union— sovereign States- -and equal laws. 

We are not conquered 1 When the sun at noon 
Veils his bright form beliind the opaque moon, 
Think you that he has lost his golden light. 
And left the world in everlasting night 1 
Though gloomy clouds around our fortunes low'r. 
There yet shall dawn for us a brighter hour. 
The sacred flame still in our bosoms glows. 
Bright as it burned when !Monticello rose 
To crush the chiefs who torged a hea^'ier chain 
Than that our fathers' arms had broke in twain. 
Aye, yet it burns— a bright— a holy fire — 
And yet shall light, proud foes, your fuu'ral pyre ; 
When 'gainst your treason freemen shall arise. 
Thick as the stars which gem the azure skies ; 
When the bold legions of our host combine, 
Rush to the field in an unbroken line. 
And crush to ruin, v.ith one miglity blow. 
The masked batt'ry of our hidden toe. 

We are not conquered ! Raise our banners high. 
And let them flash defiant 'gainst the sky : — 
All is not lost while life and hope remain, 
And high resolves within our bosoms reign. 
Face tvith bold hearts whatever may oppose. 
Nor basely " stoop to conquer" like our foes ; 
Then, though the fags and factions all may stand 
United in one dark, unbroken band. 
The light of vict'ry on our arms shall glow. 
And truth shall triumph over ev'ry foe. 



Little Anna's Dream. 

" Mother, I've been dreaming," 

Said a pale, fair child. 
In whose large, dark eyes was iileam 

Lustre strange and wild; 
While a holy light was beaming 

On her features mild. 



" I was sweetly sleeping — 

All my pain had fled, 
You had ceased your sobbing, weeping 

When, with gentle tread, 
Bright, angelic forms eame creeping 

Round my little bed. 

Tliey had brought me fl((Wers, 

Little violets blue. 
Wild pinks from the woodland bowers, 

Roses wet with dew— 
Which around the room in show ers, 

Richest fragrance threw. 

One had brought a garland. 

Evergreen and snow — 
Gathered in the fields of star land, 

Where bright waters flow 
Smoothly o'er the glfst'ning pearl— and 

Twined it round my brow. 

And they told me, motlier, 

I must say ' good-bye,' 
To you and my little brother. 

And on pinions fly 
From my home unto another 

Far beyond the sky. 

AVIiere 'tis spring forever ; 

Flowers never die ; 
Gloomy clouds and tempests never 

Shade the azure sky ; 
Wliere friends meet, no more to sever— 

Tear-drops dim no eye. 

Gently they caressed me 

With their arms so white; 
Breathed a fervent prayer, and blessed i 

Spread their pinions bright, 
Bending o'er me softly, kissed me, 

Vanished from my sight." 

,Ynd the little lisper 

Closed her large briglit eyes; 
And her voice sank to a whisper 

Soft as zephyr sighs, 
When the placid face of Hesper 

Smiles through autumn skies. 



Ere Time's wheel diurnal 

Brought another day. 
The spirit winged its flight eternal 

From its house of clay — 
To the world whose .ioys supernal 

Never fade away. 



Backwoods Poems. 



31 



Sheba — A Hebrew Tale. 



"Thy sons and thy daughters sliall be given to an- 
otlior people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail with 
lons'ins? for them, all the dav lon^."— Dent, xxviii-32. 



Old Slieba sat in thousjlitful mood before liis cottape 

door ; 
A mournful look ot settled prief his aged features 

wore ; 
t'pon his smoothly polished statl', his hands and ehin 

did rest, 
And, like a snow drift, lay his luui;-, white beard upon 

liis breast. 

It was an autumn evening in the land of Palestine ; 
The setting sun o'er russet forest threw a mellow 

sheen : 
I'lie vesijer hymn of gay-])lumcd bu'ds flowed softly 

from the trees, 
And mingled with the low, sweet whispering of tlie 

evening breeze ; 
I'lie luscious purple grapes hung thick upon the 

clambering vine ; 
Atar were heard the tinkling bells ot home-return- 
ing kine. 
And the bleating of the snowy flocks which fed upon 

the hills, 
Adown whose verdant slopes the fountains jjoured 

their crystal rills. 

< »ld Sheba's soul felt not the >)eauty of all tilings 

around ; 
His eye was lost to torni and line, his ear was deal to 

sound. 
Sadly his grief-strained eyes were turned toward the 

darkening east, 
Where, as the twilight grew, tlie shadows of the 

palms inci-eased. 
And oft in deep drawn sighs his heaving bosom 

sought relief. 
As if it bore the crushing weight of half his nation's 

grief. 

Two children— Tubal and Salome— once his lot had 
blessed : 

Torn from their mother's arms— the doting father who 
caressed— 

These two had gone to swell the throng of haughty 
Babel's slaves, 

Where great Euphrates thunders down his dark, tu- 
multuous waves. 

Long, weary years had passed away, and yet there 
came, to cheer 



Old Sheba's heart, no tidings of his absent children 
dear. 

He melancholy grew with grief long-nursed and hope 
deferred, 

And yet his trem'lous lip.-s ne'«r uttered a complain- 
ing word. 

But always, at the close of eve, he sat before the door, 

And sought, with eager eyes, the foiTns of those who 
came no more. 

He sat and gazed. A sudden light of .ioy played on 

his face, 
Like sunbeams on a gloomy cloud. Up ti-om its rest- 
ing place 
He quickly raised his chin, and softly called Rebecca's 

name. 
With bustling steps, the dark-eyed matron from the 

cottage came. 
"What wants my Sheba," she exclaimed in gentle 

tones, and laid 
Her hand on his, as fondly as a newly plighted maid. 
The old man slowly raised his hand and pointed to 

the East: 
" My eyes are dim," said he " look well, and tell me 

what thou seest." 
"Nothing," siie said, "but shadows, waving, as the 

evening breeze 
Sways gently to and fro the teathery foliage of the 

trees." 
Old Sheba sighed: " I dreamed last niglit the cap- 
tives had returned, 
No more by Israel's foes to be opi^rossed, and crushed, 

and spurned. 
Our children sat with us beside the blazing tire once 

more. 
While Tubal told, with flashing eye, the wrongs the 

captives bore, 
Salome sat — her dark hair falling on her snowy 

breast — 
And fi-om the grape the crimson juice into a cup ex- 
pressed. 
Until it mounted to the brim ; when, with a smile, 

she rose, 
And bade me drink the emblem of deliverance from 

our foes. 
I thought the dream foreboded good," he said with 

tearful eye, 
" And I my children should embrace once more before 

I die." 
Rebecca went into tlie house, the frugal board to 

spread, 
Old Sheba on his polislied statf again reclined his 

head. 



32 



Backwoods Poems. 



The meal prepared, Rebecca came and softly called 

her lord; 
But- motionless old Sheba sat, and answered not a 

word. 
She came and laid her withered hand upon his hoary 

head — 
And started back ! — her all of earth — her dearest 

lord— was dead ! 
His heart was broke— his spirit from its house of clay 

had flown, 
To join the patriarchs wlio stand around .lehovah's 

throne. 



A Dream. 

I dreamed of thee at the midnight hour, when every 
thing was still, 

Except the mournful warbling of the lonely whippoor- 
will; 

When on the peerless brow of night, the gems were 
sparkling bright. 

And the moon baptized the foi'est witli a flood of sil- 
ver light. 

Methought I sat lieside thee in a deep and lonely 

wood. 
Where the gnarled oaks and towering pines like giant 

sentries stood ; 
Where every shrub was bending witli it.« load of dewy 

blooms. 
And the morning air was fragrant with a thousaml 

rich perfumes. 

I took thy soft warm hand in mine, and told thee all 

my life — 
My joys and griefs— my crushed hopes — ambition's 

daring strife ; 
And how all these— the strife of what I am with what 

I'd be— 
Had been concentred— changed— and lost— in one long 

thought of thee. 

And then methought that thou didst smile, as angels 

smiled when tirst 
Sweet mercy bore the l)oon of liope to sinful man ac- 

cursad ; 
And then, all blushing as thou wast, tliose azure eyes 

ot thine 
Gazed from beneath tlieir trembling lashes fondly 

into mine. 



I could not boar the weight of bliss— the dream-god's 
spell was broke ; 

The wood, the flowers, and Ihnu^ quick passed away, 
and I awoke — 

Awoke to dream again ambition's dream— my dread- 
ful doom— 

And nurse the liopes — the burning liopes — which now 
my soul consume. 



Ode to Love. 

Thou bright, electric spark from Heaven, scut 
To tame the savage, human breast I 
In every age and clime have mankind bent 
Unto tliy soft yet stern behest. 

Ages roll bv ; earth's kingdoms pass away ; 
Perish the proudest w'orks of art ; 
But thy sweet empire knoweth no decay — 
Thy empire o'er the human heart. 

Wlien sinful man, i^rovoking heavenly wrath. 
From Eden's lovely bower was driven, 
God sent thy light to cheer his gloomy path. 
And raise Ins thouglits from eartli to Heaven I 
ISJO. 



The Beautiful. 

I love whate'er is beautiful and bright — 
The landscape blushing in tlie morning light - 
The dew-drop clinging to the half-oped flower- 
The crimson glories of the sunset hour — 
The spangled radiance of the midnight sky — 
The languid sweetness of dear woman's eye. 

The little flower which in some mossy bed 
All bashful bends to earth its lowly head. 
Wakes in my mind an admiration warm. 
And throws around my soul a gentle charm : 
For in each petal, azure bright, I And 
The graceful beauty of a Master-mind. 

The star wliich twinkles on the brow ot night, 
Pours in my soul a flood of deep delight ; 
There's a glorious beauty in its calm sweet faci 
As it moves onward in its destined race. 
Meek and obedient to the unchanging laws 
Fixed in Creation bv the Great First Cause. 



Bachivoods Poems. 


33 


Bard and Bacchus. 


VI. 






Dear goodness knows 




I. 


Such thoughts in prose 




The tunefvil Nine 


Might " make a sorry show ;" 




At Bacchus' shrine 


But tinkling rhyme — 




Too oft have bowerl tlie knee : 


Like sleigh-bells' chime 




And many a fine 


In Northern clime — 




Smooth-flowing' line- 


Keeps merry time, 




Esteemed divine — 


As dashing on we go. 




Old God of Wine, 






Is caught, I ween, from tlicc 






IT. 

The bard tills up 






The silver cup 

With wine of reddest hue ; 


Twilight Hours. 




The nectar flows— 






His fancy glows- 


When twilight's veil is closing 




All nature gi-ows 


Around the evening sky, 




Coletir de rose — 


And thro' the tall old chinas 




The bard is getting " blue." 


The gentle zephyrs sigh ; 
When to their airy couches 




III. 


The bright-plumed birds are fled. 




Now^ thro' his brain 
A merry train 


And the ' Katy-did' is chirruping 
In the l)ranches overhead: 




Of bright ideas swim— 

" Cerulean skies" — 

"Soft, languid eyes"— 

" Love's silken ties"— 

" Low-murmufed sighs" — 

" Bright stars"— and " moonbeams dim." 


Then thro' my brain come trooping 
The thoughts of by-gone yeare, 
And my eyes, unused to weeping, 
Are filled with bitter tears. 
I think of joys departed — 
Of triendsliips long decayed — 




IV. 


Of hopes once fondly cherished, 
Wliich budded but to fade. 




His " gray goose quill" 






Obeys his will. 


And then, there comes before me 




And o'er the foolscap moves : 


Many a dear loved face 




It skips in glee 


Which long has been reposing 




O'er each trochee, 


In earth's last resting-place. 




While ink flows free 


A smile of friendly welcome 




As simile— 


L^pou their lips is seen — 




Or the wine the poet loves. 


I stretch my hands to greet them— 




V. 


But .Ionian rolls between ! 




At every pause 


A star— clear, bright and glorious- 




The Medean laws 


Looks on me from the sky; 




Of metre may require, 


And then its low, sweet whisper 




He sips the wine, 


Is heard in the zephyr's sigh : 




That eveiy line 


" Vain mortal, cease thy weeping. 




May glow and shine 


And fix thy hopes above, 




With light divine 


Where friends no more shall sever, 




From Bacchus' sacred fire. 


And all is joy and love." 





3J^ 


Bachwoods Poems. 




The Maniac Girl. 


With waters so blue. 
Like the heart of the maiden 




The round, full moon 


That weepeth for you. 




Was at her noon 






In the starry arch of night, 


The leaves and the flowers 




And poured her beams 


Are withered and dead. 




In silvery streams 


Like the hopes which we cherished 




TTpon the landscape white. 


Ere all hope had fled. 
In the chill air of Autumn, 




The storm-borne cloud 


They grew wan and pale 




A pure white shroud 


As thy cheek where it resteth 




Had o'er the forest flun^' ; 


'Neath the sod of the vale ; 




And the frozen trees 


And then they were scattered 




In the midnight breeze 


By the breath of tlie gale. 




Like knightly armor rung. 






In a drear, cold wood 


The cold, cheerless winter 




A maiden stood, 


Will soon pass away ; 




Whose wildly heaving breast. 


The spring-time is coming. 




And frenzied eye 


When soft zephyrs play, ^^^b 




Turned tow'rd the sky. 


When the mocking bird carols ^^^H 




Told of the soul's unrest. 


In the green maple tree, ^M 
And the bright flowers carpet 




In the moon's pale light. 


The smooth grassy lea — 




Her face looked white 


But oh ! it will never 




As winter's snowy shroiid ; 


Be spring-time with me 1 




And the robe which round 






Her form was wound, 


The soft, balmy zephyr 




Was like a fleecy cloud. 


Sad mem'ries will bring: 




On her bosom bare, 


The bird in the maple 




Her coal-black hair 


A requiem sing; 




In wild disorder hung, 


The fresh April shower 




As she wove a crown 


Your bosom will lave ; 




Of leaflets brown, 


The oaks their green branches 




And this sad ditty sung : 


Will mournfully wave. 
And the dewy-eyed violet 




SONft. 


Bloom— over your grave ! 




No more on the mountain 
I'll wander with you. 








Nor sit by the fountain 






With waters so blue. 


A Sabbath Evening in Autumn. 




No more will you gather 







The violets fair. 


Behind the gold-fringed, crimson clouds 




Wild pinks and red roses. 


Which skirt the glowing West, 




And crocuses rare. 


The round, red sun sinks slo^vly down 




To lu-aid 'mong the tresses 


To his accustomed rest ; 




Of my black glossy hair. 


And his beams with flaming glory tip 
The distant forest's crest. 




The moss-covered mountain 






Is cheerless and bare. 


Tlie gentle Autumn's sun-browned hands 




Like the life of the mournei- 


A thousand hues have dyed 




Who oft wanders there. 


The leaves upon the stately trees 




The snow lines the valley 


In all the forest wide ; 




Where violets grew. 


These look more lovely in their deatli 




And froze is the fountain 


Than in their Spring-time pride. 



Backwoods Poems. 



35 



The feathered songsters in the grove 

Their notes no longer trill ; 

The tinkling bell alone is heard 

Upon the distant Iiill. 

The breeze scarce sways the clambering 

All is so calm and still. 

The busy scenes of active life 

No longer meet the eye ; 

The spirit, left alone with God, 

Bursts every sensual tie 

Tliat binds it to the earth, aud liolils 

( 'ommunion with the sky. 

Not in the stately, crowded church 
Where loud the anthems roll, 
And human forms and gaudy dress 
Distract the wearied soul. 
May sinful man expect to find 
Tlie sweetest Sabbath goal. 

But in a calm, sweet hour like this, 

Alone in the fading grove, 

The Spirit of the living God, 

liike Noah's meek-eyed dove. 

Bears to him from the Heavenly fields 

Tlie olive-branch of love. 

And if the souls of loved ones lost 
Their blissful home e'er leave. 
To whisper words of comfort to 
The souls ot those who grieve— 
'Tis at the holy sunset hour 
Of an Autiimn Sabbath e\e. 



Mary Ann. — A Song. 

Jet black eyes, and dark brown hair- 
Brunette cheeks, and forehead fair- 
Coral lips, and teeth like pearls- 
Loveliest, sweetest of all girls 
Is my Mary Ann. 
Mary Ann '. sweet Mary Ann ! 
Loveliest, sweetest ot all girls 
Is my Mary Ann 1 

Voice as soft as the streamlet's ilow- 
Bosom white as the drifted snow — 
Soft white hands and round plump arms 
Who can paint thy thousand chai-ms. 



Dearest Mary Ann .' 

Mary Ann ! sweet Mary Ann ! 

Who can paint thy thousand charms. 

Dearest Mary Ann ? 

Skipping o'er the dewy lawn 
Lightly as the spotted lawn. 
Silvery laughter ringing clear- 
Nought on earth is half so dear 
As my Mary Ann. 
Mary Ann ! sweet Mary Ann I 
Nought on earth is half so dear 
As mv Mary Ann .' 



Mudder Chloe, 

Come all ye little darkey boys. 
And little massas too, 

And listen to de bran new song 
I'm gwine to sing to you — 

About a kind old darkey dame 
I knowed long time ago — 

She libbed in old Firginny State- 
lier name was Mudder Chloe. 

CHOKUS. 

Dear old Mudder Chloe 1 
Dat form is lying low, 
Wha de weeping willows grow 
] )own in the dell. 

Old Time's big bar-shear plow had made 

Deep furrows in her brow, 
Aud neaf de load of many years 

Her poor old form did bow. 
Her face was black as de chimney-back. 

Her hair was white as snow; 
But a heart so kind 'twas hard to find 

As dat of Mudder t'hloe ! 

Dear old Mudder Chloe, &c. 

( »ld massa was a clebber man — 

His heart was warm and mild ; 
He lubbed old Mudder Chloe bekase 

She nuss him when a child. 
And now she was too old to work. 

He built a little house 
Wid a littls garden— wha she lib 

As snugly as a mouse. 

Dear old Mudder Chloe ! &c. 



36 



Bachwoods Poems. 



We used to go and hoe her patch — 

Me and young massa Joe ; 
And when we'd done our little task, 

De dear old M udder Chloe 
Would get us somethin' good to eat, 

And tell us stories strange, 
'Bout witches' spells, and blear-eyed ghosts 

Dat in de night-time range. 

Dear old Mudder Chloe ! &'c. 

One day we went down to her house. 

And found her on de bed ; 
Her limbs were stiff, lier hands were cold — 

Old Mudder Chloe was dead. 
Dey dug a grave down in de dell, 

Wlia de weeping willows grow ; 
Old massa prayed, de black folks sung, 

And dey buried Mudder Chloe. 
Dear o)d Mudder Chloe ! &e. 

Each spring, me and young massa .Toe 

Went down into de dell, 
And planted pinks upon her grave — 

De pinks she loved so well. 
At last, old massa move away, 

And now de briers grow 
In wild luxuriance o'er de grave 

Of poor old Mudder Chloe. 

Dear old Mudder Clilne 1 &r. 



Will You Come to the Bar? 

Air — " W ill you come to tlm bower >' 

Will you come to tlie doggery I've shedded for you .' 
Your drink shall he bust-hmd of bright, sparkling 

hue. 
Will you, will you, will you, will you come to the bar .' 

Here, under the shed, on clean straw you shall lie, 
With a pimple on your nose, and the rheum in your 

eye. 
Will you, &e., come in, dear sir .' 

Tor our wives and our homes we will care not a tip. 
As our whiskey and sugar we lazily sip. 
Will you, &c., take a drink, my dear sir ' 

And, O, for the joys, when the " keeper" and you 
Both fall under the counter, most gloriously blue ! 
Will you, &c., liiccough, my de;ir .' ' 



A Valentine. 



Inscribed to Miss 



-- of Choctaw countv. 



Once more from out the etlier blue. 

The sun shines forth with genial ray, 

Shedding on earth a golden hue. 

To usher in the luvrr's day. 

The North wind sleeps ; the gentle breezi 

Is wooing 'mong the leafless trees ; 

They feel his warm, impassioned kiss. 

And as they sig-h for very bliss, 

The frozen current warms again. 

And courses through their every vein. 

Ere long, through all the stately grove. 

The swelling buds shall crown their love. 

Hark ! in the torest bare, again 

The bright-plumed birds pour forth their strain 

Sweet and melodious— clear and wild 

As the laughter of a happy child ; 

Yet mournful— tender— soft— as thougli 

A broken heart poured out its woe. 

Know'st thou, sweet girl, why in this tone 

Such strange extremes should blend in one '. 

It is the tender tone which tells 

The love which from the heart up-\vells: 

Free from articulate control, 

It is the language of the soul. 

See yonder bird with vest of red. 
And scarlet plume mion liis head ! 
He's breathing in his sweet-heart's ear 
His joys and griefs, his hope and fear. 
How thrills with joy her little breast, 
As he begs her share liis mossy nest I 
With trembling wings she hovers near 
Her lover's airy swinging chair : 
And human voice could ne'er express 
Such raptui-e as her twittered " yes ?" 

All nature's works — the whispering breeze— 
The warbling birds— the waving trees— 
The sun's soft, warm, prolific beam— 
The gurgling waters of the stream — 
The earth below— the sky above — 
Breathe but one voice— the voice of love. 
And is thy ear deaf to the voice 
That makes all earthlj- things rejoice .' 
Shall icy winter still maintain 
Within thy breast his cheerless reign. 
And thou, alone, of all below. 
Be cold as winter's drifted snow .' 
Can mellow sunbeams nevei' bring 
Into thy heart tlie reign of spring- .' 



^ 



Backwoods Poems. 



37 



Nor warm-breathed zephyi-s from the west 
Melt off the snow that chills thy breast .' 
O, let the sunshine in thy heart- 
Throw oil' the chain that winter wove— 
And learn a sweeter, better part— 
Tliat Lfix'e is Life, and Life is Love: 



Lines to Fanny. 

'Tis long, sweet Fanny, since we met, 

And in my memory 

The lapse of years had scarcely left 

A single trace of thee. 

Still thoughts of thee would sometimes come 

Like glimpses from the land 

Of dreams, or music from the harp 

That's played by zephyr's hand. 

This morn— I know not why 'tis so-- 

The thoughts of by-gone years 

Come gliding slowly through my mind, 

And till my eyes with tears. 

I see a graceful, child-like form, 

A face serene and fair, 

A pair of dove-like, hazel eyes. 

And a wealth of dark-brown hair. 

I see thee as in by-gone years: 

Time, in his ceaseless flight, 

Though shedding mildew all around. 

Has left tliy image bright. 

'Tis strange my mind retains so well 

Thy picture in the hours 

We spent in chasing butterflies. 

And culling woodland flowers. 

I see the beech whereon I carved 

Thy name beside my own : 

'Twas foolisli, but it pleased me well 

To see them joined in one. 

Long time ago, the old beech fell 

Before the wintry gust, 

And the bark whereon our names were carved 

Has mouldered in the dust. 

I loved thee, Fanny, three long years. 
And though my years were few. 
No knight in olden time was e'er 
To lady-love so true. 
But time flew by, and cruel fate 
Ordained that we must part; 



And another's form usurped thy niche 
Within my boyish heart. 

A happy youth in the far-off West 

Obtained thy heart and hand ; 

And now sweet children round thee smile- 

A happy, rosy band. 

Perhaps, some one of these is like 

The Fanny whom I knew— 

With the same soft eyes and smiling lips. 

And hair of dark-brown hue. 

And I am still a lonely oak. 

Around whose branches cling 

No vines to shield from wintry blast, 

And beautify in spring. 

But I'm wedded to the pictures briglit 

Which the book of memory bears; 

And as I turn the pages o'er 

They oft are wet with tears. 



Mary. 

Who does not love this little name. 
So simple, short, and neat. 
So full of poetry and love. 
And all that's fair and sweet. 
No other name I wot doth fall 
So sweetly on my ear ; 
No other name in memory shrined, 
Is to my heart so dear. 

A Mary bore our Saviour Lord, 
And watched His early years ; 
A Mary humbly kissed His feet. 
And washed them with lier tears. 
Two Marys ministered to Him, 
In s\inshine and in gloom ; 
They lingered longest at the cross, 
And earliest sought His tomb. 

And THOU, sweet idol of my youth, 

The spirit of each dream, 

Tliat flashed across my early yeai-s. 

Like a meteoric dream. 

What wonder if this sacred name, 

Should be entwined by me, 

With all that's fair, and pure and bright. 

When it was bounf. bt thee. 



Lula — A Song. 

Sweet little Lula was my love, 
In the days of long ago, 
Ere age had furrowed o'er my brow, 
Or turned my locks to snow. 
Before I had to manhood grown — 
Before I learned to rove — 
Before I trod ambition's path- 
Sweet Lnla was my love. 

Ah ! she was fair ! — her golden hair 

Was like the sunset gleam ; 

And her eyes were blue as the violet's hue, 

Beside the gurgling stream. 

Her brow was white as the chaste clear light 

The moon pours on the lawn ; 

And her motions gay as the gentle play 

Of the graceful spotted fawn. 

The earliest flowers that bloomed in spring 

I culled for Lula dear. 

And the scattered few that lingered last 

When winter's frost drew near. 

To win a smile from her moss-rose lips 

Was all my pride and joy; 

For she alone spoke soft kind words 

To the wild and wayward boy. 

But an angel band from the spirit-land 

Took my darling Lula home. 

And left me here in a desert drear 

For weary years to roam. 

All pure and bright as the snow-flake white— 

Beyond the bounds of time — 

She winged her flight to the realms of light 

In the trans-Jordanic clime. 



"Let There Be Light," 

In chaos wild and gloomy niglit 

The embryo creation lay : 
Jehovah said, "Let there be light!" 

And all was bright and glorious day. 
The sea recedes, the mountains rise, 

The isles and continents apxJear; 
And all the star worlds of the skies 

Move, each to its predestined sphere. 

Defiled by sin, the Gentile race 

Groped in the death-vale's gloomy shade ; 
And in the holy, chosen place 

Shekinah's beams no longer played. 



"Let there be light!" the Father said— 

The Star of Bethlehem appears. 
On every land His beams to shed, 

Till Time shall cease to count the years. 

" Lord, that I might receive my sight," 

In melting tones Bartimeus cried, 
Whose eyes were longing for the light 

Which to them long had been denied. 
" Go," speaks the Saviour — "go thy way. 

Thy faith in me hath made tliee whole." 
His eyes behold the light of day - 

The light of grace beams on his soul. 

Along death's dark and dangerous way 

The soul is staggering to its doom; 
But stops to pray one heavenly ray 

May pierce the deep and awful gloom. 
The Spirit says, " Let there be light!" 

The dark, cold shadow flees away. 
And the soul's redeem'd from sin's dread bliglit. 

To bask in pure celestial day. 

The heathen nations dwell in night- 
No Word of Life illumes their way ; 

Our Master bids us spread the light. 
And how shall we dare disobey ? 

Go, ope to them the Word of God— 
The source of light, and life, and love— 

And point them to the blest abode 
In the radiant courts of light above. 



O, Let Me Die at Home. 

( ) let me die at home ! 

Death loses half its sting 

When 'mid the hallowed scenes of youtli 

The spirit plumes its wing. 

O let me die at home — 
In the old and dear loved hall. 
Where the pictures I in childhood saw 
Hang on the papered wall: 

Where the setting sun's last rays 
Through the western windows pour. 
And balmy breezes from the south 
Rush through the half-ope'd door. 



Baolcwoods Poeryis. 



39 



O let me die at home, 

Where those I love the best 

May watch the last ooDvulsive heave 

Of my expiring breast: 

Where my mother's hands may smootli 
The pillow 'neath my head, 
And a brothel's fingers gently close 
My eyes, wlien I am dead. 

O let me die at home, 
Where my father's trembling voice 
May tell me of a Saviour's love, 
And bid my soul rejoice: 

Where around my dying bed 

My sisters dear may stand, 

And whisper in my ear " good-bye !" 

As they press my icy hand : 

Where the neighbors that I knew 
Long time ago, may come. 
And sing tlie songs I loved to hear, 
To waft my spirit home. 

O let me die at home, 

And let my grave be made 

In the old church-yard on the hill. 

Where loved ones' forms are laid. 

Where my mother's hands may plant 
The ailanthus at my head, 
And fragrant pinks and the red moss-rose 
To bloom upon my bed. 

O let me die at home 1 

Death loses half its sting. 

When 'mid the hallowed scenes of youth 

The spirit plumes its wing. 



Lines to Jim. 

Don't you remember, Jim, when we were young and 

gay. 
And how wc spent the live-long days in merry play ; 
How with our pop-guns to the dog-wood tree we'd go. 
And there bombard the web-fort of the spider toe ; 

Then thirsting for more conquest— grown bolder with 

success, , 

We stormed the yellow-jackets' fortified recess .' 



Ah ! those were happy moments, Jim, warriors bold 
were we. 

The scourge and dread of hornet, wasp, and bumble- 
bee ! 

When tired of winning victories from the insect foe. 
We'd find two mounds whereon the velvet moss did 

grow: 
On these we'd build two forts, fuU twenty inches high. 
And each would turn his arms against his late ally. 

And then we'd hunt the big-eared rabbit : O what 

fun 
To slay the mottle-coated rogue without a gun ; 
To chase him through the woods into a hollow tree, 
And twist him out with switches— wasn't it a spree .' 

The fishing, too, was glorious in the little brooks. 
With stolen yarn for lines, and crooked pins for hooks: 
When minnows nibbled, how we trembled with de- 
light. 
And O, what rapture hung upon a full grown bite ! 

We had our sweet-heart, too, a bright-eyed little 
belle. 

For whom we gathered brier-roses in the dell ; 

You won her sweetest smiles, you had no cripple 
limb. 

And in my wrath I larruped you, don't you remem- 
ber, Jim ? 



Lines. 



In the morning's dewy dawn, 

When the Eastern sky was streaked with red. 

And tlie rising sun his first rays shed, 

Through purple mists in golden showers, 

Upon the landscape robed in flowers, 

I saw two children, blithe and fair. 

With violet eyes and golden hair, 

A sporting on the lawn. 

As they watched the reddening sky, 
They planned new gambols for the day. 
And e'en next week's delightful play. 
Then following out the golden thread 
Which hope had spun, their fancies sped 
Along the track of fviure years, 
Where manhood's pleasures knew no tears, 
And life, no bitter sigh. 



When from his clear-blue noon 

The round, white sun poured down his beams 

On bills and dells, and plains and streams, 

I saw a mower mowing hay. 

In sooth, his was no idle play; 

And as be swung his sickle round, 

The grass fell thicker on the ground 

Than trees by tempest strewn. 

He stopped, and wiped bis brow ; 

And, leaning on his sickle, stood 

A moment in a thoughtful mood. 

Then, swinging wide his keen edged blade 

Among the grass, be sternly said : 

" No tiilae to muse on the future bright! 

While manhood's noon affords its light, 

I must improve the nniv." 

When Nature was arrayed 
In the mantle bright of varied hue 
Which Autumn o'er her shoulders threw. 
And the setting sun his last rays shed 
In a rosy halo round her head, 
I saw a man with snow-white hair 
A rocking in liis big arm-chair, 
Beneath a spreading shade. 

He talked in whispers low- 
About the times long pas.sed away. 
When he was young, and strong, and gay. 
Now he would smile, and now he'd sigh, 
And now the tear-drop dimmed his eye, 
As he conned the book of memory o'er, 
And viewed the forms its pages bore, 
And the scenes of long ago .' 



The South to the North. 

Give us the Union that our fathers made 

In the purer days of long ago, 
When revolution's red, right arm bad laid 

Old England's rampant lion low. 

Ah ! " there were giants in those days" of old- 
Giants in nerve, and mind, and heart- 
Men who would scorn for fame or gold 
To play the demagogue's base part. 

They stood together in the bloody light; 

And when their noble work was done. 
None did dispute his brother's equal right 

In all their common toil had won. 



The humblest and the greatest in the land 
Were of the self-same rights possessed; 

And the feeblest member in the shining band 
Of States, was peer unto the rest. 

How, then, shall we be asked to yield 
The equal rights our sires possessed — 

The rights they earned upon the battle-field. 
And left to us — a rich bequest '. 

Give us our cherished fathers' Union, then — 
'Tis all we ask when you oppress ; 

And by the memory of those noble men 
We never will submit with less ! 



Lines 

In memory of mv aunt, Lucinda L. Portman, wlio 
diikl August 10th, IS.iG. 

Hushed fore'er is the voice that in infancy soothed 
My sorrow, and sickness, and pain; 
And the hands that so often my pillow have smoothed, 
In mine shall be clasped ne'er again. 

The dear, cherished hours of the long winter night, 
No more in sweet converse we'll spend; 
Nor read by the light of the fire blazing bright 
What our favorite authors have penned. 

Thy dear-loved form lieth cold in tlie ground — 
No more will it gladden our eyes, 
Till the archangel's trumpet from heaven shall .■^ound. 
And bid the pale sleepers arise. 

Though we sorrow lor tliee, hallelujah to God ! 
For the blessed assurance He's given, 
That though thy cold body lies under tlip sod. 
Thy spirit is living in Heaven. 

For we know thou art gone to the land of delight, 
Beyond the blue ether above. 

Where the seraphim robed in their garments of white 
Are chanting their anthems of love. 

No fierce tempest raves in that bright sunny clime; 
The skies are forever serene; 

The amaranth trees are in bloom through all time. 
And the valleys eternally green. 

Pain, sorrow, and death are unknown to tlie band 
Who dwell ill that bright world above; 
For Jesus, the Saviour, is king of the land, 
And the law of His kingdom is love. 



Bachwoods Poems. 



41 



Billy Boles, or the Shoemaker's Court- 
ship. 

Some years ago in Chiselville 
There lived a man called Billy Boles ; 

His calling was the heeling art— 
Besides he had the cure ot soles. 

For years he sat in liis little shop, 
And cut aud stitclied, and pegged away, 

Till his hair, once glossy as his hoots, 
Began to turn a grizzly gray. 

Poor Billy heeded not the flight 

Of time, in his pui-suit of gold ; 
He sat and waxed his flaxen thread, 

Xor dt-emed that he was waxbitj old. 

He stitched and stitched from morn till night, 
Poor luckless wiglit, nor seemed to know 

While he was sewing on the seams 
Old age was seamin<j o'er his brow. 

Bill was a mateless s/ioe— some said 

A soulless ; riches was his goal ; 
Though he touched the sole of many a girl, 

His soul bowed not to love's control. 



Would fit the measure of my heai-t 
Until I east my eyes on yon. 

" O, tie with me the holy knot 

Naught but the knife of death can sever, 
Aud I'll devote my life — my ail 

To you, my lovely wife, forever." 

She heai'd him thi-ough with curling lip. 
Then putting on her haughtiest airs : 

"Tom, shew this man the door," she said, 
" Or pa will boot him down the stairs." 

Bill stood with wide dilated eyes, 
And wildly tore his grizzly hair ; 

He who had lived by driving pegs. 
By Peg was driven to despair. 

" O, cruel Peg, you've pierced my soul," 

In tones of agony he cried; 
" In losing you I lose my all — 

What boot all earthly things beside!" 

The brittle tlu-ead of life was broke — 
On Peg oue mournful look he cast. 

And, falling flat upon the floor, 
He groaned aloud and breathed his Inst. 



At last the eyes of Peggy Jones 
The subtle snare around him wove; 

l-"or while he shoed her tiny feet, 
She shewed him what it was to love. 

Poor Bill was caught; the live-long day 
His bosom heaved with deep-drawn sighs 

He could not /«</, for Peg's sweet form 
Forever stood before his eyes. 

He mused upon his feelings long, 
And then resolved to mend his life, 

( "onvinced that nothing on the earth 
Could heal liis troubles but a wife. 

So he brushed his hair with greater care 
Than e'er he brushed a shoe or boot. 

And having donned his suit of cloth. 
He went to press his amorous suit. 

Peg, smiling, bade liim take a seat. 
Not dreaming of his errand there ; 

He crossed his legs and cleared his throat. 
And thus addressed the lady fair: 

"Sweet girl, I long have longed to wuil. 
But could not And a maiden, wlio 



Ijines. 



Inscribed to tlie Know Nothings and Freesoilers of 
Massachusetts. 

When cruslied in spirit Europe's exile poor 
Seeks a green spot on freedom's dear-loved shore. 
Whereon to cast with grateful heart his lot. 
And plant his vine, and build his humble cot- 
Thrust not the stranger forth with ruthless hand— 
your /others once " were strangers in the land." 

AVhen cunning priests forsake the word of (iod. 
And bid you scourge and goad with iron rod 
Vour neighbors for the faith they hold and love— 
Heraember 'twas the self-same spirit drove 
Vour sires fi'om all on earth they held most dear, 
To seek a forest home in winter drear. 

When demagogues, with sanctimonious faee, 
Bewail the wrongs of Afi-ic's ebon race- 
Then tliink whose were the ships that bore 
The savage negro from hLs native shore; 
Think who maintain their stately pomp and pride 
With th' caprivc's price— n/irf lei the subject slide. : 



w 



Backwoods Poeins. 



A Kiss in the Corner. 



Let epicures boast of their dolieate dislies, 

And wine like tlie nectar tliat Jupiter sips ; 
They're sweet to the taste, but not half so delicious 

As a kiss in tlie corner from woman's sweet lips. 
A kiss in the corner ! O, joj' without measure ! 

It fills to overflowing' the cup of delight ; 
The world hath no treasure tliat yieldetli such pleas- 
ure 

As a kiss in the corner a Saturday niglit. 

Old woman nods over the stocking- slie's knitting-; 

Old man's busy reading the last " Southkrn Sun ;" 
The shadows grow deep in the nook where you're sit- 
ting 

In low tele a Me with the dear-loved one. 
Around her waist slender your arm you pass slyly, 

And close to your bosom you press her fair form ; 
She, blushing and sighing, looks up at you shyly, 

And you steal a sweet kiss from her lips rich and 
warm. 

" O quit," says slie, pouting, " the old folks will catch 
us," 

Ton press her more closely and smack her again ; 
Old man wipes his glasses, and wishes the. wretches 

Would print, in the future, his paper more plain; 
Old woman discovers she can't see the stitches. 

And tosses a chunk of fat pine in the Are ; 
The sweet little vixen her chair slyly hitches 

Three feet further from you— ,';/c! nere.r sat niii/ier : 



The Land of Rest. 

Beyond the reach ot solar light. 
Beyond the wandering comet's flight, 
Beyond the circle in whose bounds 
Ten thousand systems roll their rounds 
Without a discord or a jar 
Around their central axis star ; 
Beyond the shining milky way, 
Where stellar systems, great as ours, 
Are scattered thick as vernal flowers 
Upon the lawn in early May — 
Away — away— away— so far 
Beyond creation's outmost star. 
That human thought itself, can scarce 
The intervening- space traverse 
Without a pause to rest its wing — 
There is a land of endless spring. 



No blaek-winged tempest rages there ; 
No thunders rend the stilly air ; 
No summer scorches with its heat, 
No winter drives its freezing sleet. 
In living green the fields appear. 
And flowers bloom thro' all the year. 
Nor dazzling noon, nor murky night 
Is known within tliose pre(!incts briglit : 
For there the Great White Throne ot God 
Sheds its pure, silvery rays abroad, 
And the evening and the morn appear 
As in Creation's natal year. 
Death reigns not o'er the happy band 
Wliose home is in that glorious land. 
Tlic coffin black— the snowy shroud. 
The mourner's form in sorrow bowed, 
Tlie yawning grave, the funeral bier, 
T)ie aching heart— the scalding tear, 
Are all unknown ; God wipes the tear 
From every eye ; and grief and fear. 
And anguish deep, and racking pains, 
Are never felt where Jesus reigns. 



The Forg:otten Picture. 

In the dark old chamber of my mind. 

Up many a winding stair, 
I have a little room that's full 

Of pictures old and rare. 

I'\-e portraits there of gray-haired men. 
And maidens young- and fair. 

Sweet matrons with their angel smiles, 
And babes with golden hair. 

Dear kindred that have left the earth 

To join the angel band. 
And friends I loved in early years— 

(xone to the spirit land. 

And I have me there fair landscapes, to 
Witli verdure fresh and green — 

Houses, and fields, and gurgling streams, 
AVith clumps of trees between ; 

And many a scene of joy or grief 

I knew in by-gone years : 
Death-beds ot those I loved— but these 

Are sadly soiled witli tears. 



Backivoods Poems. 



4S 



Yest're'en I was aweary srown 
Of tlie toils, and cares, and slrit'e, 

That ever have beset the patli 
Which I have trod through life; 

And I shut me up in this little room. 

Where sunbeams rarely fall. 
And watched the pictures as they liunt; 

Upon the dark-V)rown wall. 

In the darkest corner of the room, 

I found uiMU the floor, 
A picture moldei-ed o'er with age, 

r had not seen betore. 

I bore it to the feeble lig'ht, 

But 1 could scarcely trace — 
The mildew was so thick on it— 

Tlie outlines of the face. 

I brushed away the cruel dust. 
And saw my Nancy there ! 

Just as she looked long time ago, 
AVhen she was youn^ and fair. 

Her dark-brown hair was parted smooth 

Upon her pale, sweet brow, 
And fell in rich profusion o'er 

Her shoulders white as suow. 

Her lips halt-parted, still were wi't 
With the kiss I left on them ; 

And purity sat on her brow, 
Like 4 queenly diadem. 

Her hazel eyes gazed into mine 
With a look that seemed to say, 

" Couldst thou not give one thought to lu 
While I was tar away ;" 

Oh I how my spirit trembled then, 

As pictures of the jjast, 
Along the wall in the shadowy gloom, 

Came thronging thick and fast. 

The drama of our early love, 

Glided before my view 
Tnke a panorama, and I lived 

Those blissful liours anew. 

But the ghosts of all my withered liopcs 
Came gibbering round me then. 

And mocked me with a bitter taunt 
Of whal 1 might liave. bePii. 



And 1 liuug the picture on the wall 
AVhere the deep'ning shadows lay. 

And walked with sad, dejected steps 
Flora the gloomy room away. 



The Ideal, 

You ne'er have seen my love : no mortal eye, 
Save mine, hath ever gazed upon her charms ; 
For she is not a dweller on this earth, 
And ne'er has been. She lives for me alone. 
I would I had the painter's kingly art — 
Tliat it would thrill ray tingers' ends, as erst 
It tlirilled the grand old Raphael's, when he 
Would picture Heavenly things. Then I would i)aint 
A picture of my love, and it should be 
Mdi-e beautiful than aught the world hath seen. 
I oft have thought, that in this wondrous age 
Some cunning genius might invent a plan— 
A union of Daguerre's and Mesmer's arts — 
B/ which the pictui'es that the mind conceives 
Might be transferred to canvas, unimpaired 
P.y the bungling touches of unskilful hands. 
If this were done, I'd draw my love, that all 
Might see the beauties I have worshipped long. 
Her eyes are large and blue — blue as the dome 
( )f Heaven when no cloud nor murky mist 
Obscures its splendor in the early spring- 
Blue as the violets which hang their heads 
Over the gurgling atreamlet's mossy brink — 
Blue as old ocean when the tides have ceased, 
Atid not a wind disturbs his deep repose. 
Dark silken lashes fringe those azure eyes. 
And half conceal — e'en as the bending trees 
Half hide from view the deep-blue mountain lake. 
Her brow is broad and wliite— white a.s the snow 
Which robes tlie earth wlien winter reigns supreme. 
Her hair is golden— brighter than the beam 
Which plays at sunset on the western cloud- 
And, in rich curls ot silken fineness, falls 
O'er a neck and shoulders whiter than her brow. 
The rose and lily for the mastery strive 
Upon her cheeks— save when her large blue eyes 
Meet mine in tender gaze ; for then the rose 
Doth triumph, and the lily disappears. 
On cheeks and rounded chin, sweet dimples play. 
And come and go, and chase each other round, 
Like tiny ripples on a placid stream. 
And then her mouth -ah I who can paint that mouth! 
Those lips so full, and ripe, and coral-hued— 
Tho'o teeth far whiter than old ocean's pearls— 



u 



Backwoods Poems. 



And the tender smile which plays forever there .' 
Methinks, one kiss from such a mouth as liers 
Were far more worth than kingly diadem. 
Her form, not tall, nor large, is round and full 
With buoyant health; her motions light and free 
As the merry gambols of the spotted fawn 
That nips the grass in the forest's cool retreats. 
Her voice is full of music — soft and low 
As the breathing ot a zejihyr on a liari^, 
But sweet and full of gladness as the song 
With which the mocking-bird doth cheer the grove, 
lu the silent hour of night, when every eye, 
Save mine, is closed in gentle balmy sleep. 
That voice doth speak to me from out the breeze — 
Doth speak of love, and happiness and hope. 
And all that's pure, and beautiful and briglit. 
And then she bcudeth o'er me, and her eyes 
Gaze with a tender love-look into mine 
That doth my spirit gladden ; and her lips 
Press kisses sweet upon my cheeks and brow, , 
Until 1 fall iisleen— and dream of liden ! 



In a Horn. 

Now, Tom, I wisli you'<l leave nn 
I hate you in my sight ; 
I always thought you ugly— 
Indeed a jjerfect frigiit. 
You'd do in papa's cornfield 
To scare away the crow — 
But it is in a horn, Tom — 
It's in a horn, yon know. 

What ! kiss those horrid lips, sir. 
That I can not see for liair ! 
I'd rather kiss a monkey, 
Or hug a grizzly bear. 
I wish you'd take your hat, Tom, 
I wisii that you would go- 
But it is in a horn, Tom- 
Just in a horn, you know. 



Don't put your arm around me — 
I will not have it there ; 
And four and twenty kisses 
Are more than I can bear. 

dear ! the clock has struck eleven - 

1 wish that you would go — 
But then it's in a horn, Tom— 
All in a horn, you know. 



Petticoats. 



A POETIC PLAGIARY. 



I dreamed a dream the other night. 

When everything was dark and still ; 
Wliich made eacli hair stand straight with fright 

Stiff as the porcupine's sharp quill ; 
^Methought that petticoats liad grown 

To such a vast and monstrous size. 
That there was room for them alone — 

And none for man — beneath the skies. 

That beasts and every creeping tiling 

Had died. The flowers blooraed.no more. 
The grass and tender herbs of Spring 

Were witliered on the desert shon\ 
Ten million leagues of crinoline 

Stretched over all like a funeral pall : 
And on the cold and cheerless scene, * 

The sun's warm rays could never fall. 

On Ararat's cloud-curtained peak, 

Tlie last Ttian stood witli pallid face, 
Si(^k, trembling, weary, worn and weak — 

Sad remnant of a smothered race. 
In vain — alas ! poor man ! — in vain, 

His footsteps sought that hallowed place ; 
For clouds of skirts soon lilled the plain. 

And rolled around the mountain's base. 



m 



Pick np your gloves and vamose; 
It is no use to woo ; 
For I will never marry 
So plain a man as you. 
I'm sure I wouldn't have ki.s,sed you, 
But I thought 'twould make you go- 
I'm talking in a horn, Tom — 
.Just in a horn, you know. 



Still bigger grew those spheres of white, 

Until they reached the summit high. 
And streamed above the wretched wiglit. 

Like snowy banners in the sky. 
The man looked o'er a precipice, 

" Make way for petticoats !" he cried, • 
And plunging down tlie dark abyss, 

Made way for petticoats — and died ! 



Backwoods Poems. 



45 



The South's Response. 

Kespectfully dedicated to the White Men of the Nortli. 

The South yet lives ! the black fanatic horde 

Tlieir wrath, in vain, upon our heads have poured. 

A venal press tluit shrinks from no disgrace. 

And demagogues who'd sell their souls for place ; 

SHE-politicians lusting for renown, 

And hoary tricksters in the priestly gown ! 

Th' ambitious beardless youth just tree from school, 

Th' enthusiast run mad, the knave and, fool. 

Find in the South a fruitful theme for all 

Tiieir eloquence and wit, their slime and gall. 

The poets, too, have joined the motley thi'ong, 

And tuned their lyres to curse the South in song : 

liONGFELLOW, Bbyant, Whittiee have sought 

To blacken us, as British copyists out/Id. 

But, spite of all, our institutions stand. 

Green as the bay-trees of our native land. 

The house our fathers built has braved the shock, 

For it is founded on a granite rock : 

That rock is Nature's own unchanging laws. 

Fixed in creation by the Great First Cause. 

But, now alas ! dire fear has seized our hearts ; 
And we, who smiled at treason's puny darts 
And laughed to see its mimic lightnings play, 
Are trembling in our boots, in pale dismay ; 
For Kalamazoo's bard— illustrious Hill— 
For " nigger rights" has blown his whistle shrill I 

' This Babd has put us under Heaven's ban— 
" Defiers of the laws of God and man"— 
" Oppressors of a poor, unlucky race," 
Whom he would have to " know our proper place," 
And " keep down South" to 'scape the scorolung tire 
Of his— the Kalamazoo Poet's — ire ! 

We of the South are much beliind the age : 
We read God's laws on iuspiration's page, 
And, thoughtless mortals, little care to know 
What Wayland wi-ites, or Granny Harriet Stowe. 
The Saviour, Paul, and Moses are our teachers — 
Not saintly Kalloch nor the Rifle Beechers 1 
The laws of God approve, and in no place 
Condemn th' enslavement of th' inferior race. 
But these, perhaps, though wholesome in their days. 
Suit not this age's dazzling noon-day blaze I 
Th' Apostle sent th' absconding servant back. 
But then we do not know his skin was black ; 
Paul had not read what Wayland since has shown. 
And railroads tmderground were then unknown ! 
Had it but been in this enlightened day, 



Paul would have sent the slave another way, 

To beg, and steal, and pine away and die. 

Beneath the cold and bleak Canadian sky ! 

Our Poet tells us plainly what lie'd do— 

He'd " strip us of our .slaves"— perAops our purses loo! 

He " grants our sires enslaved the Afric race," 
But then their " cour.se" was "blind" — a "deep dis- 
grace ;" 
And we, their sons, far wiser than our sires. 
With hearts more warmed by freedom's holy fires. 
Should straightway rid us of so great a " curse," 
" Since cotton gins (!i have made the evil worse !" 
" Seest'thou a man wise in his own conceit ? — 
There is more hope"— but I will not repeat 
What Solomon, the sapient king, did say— 
He was too much a fogy for our day ! 

But then, our bard declares— oh brilliant thought !— 

Our gallant sires for nigger freedom fought ! 

And since "our fathers' blood for freedom ran," 

Our claim's "unrighteous" to our "feUow-man." 

If this were so, why did our sires retain 

Their " fellow-man" still bound by slavery's chain ? 

Why not have let their dusky bondmen go, 

I'o ransom whom their richest blod did flow ? 

When Revolution's bloody strife was done, 

And freedom's noble heritage was won. 

Was there one " slave" the less of Afric's race '! 

Was there one eftbrt made the " slave" to place 

In higher sphere, and with those riglits invest 

Of which our free-born sires were then possessed .' 

No, this was left for men of modern days. 

Before whose dazzling intellectual blaze, 

The feebler lights of seventy-six grow pale. 

As stars, in solar-light, their brightness veil ! 

Our noble sires for while men's freedom fought ; 
Tliey broke the chains with which tlie Briton sought 
To bind the limbs of those who were as free 
By th' sacred laws of Nature's God, as he. 
And when they formed a union to secure 
Tlie rights of man " immutable and sure," 
The fi'anchises of freemen they bestowed 
On those who thus were made by Nature's God. 
To th' negro, on whose dusky, sensual face 
Is stamped the brand of an inferior race, 
Whose liistory, from the earliest date of time- 
In foreign lands or his own native clime — 
Presents no mark of mind— no brilliant light 
Of great event t' illume its gloomy night ; 
Who, 'mid the ch-vngos of all earthly things— 
The rise and full of empires, kingdoms, kings— 
In science' dawn, and in its noonday blaze, 



46 



Bachwoods Po 'ms. 



In heathen night and evangelic days. 
Has always been, in every laud, the same— 
A brutal savage or a bondman tame ; 
To him, I say, they deemed it was unwise 
T' intrust so rich a boon— so dear a prize. 
It was not meet to " cast bsfoi-e the swine" 
This pearl of priceless worth— this gift divine. 
His former station was to him assigned, 
Wliich suited well his low and groveling mind; 
A station low, indeed, but one wherein 
His nature rude, by wholesome discipline 
Might be restrained from those revolting crimes 
Which mark liim in all ages and all climes ; 
A station that would win for him the grace, 
And not the hate, of the superior race; 
And one wherein the labor of his hands, 
Directed by a master's wise commands. 
Would for his creature comforts all provide, 
And good confer on all mankind beside. 

Experience hath shown us that the place 
We of the South assign the negro race. 
Is that which suits their rugged natures best- 
That they are blest by "slavery," not oppi-essed. 
Their rapid increase and their lengthened years — 
Despite the awful groans, and shrieks, and tears. 
With which fanatics have the public plied— 
Show that their creature wants are well supplied. 
In knowledge, too, the negro has improved 
Since he, a savage, in the jungle roved ; 
And many arts of civilized mankind 
Are now familiar to his feeble mind. 
Wholesome restraints have checked his black desires, 
Which erst did burn like hell's sulphurous fires ; 
And the negro, famed for passions fierce and wild. 
Is here as docile as a little child. 
The negroes' hands have cleared our forests deep, 
And drained tlie swamps where reptiles erst did creep ; 
They till our fields which smile with golden grain. 
With cotton white, or thrifty sugar cane. 
The useful products of their toiling hands, 
Freight yearly fleets of ships to other lands, 
And furnish toiling millions there a way 
Whereby to earn their bread from day to day. 
Let mad fanatics wrangle as they may. 
The negro's labor clothes the world to-day. 
But for this labor and the master's skill, 
The spindles of the world would now stand still ; 
Ten million hungry throats would shriek for bread, 
And dire rebellion hoist its banners red. 

And yet, our sapient Poet views " with shame" 
The dear-loved Union which our sires did frame, 
Because in it the nei/ro is denied 



The rights for which the white man fought and died. 
// has no charms for hAm—he longs to see 
A better " union where all men are free \"— 
A union that would blot out every trace 
Dividing- us from the inferior race ; 
And negro "slaves" with all those rights invest. 
Of which it is our pride to be possessed. 
Then might the negro cast his vote with ours, 
And exercise the judge and juror's powers ; 
Sit with our statesmen in the Congress hall, 
Gallant our daughters to the church and ball, 
4.nd mix with ours— O damning, deep disgrace ' — 
The brutish blood of his degraded race ! 

Such is the union which our bard would have 

Instead of that our fathei-s to us gave. 

And though not now, " with shame he does confess," 

Yet, " at some future day he'll have no less." 

When this will be is past our poet's ken. 

But brothers of the North, we'll tell you when : 

When ydu forget the worth of your descent. 

And in the blindness of your zeal consent 

Your sacred rights and species to degrade ; 

When by "blind leaders of the blind" betrayed, 

You join the negro horde a war to wage 

'Gainst your own blood which spares no sex nor age ; 

When every Southern stream with blood shall flow. 

And th' midnight sky is lurid with the glow 

Of cities, towns and villages on fire ; 

When, in despair, each heart-broke Southern sire, 

Virginius-like, has stabbed his maiden child. 

To save her from the negro's passion wild ; 

Wlien cold in death is every Southron's hand. 

And desolation reigns o'er all our land ; 

Then, not till then, this horrid thing shall be— 

This motley " union where all men are free"— 

A bloody saturnalia which might well 

Call shrieks of laughter from the depths of hell ! 



Mr. Browja: 

OR CIRCUMSTANCES ALTER CASES. 

" O tell me, Mary, have you seen 

That ugly Mr. Brown, 

With the pumpkin head, and brimstone hair. 

And manners like a clown .' 

What could have made young Cliarley Smith 

Bring such a gawk to town ? 



Backwoods Poems. 



47 



He has no breeding, I am sure— 

He stares at ladies so 

With those great dumpling eyes of liis- 

And I would like to know 

How Betty Jones can condescend 

To take him for a beau " 

Quoth ilary, " What you say is true ; 
He's awkward and he's plain ; 
But then, you know, he's very rich. 
And wealth witli some will gain" — 
" Indeed, I never heard of that," 
Said pretty Martha Jane ; 

" I only got a glance at him 

At Mrs. Jenkins' ball ; 

And on acquaintance he may not look 

So ugly after all. 

I wonder if young Charley Smith 

Will ask his friend to call V 



A Lover's Lament. 

The word is spoken ; 

The spell is broken 

Which bound my heart to thee ; 

From the snares which love 

Around it wove. 

My spirit now is free. 

With passion wild 

As e'er despoiled 

Man of his peace and rest, 

I loved thee, girl, 

But now I hurl 

Thine image from my breast. 

I thought thy face 

Had every grace 

That could a bosom melt ; 

But now no more 

Do I adore 

The charms to which I knelt. 

The time is gone. 
Thou haughty one. 
Of my blind love tor thee ; 
Thy lips have said 
Thou would'st not wed 
So green a chap as me .' 



The Old Red Piddle. 

The Old Red Fiddle's on the shelf 

Above the kitchen door ; 

The dust has gathered thick on it, 

And we'll hear its sound no more. 
C lim-HS— The old red fiddle 

Is broke in the middle- 
Alas ! alack-a-day ! 
When the dancers meet 
With shuffling feet. 
What shall old Pompey play I 

The screws are gone, the neck is broke, 
And hairless is the bow 
Old Pompey flourished with such g^ace 
At the frolics long ago. 

Chorus— Tho old red fiddle, &o. 

' The old red fiddle ! how sweet the tunes 
Old Pompey from it drew. 
As round the room in a giddy whirl 
The merry dancers flew. 

Chorus—The old red fiddle, &c. 

But now above the kitchen door 
It lieth— broke in twain ; 
And poor old Pompey ne'er can coax 
From it a tune again. 

Chorus— The old red fiddle, &c. 



The Deserted Home. 

Beside the road upon a hillock's brow. 

There stands a little house with whitewashed walls; 
'Twas once the dwelling place of man, but now 

Grim solitude dwells in its darkened halls. 

From th' chimney top no curling smoke ascends; 

No noisy fowls make music at the door; 
The faithful watch-dog, truest, best of friends. 

Barks by the gate at passers-by no more. 

The clambering vines which cling around the eaves, 
Hang dry and withered in the Autumn wind ; 

The rose-bush now has lost its blooms and leaves. 
But all its thorns, alas ! are left behind'. 



Jf8 



Backwoods Poems. 



The early frost has nipped the trees which therw 
Their lengthened shadows on the whitewashed wall: 

Their leaves have lost their deep-green summer hue, 
And pale and yellow wait their coming fall. 

Thick o'er the yard the withered grass doth stand; 

The stunted shrubs a mournful aspect wear; 
And sickly flowers deprived of tending hand, 

Droop pale and languid in the chilly air. 

No smiling faces meet you at the door; 

No rustic chair awaits you in the room; 
No rosy children gambol on the floor; 

But all is silent — silent as the tomb. 

The clock above the fire-place in the hall 
No longer tells how swift the moments fly; 

But th' death-watch ticks behind the papered wall, 
And warns the list'ner death is always nigh. 

All cold and dreary is the hearth-stone, where 
The crackling fire blazed cheerful and bright, 

When loved ones gathered in a circle there, 
To while away a happy winter night. 

The black-eyed mice frisk where old Tom-cat lay 
In drowsy sleep outstretched upon the floor ; 

The cricket's merry song is hushed for aye; 
The kettle sings upon the fire no more. 

Upon the wall, above the mantle-piece 
The cunning si^ider weaves kis silken snare ; 

Securely he enjoys a life-time lease. 
Nor brush nor broom can e'er disturb him there. 

The walls are bare, no pictures hang around ; 

Chairs, tables, beds and bureaus, all are gone ; 
Your foot-falls through the emjity rooms resound, 

And make you start to find yourself alone. 

For it is haunted — this deserted home — 
Haunted by treasured mem'ries of the past, 

"Which in the stillness of the gloaming come, 
Like wand'ring gobUus thronging thick and fast. 

Faces long resting in the silent tomb- 
Faces of loved ones living far away— 

Peer from the darkened comers of the room. 
Then glide and vanish in the twilight gray. 

And old familiar voices whisper low 

In th' breeze that rattles 'gainst the window pane, 
As the faces in the corner come and go — 

Then all is silent as the grave again. 



The Old and the New Year. 

'Twas new year's eve, and the wintry blast. 
As it southward swept from the frozen zone, 

By the chimney paused, as it hun-ied past, 
To tell that the year was breathing his last. 
And shriek and moan. 

An old man sat in his big arm-chair, 

In a cosy nook by the crackling flre ; 
Old age had silvered his silken hair. 

And furrowed the brow, once smooth and fair, 
Of the village sire. 

He watched, through the pane, in the twilight gray. 
The snow as it fell on the frozen pave ; 

And he thought of the year which died that day. 
And now in its cold white shrouding lay. 
Prepared for the grave. 

He thought of the friends who had died that year— 
Who had left the world for the spirit land ; 

And as he recalled their features dear, ' 

He brushed from his eye the starting tear 
With trembling hand. 

His rnind traveled back to his childhood bright. 
To his boyhood's bloom, and his manhood's prime; 

And he tracked the years by memory's light. 
By the footprints left in their rapid flight 
In the sands of Time. 

" Another"— whispered the aged sire, 

'■Another year of my lite has fled;" 
And he shivering drew his arm-chair nigher 

The clean-swept hearth, where the hickory flre 
Blazed warm and red. 

A fair young girl in her youthful bloom. 
With a rich red lip and a soft dark eye. 

Sat by the bed in her lami>lit room, 
While the snow-clouds gathered in thicker gloom 
Across the sky. 

The glossy curls of lier raven hair 
Fell over her neck and shoulders white, 

And nestled upon the bosom fair 
That her snowy nigh^-robe, with all her care. 
Scarce hid from sight. 

The earth in her bridal robes ot white 
She looked through the frosted pane and spied, 

And bride's-maid trees in their jewels bright ; 
For the Earth was to be, that very night, 
The Young Year's bride. 



I 



Backwoods Poems. ^9 


In the hazy light of the rising moon, 


Returns a seven times bigger fool 


The skittish snow-iiakes whirled and danced ; 


Unto her home parental. 


And the North-wind whistled a merry tune, 


She, too, must write— it is the rule — 


As over the hills in his silver shoon 


Sonnettas transcendental. 


He madly pranced. 






Toots " saw the sun in Autumn set," 


And the maiden thought of the pleasures gay 


And he must write some lines upon it ; 


Which the coming year to her would bring ; 


Miss Carrie Snucks " can ne'er forget," 


And she longed for the dawn of New- Year's day, 


And she must write a sonnet ; 


And wished that the hours would lly away 


Dick Noodle " doth remember yet," 


With swifter wing. 


And Dick in rhyme has done it ! 


The friends she loved she would meet again : 


Ye muses fair ! whose home was ei-st 


Sweet ti'iendship their hearts should closer bind. 


Amid the clouds of Mount Parnassus ! 


And add new links to her golden chain ; 


Say, say, how long shall we be cursed 


And the hopes she had cherished for years in vain 


With such a set of asses ! 


Would fruition find. 


When shall a bard by Genius nursed 




Again mount old Pegasus ? 


And she smiled, and a blush suffused her cheek. 




As she thought of the hearts that would own her 




dear. 




Of the gallant youths that her hand should seek, 


Lines. 


And the trembling lip.s that of love should speak, 


In the coming year. 


In the stillness of the star-lit night 




The limpid dew by heaven distilled, 
Falls on the landscape parched with thirst, 






And every tiny cup is filled. 


Rhymes and Rhymesters. 


There is no sound to mark its fall, 


Sympathetically inscribed to bored Editors and cross- 


So soft and light in its descent ; 


grained Printers. 


But the flowers refreshed the coming morn, 




Attest the life and strength it lent. 


Writing in rhyme is all the rage. 




The muses have us in subjection ; 


Even so the good man's daily walk 


People of every sex and age 
Have caught a strange infection. 


(Tho' humble be the path he treads ; 
And his life-time pass unknown to fame) 


And itch to blot a foolscap page 


A genial influence round him spreads. 


With rhymes without connection. 




Sim Simpkin's wife has had a child. 




And Sim wants all the world to know it ; 




So in his happy frenzy wild 


Work for All. 


Sim Simpkin turns a poet. 




And the village paper is defiled 


There's work for every hand to do ; 


With wretched rhymes to show it. 


The Earth's a mighty field. 




Which, if we do not tend it well, " 


Young Jemmy Jenkins falls in love 


Its fruits will never yield. 


With a Miss just out of short-tailed dresses, 


There are farms to clear, and towns to rear, 


And he must needs call her his " dove," 


And roads to make, and lands to drain. 


And praise her " auburn tresses," 


And soils to plow, and seeds to sow, 


And call upon the " powers above" 


And ships to steer across the main. 


To witness his " distresses." 






There's work for every hand to do ; 


Matildie Jane, from the " female school," 


The gold of knowledge lies 


Grown green-sick, sad and sentimental. 


Deep in tho ground, and he must dig 



50 



Backwoods Poems. 



Who would obtain the prize. 
There are tasks to do for those who'd woo 

Fair Science in her regal home : 
And for those who'd write, in lines of light, 

Their names on Fame's proud temple dome. 

There's work for every hand to do : 

Not work for self alone, 
For man may not a hermit live, 

Nor call himself his own. 
There are books to write, to spread the light 

Of useful knowledge among our race ; 
The poor to feed in time of need. 

And tears to wipe from sorrow's face . 



Uncle Sam is very Bich, 

A SONG FOR THE TIMES. 



Me. Editor. —From the beginning of the present 
great convulsion in the financial ali'airs of the country, 
the eyes of many — merchants, manufacturers, plant- 
ers, artisans and stockholders — have been turned to the 
General Government for relief. Incapable of pruden- 
tially taking care of our own aifairs, " Uncle Sam" is 
invoked to take out letters of administration on our 
estates. To promote these efforts I have composed the 
following song, to which you will please give a place in 
the columns of your widely circulated journal. I 
hope that some musical gentleman ot your great city 
will give it an appropriate air, in order that a com- 
pany of minstrels may go on to Washington and sing 
it, with banjo accompaniment, in the ears of the 
President and Congress, until they grant the desired 
relief. 



The ten-horned panic's been along. 
And caused great consternation ; 
And young and old, and rich and poor, 

Are in much tribulation. 
No line of business prospers now 

Under our own direction ; 
Old Uncle Sam must kindly take 
Us under his protection. 
Chorus— O, Uncle Sam is very rich — 
¥ Why don't the old man aid us ' 

The ten-homed panic's been along, 
And on the shelf has laid us. 

From Pumpkinville to Injun Creek 

A railroad was projected ; 
The bonds were sold, the route surveyed. 

And officers elected. 
But the thing smashed up, the stock went down, 

And not a foot completed ; 



And "bulls" who bought to cheat the "bears," 
Found they, themselves, were cheated. 
O, Uncle Sam is very rich, &e. 

Legrand imported goods enough 

To stock a half a nation. 
And laid out all his ready cash 

In lands, on speculation. 
And now he's broke ; the last I saw 

Of him he was a lying, 
With a Cuba six between his lips. 

In mournful accents crying : 
"O, Uncle Sam is very rich, &c. 

Smith got a special act to make. 

Said Smith a corporation ; 
With pictured promises to pay 

He flooded all creation. 
But Smith at last was called to fork— 

A thing he ne'er intended— 
And having "nary red" in bank. 

The thing, of course, suspended. 
O, Uncle Sam is very rich, &c. 

Sid Snider drove a pair of bays 

Which cost, on tifck, nine hundred. 
And lived in such a splendid style 

That everybody wondered. 
But brass, alas ! in these hard times, 

Is not a lawful tender ; 
And Snider's broke— alack ! poor man ! — 

And gone upon a bender. 
O, Uncle Sam is very rich, &c. 

The Yankee looms are standing still - 

Supply exceeds consumption ; 
And operatives are discharged 

Until the bank resumption. 
The carpenter won't shove his plane — 

The smith throws down his hammer— 
They will not work at panic price. 

And with the rest they clamor : 
"O, Uncle Sam is very rich, &c. 

The banks for traders won't discount, 

Nor will they grant extensions ; 
And petticoats to thirty yards 

Must lessen their dimensions. 
The merdiants' clerks no more can live 

Like princes oriental — 
O, why don't Uncle Sam extend 

To us, his care parental. 
O, Uncle Sam is very rich, &c. 



Backwoods Poems. 



51 



The farmers will not sell their grain, 

Except at famine prices : 
And planters hold their cotton back 

Till they have passed the crisis. 
The wheels of commerce will not move — 

The axles need a greasing — 
If Uncle Sam would lend a lift, 

We all would stop our teasing. 
O, Uncle Sam is very rich, &o. 
Dec. 14, 1857. 



Quitman. 

Long years ago, with buoyant hope elate, 

A friendless youth came to our noble State, 

To cast his lot with ours, and car\e a name. 

Fit to adorn the deathless page of fame. 

His gen'rous breast no mean ambition tired ; 

A purpose high his noble soul inspired. 

His was a wish to wm himselt a place 

Among the benefactors of his race— 

A place among the wise, the good, the great — 

And honor shed on his adopted State. 

The people called him to their councils ; there. 

His Roman firmness and his judgment clear. 

Their impress made, e'en at that early age. 

Upon our infant State's historic page. 

When, in the bright meridian of his life. 

His country called him to the field of strife, 

"He grasped the sword and tlu'ew away the shield," 

And on full many a hard-contested field 

His gallant soldiers unto vict'ry led, 

Where valor's self might well have quaked to tread. 

Scarce had he rested from the field of strife. 

When he again was called to public life^ 

CaUed to the helm of State by those who knew 

The South had not a friend more warm and true. 

His acts as Governor what need to tell 1 

Enough to say, he did his duty well. 

And foremost stood among the ranks of those 

Who Federal usurpation dared oppose. 

Again the people's voice the patriot calls 

To represent them in the Congress halls. 

He swerves not from the faith to which his life 

Has been devoted. And mid the angry strife 

Which o'er the Congress of our nation threw 

A shade of infamy, he yet was true 

To gentlemanly instinct— yet maintained 

That calm yet firm demeanor which has gained 

The high respect of even those who hate 

The institutions of our noble State. 

But death, alas ! had marked him for his spoil, 



Long ere he ceased from busy public toil. 
And now, with sunken eye, and shattered frame. 
And tottering step, the brave old hero came 
Back to his home beneath the southern sky. 
To rest him from life's busy work -and die. 

Too late, alas ! too late ! the nation learned 
Our Quitman's worth. Too late their eyes were turned 
To him, as unto one whose hand could guide 
The bark of State safe o'er the troubled tide. 
While yet upon the bed of death he lay. 
And, inch by inch, his life slow ebbed away, 
E'en then, from far otf sister States there came 
Applauding murmurs of his dear-loved name ; 
And words prophetic of a futui'e bright, 
When he, our chief, should guide the helm aright. 
O came there not, while millions spoke his praise, 
Some cheriiihed vision of his early days — 
Some high-born hope that fired his youthful soul 
To scale Fame's rugged steep, and reach her highest 
goal 1 

Alas ! methinks that it were hard to die 

With life's fruition full, so bright and nigh ! 

The wounded eagle turns his burning eye 

Toward the craggy cloud-capped summit high. 

Whereon his nest is buUt. He longs to soar 

Among those fields of rolling clouds once more, 

And breath the air of that empyreal height— 

But, ah ! his broken wing forbids his flight ! 

E'en so, methinks, 'twould be with one, if death 

Should come with stealthy tread to steal the breath, 

Just as there rises to his fading sight 

A future full of glory, grand and bright— 

A future pregnant with his country's fate. 

That bids him lead the way, but bids alas ! too late ! 

But though the hero died in manhood's prime. 

Ere yet was finished half his task sublime ; 

Though his loved form went down into the tomb 

While honor's buds were bursting into bloom ; 

Yet, yet, there came to cheer his dying hour 

A thought more sweet than worldly fame and power— 

The consciousness of duty nobly done — 

Of life's gi-cat battle brively fought and won— 

Of honest purpose unto which his soul 

Had ever pointed, like the needle to the pole. 

In ancient times, when mighty heroes died, 

yhey were by priest and poet deified. 

The proudest works of art commemorate 

The deeds and virtues of the buried great ; 

And poetry and eloquence have shed 

Their brightest radiance o'er the mighty dead. 

But (iuiTMAN needs no high- wrought sounding phrase 



62 Backwoods 


PoeTTis. 


To tell his noble deeds in future days. 


Thank the Lord ! his strife is done. 


Tliis short and simple epitaph will tell 


And a brighter crown he's won 


The glorious history oi his life full well :— 


Than the world bestows. 


" His chosen place was in progression's van- 
He lived and died a patriot and an honest man !" 


Let his memory be forgot ; 
Let no tears bedew the spot 




Where his relics lie ; 
With no one to love him here - 






None his hopes and griefs to share, ji^H. 


The Poet's Grave. 


It was best to die. ■J^H 


On the hill-top cold and bleak, 


Let the pines their vigils keep, ^^B 


Where the North winds liowl and shriek. 


Let the North-winds moan and weep 1 


Let his grave be made ; 


O'er that grave-spot wild ; * 


There among the tangled vines- 


Nature, whom he loved so well. 


There beneath the stunted pines. 


Will his funeral anthem swell, 


Let his form be laid. 


And bewail her child. 


Cold and dreary is the sx>ot, 

But the world which knew him not 






It was colder still ; 


Isabel. 


And the poor short life he led 




Bare of flowers as his bed 


Gather flowers— violets blue, 


On the rocky hill. 


Brier-roses wet with dew. 


Ah ! ye knew not— could not know 
What he sufl'ered here below ; 


Honey-suckles, eglantines, 

Woodland pinks and jessamines ; 
Bring them hither to the dell— 


How his spirit yearned 


Strew the grave of Isabel. 


For one kindly spoken word— 

For one look that might have cheered 


Oft with us she wandered here ; 


The poor heart ye spumed. 


Ott her ringing laughter clear 
Filled the wood with music sweet 


Ye knew not, dull sons of earth, 


As the sound where waters meet. 


There were gems of priceless worth 


Ah ! I do remember well 


In that poor boy's mind- 


Days we spent with Isabel. 


Gems of beauty that might now 




Crown his pale and lofty brow. 


Here we gathered flowers fair. 


Had ye been more kind. 


Wove bright garlands for our hair. 




Then in yonder quiet nook 


Never throbbed in human breast 


Viewed our faces in the brook. 


Nobler heart than he jwssessed— 


None in beauty could excel 


Heart more warm and true; 


Brown-haired blue-eyed Isabel. 


But alas \ ye never strove 




To awake its latent love 


Often in yon mossy seat 


For mankind and you. 


We have sat in converse sweet, 




Painting all the future bright 


Ever longing but in vain 


As the morning's rosy light. 


For the love it sought to gain- 


Ah ! no mortal then could tell. 


Love ye would not give. 


We should lose our Isabel. 


It had withered, like a flower 




Shut out from the summer shower, 


She is gone ! Ah— never more 


Ere he ceased to Uve. 


On this side of Canaan's shore, 




Shall our darling's silvery voice 


What he might have been had you 


Make our mourning hearts rejoice. 


Been to manhood's duties tnie, 


She has left us— It is well — 


Heaven only knows : 


Angels keep our Isabel ! 



Backwoods Poems. 53 


Blue-eyed Jenny. 


Chorus— O Betty Bell ! 




No words can tell 


Respectfully inscribed to Miss R. Vii-ginia M . 


IIow dear thou art to me : 




When stars shme bright 


Let city bards from silver goblets quatf their ruby 


On the brow of night, 


wine, 


I sit and think of thee. 


Ami then, with fancy warmed to life at Bacchus' 




rosy shrine, 


How sweet she looked in home-spun frock, 


Sing city life "a heaven on earth," and city girls 


Witli arms and shoulders bare, 


"divine." 


And yellow flowers and scarlet leaves 


Enough for me my backwoods home, where peace 


Twined in her auburn hair ; 


and plenty are. 


With saucy lips and fingers plump 


The deep blue sky, the singing birds, the woods so 


Stained by the ben-ies wild ; 


green and fair. 


And hazel eyes, whose drooping lids 


And, best of all, my blue-eyed Jenny with the golden 


Half hid them svhen she smiled. 


hair ! 


O Betty Bell, &c. 


Jly Jenny is no angol yet— I'm glad she is not so ; 


I could have kissed the little tracks 


The angels are created tor a different sphere I trow ; 


Her brown bare feet had made; 


A woman true best suits the life we mortals lead 


There was no hucklebeny pond 


* below. 


Too deep for me to wade— 


And I would not exchange one glance of Jenny's soft 


There was no rough persimmon tree 


blue eye. 


Too tall for me to scale— 


One little smile from Jenny's lips where nestling 


If Be'ty Bell was standing by 


kisses lie, 


With the little wooden pail. 


For all the silk-and-whalebone angels 'neath the 


Betty Bell, &c. 


starry sky ! 




■ 


But the pine trees died— the tar crop failed— 


I would not tread ambition's path — too rugged is the 


And it nearly broke my heart. 


way; 


When Betty Bell moved to the West 


To-morrow fades the laurel wreath we proudly wear 


In her father's two-wheeled cart. 


to-day ; 


O Betty Bell ! where'er thou art- 


Nor would I spend my life on earth in idle pleasures 


On mountain or in vale- 


gay. 


May huckleberries stiew thy path. 


Give me a cottage in the woods with Jenny for my 


Persimmons never fail ! 


bride. 


Betty Bell, &c. 


And I will ask of earthly things no other gift beside. 




But be contented with my lot, whatever may betide. 






Hymn for the Fourth of July. 


Betty Bell. 






Am—" Pnrtugese Ili/mn." 


SON(i. 






While millions join in Freedom's grand ovation. 


It was in huckle-beny time — 


And brighter the ttres upon her altars bum. 


I do remember well- 


All hail unto the birth-dity of our nation ! 


When first I saw the smiling face 


Let songs of gladness welcome its return. 


Of my sweet Betty Bell. 




Thick o'er the earth the autumn blast 


To-day, let peace be on the troubled waters : 


The russet leaves had flung ; 


Let party and section veil their raging tires ; 


And pliunp and bright on the bending trees 


And let Columbia's noble sons and daughters 


The ripe persimmons hung. 


Keep green the sacred mem'ry of their sires. 



54 



Bachwoods Poems. 



God save the Union as our fathers made it, 
When the Revolution's bloody strife was o'er ! 

Keep the foundation as our fathers laid it, 
And we'll maintain the Union evermore. 

Now, to our God, who hath preserved our nation, 
Who keepeth us in the hollow of His hand. 

Be honor, glory, praise and adoration. 
For all His wondrous mercies to our land ! 



Song. 

O think of me dearest, when in the red west 
The sun sinketh down, like a child to its rest ; 
When shadows are stealing thro' valley and glen, 
O think of me dearest, O think of me tlien. 

O think of me when on the forest-clad hill 
Is heard the sad wail of the lone whippoorwill ; 
When stars twinkle bright on the brow of the night, 
And the moon bathes the earth in her soft silver 
light. 

O think of me, dearest, when Spring's sunny skies 
Are blue as the deptlis of thy own azure eyes ; 
When in the green woods the wild roses bloom fair, 
And freight with their fragrance the fresh morning 
air. 

O think of me, love; when my spirit is sad. 
And the present and future in sorrow are clad, 
How sweet to me then will the consciousness be, 
That Lula, dear Lula, is thinking of me. 



To mark the half-averted face 

When I am standing near, 
And see the smile I love so well 

Turn to a bitter sneer ! 

Oh, bring my harp ! I'll pour my soul 

In a wild, impassioned strain ; 
The agony I'm sutfering now 

Shall not be all in vain— 
For it shall bring from quivering strings 

A melody divine I 
'Tis only when the grapes are crushed 

That we obtain the wine ! 



i 



Song. 

Oh, bring my harp — my dear-loved harp — 

My soul is sad to-day ; 
Oh, bring my harp ! I'll sing awhile 

To diive my gloom away : 
For the smile has quit my Lucy's lip, 

A shade is on her brow ; 
She greets me coldly when we meet— 

I know she hates me now. 

Oh ! 'tis enough to break the heart 

And rack the fevered brain. 
To love with all the, spirit's strength, 

And nought but hatred gain ! 



Bid Me Not Cease to Love Thee. 

Bid me not cease to love thee, 

I could not if I would ; 
Bid me not cease to love thee, 

I would not if I could. 
For, O, what would my life be. 

If love were ta'en away ? 
A flower without an odor, 

A star without a raj'. 

My life is spent in dreaming ; 

Full many a castle fair 
I've reared by dint of fancy 

In the regions of the air. 
And I've installed thee mistress 

Within those precincts bright. 
Where every hall's illumined 

By love's own silvery light. 

What, though there's nothing real 

In all the visions bright 
Which cheer me in the day-time. 

And haunt my dreams at night ? 
My castle and its mistress 

Are dearer far to me 
Than queen, and crown, and palace, 

Unto a king can be. 

And though my heart's deep passion 

May cause no throb in thine, 
In the realms of the ideal 

Thou art forever mine. 
In spite of all thy coldness — 

O pleasure, sweet and deep ! — 
I clasp thee in my day-dreams. 

And kiss thee in my sleep ! 



Backwoods Poems. 55 


The Old Song. 


Then, take your hai-p, dear lady. 




And sing it once again— 


take your liarp, sweet lady, 


This sweetest of earth's music — 


And sing that song again ; 


This dear, old, tender strain. 


Earth hath no sweeter music 


-Vnd, lady, do not bla.me me. 


Than that old tender strain. 


If tears like childhood's flow. 


For oh ! it doth remind me 


As mem'ry calls before me 


Of happy moments fled, 


The scenes of long ago. 


Of those I loved in childhood, 




Now numbered with the dead. 




The little white-washed cottage 


Song. 


"Where first I saw the light. 


In all its old-time beauty. 
Rushes before my sight. 


I DREAMED THOU WAST ANOTHER'S BRIDE. 


The deep blue morning-glories 




Are blooming o'er the door, 


I dreamed thou wast another's bride. 


And the moss box sits beside it 


And, O, methought I ne'er 


Just as it sat of yore. 


Until that moment knew thou wast 




To me one half so dear. 


Oleomas, pinks, and roses, 




Beside the gateway grow ; 


As traveler's in the desert see 


The grim old oaks their shadows 


The green oasis rise. 


Across the greensward throw ; 
And in the golden sunlight 


With shady trees and crystal springs, 
Before their longing eyes; 


The ruddy peaches glow ; 
Just as I used to see them, 


But find, as they approach the spot. 




The mirage floats away ; 


Full forty years ago. 


E'en so I felt when first I learned 


Close whtre the cool, clear waters 


That thou wast lost for aye. 


Gush from the mossy spring, 


My s6ul gi-ew bitter at the thought 


The little ones are gathered 






As wormwood mixed with gall ; 


Around the giape-vine swing. 




I hear their ringing laughter. 


And life grew dark as though 'twere hid 


I see their faces fair, 


Beneath a funeral pall. 


And roguish eyes half hidden 






O, it an evanescent dream 


By their curly golden hair. 






Can bring such pain to me. 


My sun-browned father sitteth 


How can I bear thy actual loss— 


Beneath the old oak tree. 


What will the real be? 


With blue-eyed baby sister 




Asleep upon his knee. 




His hands with toil are hardened, 




But, ah ! he deems him blest. 


The Girl that's Grot the Cash. 


For a kingdom could not purchase 




The jewels he possessed. 


SOKG. 


My mother, on her loom-benoh, 


Let fools and poets tune their harps 


The " battem" swiftly plies, 


Oi woman's charms to sing, sir. 


While through the opened webbing 


Of queenly forms and brilliant eyes, 


The polished shuttle flies. 


And all such foolish things, su- ; 


And as she weaves she singeth. 


Give me the girl that's got tlie cash. 


In tones soft, sweet, and clear, 


The shining yellow boys, sir, 


This same old song, dear lady, 


For sqlid charms alone Can fill 


I love so well to hear. 


The measure of my joys, sir. 



56 Baekujoods Poems. 


I care not it her eyes be black, 


I brood no more in the gloomy shade. 


Or blue, or gray, or green, sir. 


O'er hopes which budded but to fade, 


Nor if a horrid length of nose 


O'er darling schemes to ruin hurl'd, 


Stick out a feel between, sir. 


And the sneers and hate of a heartless world. 


Enough for me to know that she 


Thy little hands have broke the chain. 


Has got the pile oi tm, sir ; 


And set my spirit free again — j 


For cash, like charity, will hide 


To roam the fields where the skies are blue, 1 


A multitude of sins, sir. 


And the fragrant flowers are wet with dew, 1 




Where the birds are warbling among the trees, 1 


Don't talk to me of ruby lips. 


And the air is cooled by the gentle breeze. 


Nor cheeks like lilies fair, sir. 




Nor snowy brow, nor pearly teeth, 


And I love thee, as I love the star 


Nor flowing golden hair, sir. 


Which smiles ui>on me from afar ; 


The only ffold that takes my eye— 


As I love the spring-time for its bloom ; 


For U my spirit hankers- 


As I love the flowers which yield perfume ; 


Is that which jingles in the purse, 


As I love the moon for her silver light. 


And passes at the bankers. 


As I love whate'er is pure and bright. 


Give me the girl that's got the cash, 
A fifty thousand cool, sir ; 






I care not if she.s young or old. 


Lines to M. 


A Portia or a fool, sir. 




Be she as meek as any saint, 


Blame not the bard, sweet maiden, if his lyre 


Or as the devil bold, sir. 


Should breathe a tender, am'rous strain ; 


I'll shut my eyes to every fault. 


When soft dark eyes like thine tlie song inspire, 


If she has got the gold, sir ! 


How can the muse fiom love refrain ? 




I could repress the language of delight, 
WhUe wandering 'neath Italian skies ; 




My Sweetheart. 


Or stand upon tlie snowy Alpine height, 
And feel no wild emotion rise. 


Thou art beautiful, my little love, 


But ah ! to look upon that face so fair, 


As tlie stars which shine in the vault above : 






And feel no throb of love for thee — 


As beautitul as the rose-bud bright 






By Cupid's silver bow, sweet girl, I swear. 


Just opening to the morning light. 


This is a task too hard for me ! 


Thou art beautiful, with thy foreliead fair, 




And thy flowing wealth of chestnut hair; 

With thy rounded cheeks, where the blushes glow, 






And the tiny dimples come and go, 
WJien thou dost smile, as ripples break-- 


The Frost and the Forest. 


The placid face of the mountain lake. 


The Frost King came in the dead of night- 


As the Spring doth smile from the April skies. 


Came with .lewels of silver sheen — 


Thy soul shines forth trom thy glorious eyes— 


To woo by the spinster Dian's light, 


Thy eyes so bright that I never knew 


The pride of the South— the Forest Queen. 


If they were hazel, gray, or blue. 




Thy smile is like the beams which play 


He wooed till morn, and he went away ; 


On the rosy cloud at the dawn ot day. 


Then I heard the Forest faintly sigh. 


Thy voice is soft as the notes of love 


And she blushed like a girl on her wedding day, 


That are cooed in Spring by the turtle dove ; 


And her blush grew deeper as time went by. 


And thy silvery laugh as clearly rings 




As the gladsome song the red-bird sings. 


Alas ! for the forest ! the cunning Frost 




Her ruin sought, when he came to woo ; 


Thou hast brought the spring-time to my heart, 


She moans all day for her glory lost, 


For all is sunshine where thou art. 


And her blush has changed to a death-like hue. 



f 



Backwoods Poems. 



57 



My Castle. 



They do not know who sneer at me because I'm poor 

and lame, 
And round my brow, has never twined the laurel 

wreath of tame — 
They do not know that I possess a castle old and 

grand. 
With many an acre broad attached of fair and fer- 
tile land ; 
With hills and dales, and lakes and streams, and fields 

of waving grain. 
And snowy flocks, and lowing herds, that browze 

upon the plain. 
In sooth, it is a good demesne— how would my scorn- 

ers stare. 
Could they behold the splendors of my Castle in the 

Air ! 

The room in which I'm sitting now, is smoky, bare, 

and cold, 
But I have gorgeous stately chambers in my palace 

old. 
Rich paintings, by the grand old masters, hang upon i 

the wall, I 

And marble busts and statues stand around the spa- | 

cious hall. j 

A chandelier of silver pure, and golden lamps il- 
lume. 
With rosy light, on festal nights, the great reception | 

room. 
When wisdom, genius, beauty, wit, are all assembled I 

there, I 

And strains of sweetest music till my Castle in the ! 

AiB. 

About the castle grounds, ten thousand kinds of 

flowers bloom. 
And freight each passing zephyr with a load of sweet 

perfume. 
Thick clumps of green umbrageous trees afford a cool 

retreat. 
Where oft I steal me, when the sun pours down his 

scorching heat. 
And there, upon a mossy bank, recline the live-long 

day, I 

And watch the murmuring fountains in their marble | 

ba-sins play; I 

Or listen to the song of birds, with plumage bright j 

and rare. 
Which flit among the trees around my Castle in the 

Aiu. 



Sometimes the mistress of my ca.stle sits beside me 

there. 
With dark-blue eyes .so full of love, and sunny silken 

hair. 
With broad, fair, classic brow, where genius sheds his 

purest ray, 
And little dimpled rosy mouth, where smiles forever 

play. 
Ah 1 .she is very dear to me; her maiden heart alone 
Heturncxi my soul's deep love, and beat resjKnisive to 

my own ; 
And I cliose her tor my spirit-bride — this maiden 

young and fair. 
And now she reigns sole mi.stress of my Castle in 

THE Am. 

The hanks may break, and stocks may tall, the Croe- 
sus of to-day 

May see, t«-moiTow, all his wealth, like snow, dissolve 
away. 

And th' auctioneer, at panic price, to the highest bid- 
der .sell 

His marble home, in which a king might well be 
proud to dwell. 

But in my cjistlc in the air 1 have a siue estate. 

No panic, with its hydra-head, can e'er depreciate. 

No hard-faced .sheriff dares to levy execution there. 

For universal law exempts a CAsrLE in the Aib. 



Meet Me in Dreamland. 

O meet me in Dreamland, when night throws her veil 
O'er the wood and the tiold, o'er the hill and the dale ; 
When earth's weary millions arc wrapped in repose, 
And time's deep dark stream imperceptibly flows. 

O meet me in Dreamland— the mystical shore 
Where life's gloomy shadows can haunt me no more ; 
Where I roam through the forest as free as the fawn 
That nips the wild flowers which carpet the lawn. 

O meet me in Dreamland, aud smile on mo there 
With the sweet sunny smil.^ which thy lips u.ied to 

wear ; 
While I clasp thy white hand, let those dear eyes of 

thine. 
With a sweet tender love-look, gaze up into mine. 

O meet me in Dreamland, and list to th« vow 
My lips are too trem'lons to breathe to thee now ; 
And when thou hast heard it, then whisper to me 
The three sweetest words ever spoken by theo ! 



58 



Backwoods Poems. 



In the Shadow. 

O, gather me flowers all dripping with dew, 
Fresh roses, and lilacs, and violets blue, 
Younfj primroses brig'ht as the star-worlds above. 
And pinks like the lips of the maiden 1 love. 
Perhaps their bright hues, and their fragrant per- 
fume, 
May banish a moment my sadness and gloom ; 
For thoughts, maddening thoughts, are now racking 

my brain, 
And I dwell in the mountain's cold shadow again. 

The mountain's cold shadow ! the shadow whicti fate 
Has cast o'er the pathway I've trodden of late ; 
Which shutteth out all the bright world from my 

view, 
And leaves me in darkness my way to pursue. 
I know, as I walk o'er the cold, cheerless ground. 
There's gladness and light in the bright world around; 
But, O, not for me are the gladness and light— 
I have for my heritage sorrow and night. 

O come with soft music : perchance its sweet strain 
May lure me away from the shadow again ; 
Come witli viol and harp, let the tunes you sliall play 
Be those which lend wings to the feet of the gay. 
And sing to me songs that are merry and sweet 
As the warbling of birds in their forest retreat ; 
Let laughter ring clear, and each lip wear a smile, 
And I'll leave the dark shade for the sunshine awhile. 



Shall never be heard from the pulpit again. 
His sorrows are over — his groanings and cries ; 
And Jesus has wiped all the teai-s from his eyes. 
He rests from his labors — his labors of love — 
He dwells in the home of the ransomed above. 

He rests from his labors — 'twas Jesus's will — 
But the fruits of those labors are left to us still. 
The handful of seed which he sowed by the way 
Shall multiply still, till the great tiuai day, 
When the angels shall come to the field of the Lord, 
And reap the rich harvest— the yield of the word. 
Best, friend of my youth, from thy labors on earth, 
In Heaven we'll know what thy labors arc worth ! 



My Three Sweethearts. 

Inscribed to my friend. Dr. Jack M. (iiLBERT. 

Think not, friend Jack, my caption strange : 
Free Fancy takes a wider range 
Than blind boy Love, despite his wing's. 
She plays "a harp of a thousand strings;" 
And, free as air, roams here and there. 
To claim whate'er is sweet and fair. 
" Monarch of all her eyes survey," 
There's none on earth to tell her, nay. 
The heart can hold but one dear treasure. 
But earth can't till the fancy's measure. 



He Rests from His Labors. 

Inscribed to the memory of the late Eev. A. B. HiCKs. 

" Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their 
labors, and their works do follow thom." 

He rests from his labors — no more he'll proclaim 

Salvation to sinners in Jesus' name ; 

No more will he beg the ungodly to fly 

From the storm of destruction that's hovering nigh ; 

Nor kneel at the altar to wrestle in prayer 

For mourners that quake on the brink of despair. 

These labors are over— he rests from them now, 

With a harp in. his hand, and a crown on his brow. 

He refits from his labors— his stru^les to keep 
From the snares of the tempter the wandering sheep. 
His counsel and warnings— too often in vain — 



My tirst is tall, with queenly air. 
And glossy curls of raven hair, 
A brow where genius' crown is set. 
And brilliant eyes as black as jet. 
She is— let this a secret be— 
The fairest fair one of the three 1 

My number two has eyes of blue. 
Peach checks, and hair of golden hue, 
And ways as wild as the spotted fawn 
Which skips and plays on the grassy lawn. 
She is— but this 'twixt you and me— 
The loveliest love-lass of the three ! 

My number three is a little sprite— 
A flower .iust opening to the light — 
Whose sunny smile and artless ways. 
Have won my heart— inspired my lays. 
She is— pray keep this dark for me— 
The sweetest sweetheart of the three ! 



Backwoods Poems. 59 


He Kissed Me and Called Me Darling. 


Lines. 


80N(i. 
Dear John was at our house last night, 


In memory of mv sister, Mrs. Mautha M. Snow, who 
died August 21st, 18,W. 


And there till moonset lingered ; 


Thou art gone from us, sister. 


He gazed into my azure eyes, 


To the dark silent tomb, 


' And my golden ringlets Angered. 


And lett thy dear homestead 


I don't know how it came about— 


In sadness and gloom. 


My brain so wild was whirling — 


Thy little ones listen 


But at last he put His lips to mine, 


For thy footsteps in vain, '. 


And kissed me and called me "darling!" 


And the love-tones which never * 


Chorus— Re kissed me and called me darling ! 


Shall soothe them again. 


Oh ! he kissed me and called me darling ! 


• 


He pressed his warm red lips to mine, 


Thou art gone from us, sister ; 


And kissed me and called me darling ! 


Thou hast found the bright shore. 




Where saints dwell forever, 


I know not when the moon went down. 

Nor when dear John departed; 
My cheeks were wet with tears of joy, 
; I felt so happy-hearted. 


And sorrow no more : 

Where in anthems of rapture ' 

Their voices they raise, 

And strike the bright haTi>-8trings 


The fountains of my spiiit's bliss 


In Jesus' praise. 


Were by his kiss up-broken; 
As flowers the dew, my soul drank in 
The word which he had spoken. 
He kissed me, &c. 


Thou art gone from us, sister ; [ 
Wc shall miss thee through life— 
The sister, the daughter, ' 
The mother, the wife. 


I fear I love dear John too well— 


We shall long for thy presence, 
But always in vain ; 
For we never— oh ! never — 
Shall meet thee again. 


My thoughts are all about him— 
What if he's playing false with me— 
But no, I cannot doubt him. 


^' For he kissed me, and the kissing caused 
His tongue to break its fetter. 
And whisper "darling"— what word could tell 
A lover's secret better. 
He kissed me, &c. 


Thuu art gone from us, sister ; , 
Thou art lost to our sight, ' 
lint by faith we behold thee ; 
In realms of delight. j 
Through the merits of Jesus, [ 




By the grace of our God, ; 




We may meet thee, dear sister, j 
In that blissful abode. j 




The Lily and the Rose. 


' 


Will and his Kate sat in a shady nook. 




Viewing their faces in the quiet brook. 


"Put not Your Trust in Princes." 


Kate's cheeks were pale, and very, very fair ; 




Will pointed to them in the water clear, 


Inscribed to " Young Italy." 


And vowed they were lilies growing there. 


Put not your trust in Princes ; their embrace is death; 


Sweet Katy sighed— as little maidens would ; 
Will kissed her lips— as tender lover should : 
Kate blushed, of course, as everybody knows: 
Cried Will, (she should have cracked the fellow's pate,) 
" See ! see !— I am a wizzard, dearest Kate, 
For I have changed my lily to a rose!" 


Their smile more fatal than the Simoon's breath. 
They'll stab you to the heart, while they caress. 
And, Judiis-likc, betray you with a kiss. 
Think of the wooden horse in days of old. 
Which brought the Greeks into the Trojan hold. 
Drive from your council-boards the royal spies 



60 



Baehwoods Poems. 



"Who seek your confidence with flattering lies ; 

And promise help to break your tyrant's chain, 

That they may guide you with a silken rein 

To barren victory, and mar your plan 

To wrest irom despot clutch the rights of man. 

Trust in your own stout arms, and in the might 

Of Him who gives the victory to the right; 

And learn this truth— a truth all men should know— 

" Who would be fbee, themselves must strike 

THE BLOW !" 



Loved Ones Gone. 

The day has vanished in the West, 

The twilight shades appear ; 

And angels light the twinkling lamps 

In Heaven's chandelier. 

T)ie birds have hushed their gladsome songs. 

And to their perches flown ; 

No sound of human voice is near— 

I sit and muse alone. 

And yet not all alone, for now 

Fond mem'ry brings again 

The time, ere Death had broke one link 

In our dear family chain. 

I see them all around me here— 

The loved ones gone before, 

Wliose wearied feet have stemm'd the flood. 

And pressed the radiant shore. 

My aged grandsire rests his chin 

Upon his polished cane ; 

Repeats the oft-told tale, and " tights 

His battles o'er again." 

The frosts of ninety winters lay 

Upon his silken hair. 

When Death, the mighty conqueror, came 

And snatched him from our care. 

My cripple brother— first to die. 
And best beloved of all— 
With Bible closed upon his knee. 
Is leaning 'gainst the wall. 
He sings the song he always sung 
When tSuaday night drew nigh— 
" And let this feeble body fail. 
And let it faint and die." 

My aunt sits near him— she whose hands. 

When fever riicked my brain, 

Wei'c press'd upon my throbbing brow. 



To ease the raging pain. 
How full of joy her beaming smile ! 
How soft her mild blue eye ! — 
Ah ! there was sorrow in our house 
When she was called to die. 

The eldest of my sisters three 
Has just closed up her book, 
And listens to my grandsire's tale. 
With mild and thoughtful look. 
In spirit mild, she meekly bore 
The cares and ills of life ; 
Fulfilling well her duties as 
A daughter— mother— wife. 

There, in the old brown rocking-chair, 
With roses in her hand. 
Is sitting mother's best beloved. 
The youngest of our band. 
I hear the music of her laugh, 
Like the rippling streamlet's flow ; 
And see the face with smiles lit up. 
As I saw it long ago. 

They all are here- they all are ncre— 

The loved ones gone before; 

And though their spirits long have dwelt 

On the tran.s-Jordanic shore. 

And earth hath hid their dear-loved forms 

Forever from our siglit. 

Yet Love hath kept, on mem'ry's page. 

Each image clear and bright. 



Write to me soon, Love. 

SONO. 

Write to me soon, love, O write to me soon ; 
For I am waiting for tidings from you. 
As the pale roses which wither in June, 
Wait for the fall of tne twilight's fresh dew. 

Write to me soon, love ; I'm longing to see 
Lines that your sweet little fingers have penned - 
Lines that shall bear the warm greeting to me 
Heart to twin heart always loveth to send. 

Write to me soon, love ; my spirit is sad. 
Far from my homo and those that I love ; 
Write to me soon, and my spirit made glad, 
Ever shall bless thee, wherever I rove. 



r 




Backwoods Poems. 61 


Melancholy. 


Tips with gold the mountains blv^e, 




Think of one, who, far away, 


My life is growing weary, 


Ne'er has ceased to think of you J 


Time moves on leaden wings, 




_ The morning's rosy sunlight 


Do you miss me, Lily dear. 


No gladness with it brings. 


Now that Spring has come again ? 




Do you sometimes wish me near— 


The dreams which fired my spirit 


Weep to find your wish in vain ? 


Have vanished all away ; 


Scent of pinks that drip with dew, 


To-morrow has no beacon 


Song of bird, and hum of bee. 


To cheer me on to-day. 


Always make me think of you— 




Do they make you think of me ! 


My life is like a desert, 




With no oasis green, 


Have the morning-glories fair 


Nor streams, nor hills, nor valleys. 


Oped their tender eyes of blue 


T' diversity the scene. 


O'er the little window, where 




Oft I caught a glimpse of you ? 


My harp hangs on the willow, 


And our rose-bush, Lily love, ( 


I strike its strings in vain ; 


Tell me, is it blooming now, 


For now there is no music 


As it bloomed 'the eve I wove 


In its dull and dirge-like strain. 


Garlands for yoiu' snowy brow ? 


■ 


Vainly now the bright-eyed Spring 
Robes in white the hawthorn tree ; 




An Acrostical Valentine. 


Vainly now the zephyrs bring 
Perfumes from the wood to me. 


Inscribed to Miss **** 4- ****• 


For my thoughts keep wandering still 




Back toward the rising sun. 


In the sanctuary of my heart. 


To the cottage on the hill. 


Locked up from the vulgar pryifig gaze 


Where yoiu* home is, dearest one. 


Of the world, a picture is enshrined 




Very, very fair to look upon. 


Think of me, then Lily Rose, 


; Earth contains no other lialf so fair ; 


In the morning's rosy dawn ; 


' Yet does she— the sweet original 


At the stilly evening's close. 


Of this lovely picture— always seem 


When the dews fall ou the lawn. 


Unaware of all her countless charms. 


When the full moon bathes in light 




Hill and stream, and shrub and tree. 


Draw aside the curtain of my heart- 


Look out on the lovely night. 


Enter thou its secret deep recess— 


Lily Rose, and think of me. 


And behold the image bright of her 




Round whom all my fond affections twine. 




E'en as in a polished looking-glass. 




Shalt thou see, upon affection's shrine. 




Thy own image— dear as life to me ! 






The Rosebud and the Thorn. 

One morning bright in early May, 




Lily Rose. 


When dews were on the lea. 


My sweetheart— pretty little minx— 


Tell me, darling Lily Rose, 


A rosebud sent to mc. 


Do you sometimes think of me, 


In sooth, it was as fair a bud 


When the twilight shadows close 


As e'er my eyes had seen ; 


Round your home in Tennessee I 


I vowed 'twas like the giver's lips— 


Do you, when the sunset ray 


For I was young and green. 



62 



Backwoods Poems. 



I pressed the treasure to my lips, 

And in a transport cried : 

"Thus would I kiss that rosy mouth, 

If she were by my side !" 

But a thorn was hid beneath the leaves, 

And pricked my finger sore ; 

Which made me swear mth. pain, and drop 

My love-gift on the floor. 

I put my rosebud in a case. 
Where I kept such treasures rare — 
Embroidered book-marks, billet-doux, 
And bits of braided liair. 



And years have passed ; the blue-eyed girl 

I once esteemed divine. 

Has been full twenty years a wife — 

But — thank my stars— noZ mine ! 

The rose has faded from her cheek ; 

Her smile has passed away ; 

But her temper, like Damascus blade. 

Grows sharper every day. 

I oped my case to-night to get 

(Such things afford me pleasure) 

A billet-doux to light my pipe, 

And spied my boyish treasure. 

The bud I kissed had turned to dust. 

The leaves were dead and dry ; 

But the thorn was still as keen and bright 

As a serpent's glittering eye. 



My Love-Lass is a Wee-Bit Thing. 

SONG. 

My love-lass is a wee-bit thing. 

With eyes of bonnie blue, 

And saucy smiling lips, just like 

Two rosebuds wet with dew. 

Her locks are bright as western clomls 

Tipped by the sunset beam. 

And on her cheeks the dimples play, 

Like ripples on a stream. 

Chorus — A wee-bit thing— 
A bonnie thing— 

A saucy thing is she, 

As ever broke a lover's heart. 

Or danced upon the lea. 



My love-lass has a graceful form ; 
Her step is brisk and light. 
As that of wild gazelle which climbs 
The craggy mountain height. 
Her voice is low, and soft and sweet, 
As turtle's coo in spring ; 
And like the song of mocking-bird. 
Her merry laugh doth ring. 
A wee-bit thing, &c. 

My love-lass is a cruel elf ; 
She knows I love her well. 
But wo is me ! she will not hear 
The tale I long to tell. 
Whene'er to speak the secret dread 
My trembling lips essay. 
With roguish smile, or ringing laugh. 
She's sure to run away. 
A wee-bit thing, &c. 



Time. 



Thou hast all regions for thy realm, O Time '. 
Nations of every kindred, tongue and clime. 
Submissive bow unto thy sceptre'.s sway. 
And meek obedience to thy mandates pay. 
The haughty Czar upon his jewelled throne, 
Whose empire stretches to the frozen zone, 
Before whose face the millions bow the knee. 
Is but a serf, a poor weak serf, to thee. 
The wandering Arab, Nature's rugged child. 
Whose home is in the eastern deserts wild. 
And who, back to his father Ishmael'a day. 
Has never owned an earthly monarch's sway, 
Is yet thy slave, a slave as weak and base 
As ever crouched to Hindoo king's ukase. 

Thou art a conqueror, imperial Time : 
Thou crushest nations in thy march sublime, 
And leavest scarce a mouldering wreck to tell 
Their glorious past, or how they rose and fell. 

Assyria bound the ancient world in chains ; 
What vestige of her glory now remains ? 
The grass grows green o'er Nineveh's buried walls 
And wild goats feed where stood her spacious lialls 

Old Babylon her bloody conquests spread. 
And shook the East beneath her iron tread ; 
But thou, O Time, didst pull her city down. 
Her throne upset, and rob her of her crown ; 



. . lost from her grasp the sceptre of her sway. 
And sweep almost her very name away. 

Tlie Persian kingdom yet retains a place 
T pon the map of earth ; but scarce a trace 
lier primeval splendor now is left 
ill how great slie was. Thou hast bereft 
I of her warlike race ; the hosts she led 
. ietory ; the mighty fleets which spread 
L iic terror of her name on every sea, 
Till forced to yield, at last, to Greece and thee. 

Enypt, where Science drew her earliest breath, 

riicni'st left, O Time ! unto a living death. 

Vt 11 thou hast robbed her of her wealth, her power, 

Ilir martial strength, and left her fot a dower, 

Tlie broken ruins of her temples grand, 

And massive pyramids, which tow'ring stand, 

As if in mock'ry of the pigmy race 

Who dwell in fllth and rags around their base. 

When, crushed by thee, these tottered to their fall, 

Then Greece arose, superior to them all. 

Mighty in arms, but mightier far in mind, 

Her sons became the masters of mankind. 

To her, from all the world, as to a mart. 

Men came for stores of science, law and art. 

What though on many a bloody battle-field 

Her hosts to foreign foes were forced to yield '. 

The victor was victorious but in name, 

Who conquered Greece himself a Greek became. 

She fell at last ; thou, like a bold corsair. 

Didst seek her shores, in quest of treasures rare ; 

Pull down her cities, spoil her temples grand, 

Her fields lay waste, and desolate the land ; 

Bear the pi'oud triumphs of her art, the lore 

Of all her sages, to a distant shore. 

And hide them there in convent walls, till light 

Began to break through Europe's mental night. 

'Throned on her seven hills by Tiber's tide, 
Rome, (iueen of Nations, sat in haughty pride ; 
Sent her bold legions forth to bloody war, 
And hitched the world to her triumphal car. 
But thou didst work her fall. Behold lier now ! 
She wears no crown upon her wrinkled brow; 
She bears no sceptre in her palsied hand. 
To shake, as erst, the ocean and the land. 
A ragged beggar crouching by the road. 
She begs for pennies "in the name of God." 

But to destroy is not thy mission, all. 
Triumphant Time I New nations at thy call 
Spring from the mouldering ashes of the past — 



Nations more grand and glorious than the last. 
Upon the flag thou bearest in the fight, 
" Excelsior" is inscribed, in lines of light; 
And onward, upward, still thy course shall be, 
Till th' angel, standing on the land and sea, 
Proclaims, in tones that shake the farthest shore : 
" Eternity has dawned, and Time shall be no more.' 



The Dead Hope. 



Sigh on, O, plaintive summer breeze ! 
Sigh on among the tall dark trees, 
In whispered cadence soft and low. 
As if thou bore the secret wo 
Of hearts that bleed but will not break. 
A funeral anthem, for my sake. 
Play on thy hai^p of many strings ; 
While, like the flapping of the wings 
Of death-birds rushing to their prey, 
I hear the branches as they sway. 
A hope I cherished died last night. 
To-day I'll hide it from my sight 
In the ruins of the castles grand 
Upreared by wizard Fancy's hand. 
But which, before the glittering spires 
Could kiss the sky, by floods, or flres. 
Or whirlwinds tierce, were laid full low. 
Now, moss and creeping ivy glow 
Among the ruins, where I stray, 
Wiien twilight robes the earth in gray, 
To muse alone. I'll lay it here— 
My hope that died ; I'll drop one tear 
Upon the dark and lonely spot. 
Then pray — that it may be forgot. 

II. 

Shine on, O summer sun ! to-day ; 

Not with the bright and cheerful ray 

Which clothes all things in gladsome light, 

And makes the young heart laugh outright ; 

But shine through liazy skies, as now, 

As thou hadst twined around thy brow 

A mourning veil. I cannot bear 

The cheerful light. Let Morning wear 

Her drab, and move with step as slow 

As mourners in their weeds of wo. 

I am in gloom :— the Ught had fled 

Which o'er my path its radiance shed. 

An if/nis fatuus of the brain. 

It lured me on, o'er hill and plain. 



6Ji^ Backwoods Poems. 


Across full many a babbling stream, 


The httle brook which lately wore 


Tlirough valleys fair as a poet's dream, 


A glittering icy chain, 


And then expiring, left me there 


Goes babbling, laughing on its way. 


In gloomy darlcness and despair. 


For Spring has come again. 


III. 


A golden light with glory tips 




All sublunary things, ^^^ 


Hushed be your notes, ye feathered throng ! 


And every breeze that passes by ^^^H 


I would not hear your cheerful song. 


A load of fragiance brings. ^^W 


For it recalls departed days 


Gone are the cold tempestuous nights, ■ 


I'd fain forget. I'd hear no lays 


And dreary days of rain ; ■ 


This stiU sad summer morn from you. 


Old Winter seeks his northern cave, 1 


Except the low and mournful coo 


And Spring has come again. ¥ 


Of widowed dove, or solemn croak 


■ 


Of raven in the leafless oak. 




IV. 

Withhold, ye fi'agrant flowers that freight 




The morning air with fragrance sweet ! 


Mississippi Girls. 


Withhold your perfumes now from me ; 




For with them float up from the lea, 


Come aid my song, ye tuneful Nine, 




And in this glass of ruby wine. 


Old mem'ries which oppress me now. 


Pressed from the fruit of Southern vine. 


Of one, whose fair and queenly brow- 
Sweet vision, down ! thou woo'st in vain ; 


I'll pledge a health this festal night— 


I will not dream that dream again. 


The health of Mississippi girls. 




With rosy cheeks, and glossy curls, 


V. 


Lips ripe and saucy, teeth like pearls. 




And love-lit eyes like diamonds bright. 


The hope is dead, forever lost. 




But metn'ry haunts me like a ghost. 


Upon our flag of azure hue, 


0, for the cool Lethean draught 


" One star alone appears to view," 


Which spirits in Elysium quaffed ! 


To light the pathway of the true. 


I'd drive the past, all, from my mind. 


When o'er the battle-field it waves. 


Nor leave one floSCting rack behind. 


But th' starry eyes of those we love, 




Bright as the orbs which shine above. 




Shall light us on, where'er we rove. 
To victory or bloody graves. 




Spring Has Come. 


We need no bugle, drum, nor fife, 




To call us to the field of strife. 


Inscribed to my little nieces, Apollonia D. Snow and 




L. Newtonia Berrthii.l. 


When those we love far more than life. 




In tender tones, have bid us go : 


A purple mist is on the hills. 


Who does not feel himself the peer 


The sky is clear and blue, 


Of any ancient chevalier 


And from beneath the russet leaves 


That ever shivered lance or spear. 


The grass springs up anew. 


When cheeks like theirs around him glow I 


On budding trees, the bright-plumed birds 




Pour forth their sweet refrain. 


Come, fill your glasses round again ; 


Singing from early morn till night— 


While music pours its dulcet strain. 


The Spring has come again. 


And madly through each throbbing vein 




The warm red current leaps and whirls. 


The red-bud wears its purple dress. 


We'll pledge our own beloved State : 


The dog- wood wears its white ; 


Triumph shall on her banner wait ; 


From the gnarled roots of ancient oaks. 


Freemen alone are tit to mate 


Peep blue-eyed violets bright. 


With Mississippi's lovely girls ! 



Bachwoods Poems. 



65 



The Maid of Pascagoula. 

O come with me, my bark canoe 
Is floating on the waters blue, 
By Pascagoula's shore ; 

pome and cross the sleeping tide. 
And you shall be my dark-eyed bride- 
Mine — mine forevermore. 

We'll steer toward the Southern isles, 
Where bright-eyed spring forever smiles. 

And skies are always blue ; 
Earth's brightest flowers are blooming there. 
But, O, not one is half so fair. 

Nor half so sweet as you. 

Haste— haste with me, your warrior sire, 
With gleaming knife, and eyes of fire. 
Is on your lover's track ; 

1 hear the war-whoops of his band. 

But blood shall stain the snow-white strand, 
Ere they shall take you back ! 



The Hunter. 

O let me leave this noisy town. 
It has no charms for me ; 
And let me go to the Western wild. 
And roam the prairies free. 

There, mounted on my tiery steed, 

I'll chase the bounding deer 

Tlirough the waving grass and bright-hued flowers 

That robe the fading year. 

Or in some deep and tangled wood 
I'll rouse the grizzly bear, 
And with my trusty rifle slay 
The monster in his lair. 

And when the noon-day sun pours down 
His flood of biiming rays, 
I'll hasten to some crystal stream 
O'erhung by shady trees. 

On its mossy banks I'll eat my meal, 
From pois'nous lux'ries free ; 
My drink shall be the limpid stream, 
More sweet than wine to me. 



And when the night comes on, upon 
The grassy turf I'll lie. 
And gaze upon the thousand stars 
That twinkle in the sky. 

There listen to the wolf's loud howl. 
And panther's shriller screams. 
Till balmy sleep has carried me 
To the blissful land of dreams. 



Iiines for an Album. 

Come, write a line ; the world, perhaps, may never 

see thy name 
Inscribed in lines of living light, upon the scroll of 

Fame; 
But there is one to whom that name shall be forever 

dear — 
A treasure laid on friendship's shrine, if thou wilt 

write it here. 

In after years, when time has all our youthful hopes 

erased. 
With sad delight I'll often read the lines thy hand 

has traced : 
Though long and weary year's have flown, and seas 

may roll between. 
Those lines shall wake sweet thoughts of thee, and 

keep thy mem'ry green. 

And shouldst thou lie beneath the sod, how dear 

they'd be to me ! 
In every line, and every word, I'd find a trace of thee. 
Sacred fore'er the page should be whereon thy hand 

had lain. 
And point my thoughts to that bright land where we 

shall meet again. 



Epigrana. 



On a beautiful young lady, remarkable for her vora- 
cious appetite. 



Sweet girl, it fills my soul with gloom, 
To think that lips so sweet as thine 
Should be the gateway to the tomb 
Of herds of beeves, and droves of swine. 



66 



Backwoods Poems. 



Kiss Me. 

Wilt thou not give a kiss- 
One little kiss to me ? 

Had I a thousand, Miss, 
I'd give them all to thee. 

Thou wilt not miss it, sweet, 
When it is plucked and gone ; 

Thy lips with them replete, 
Can surely spare me one. 

Wilt not ? Then I will call 
Thee iiint-heart miser old. 

Hoarding thy kisses all- 
Kisses instead of gold. 

Nay, have I caused a tear ? 

Forgive my rudeness, pray ; 
And hold those ripe lips near, 

I'll kiss their pout away. 

I'll call thee pet names, love. 
Names softer than the coo 

Of widowed turtle-dove- 
Wilt kiss me if I do ? 

Was ever sweetheart so 
Confounded hard to woo I 

Tnou'rt colder than the snow, 
Thou'rt cold, and cruel too. 

The twilight hour is nigh. 
And I must haste away : 

Good bye ! my love, good bye 1— 
Wilt kiss me if I'll stay I 



The Storm. 

Old Dominion. 

Watchman, tell us of the night. 
For our hearts with gi-ief are bowed : 
Breaks no gleam of silver light 
Through the dark and angi-y cloud .' 

Watchnuxn. 
Blacker grows the midnight sky ; 
Lightnings leap, and thunders roll : 
Hist ! the tempest draweth nigh- 
Christ, have mercy on my soul ! 



Old Dominion. 
Search the Northern sky with care. 
Whence the tempest issued forth : 
Are the clouds not breaking there ? 
Watchman, tell us of the North. 

Watchman. 
I have searched the Northern skies. 
Where the wicked storm-flends dwell ; 
From their seething cildron rise 
Clouds as black as smoke from hell. 

Old Dominion. 
Turn you to the East my friend ; 
Can you see no rosy streak .' 
Will the long night never end ? 
Day— O, will it never break ? 

Waichm,an. 
I have looked ; no ray of light 
Streaks the black horizon there ; 
But the angry face of night 
Doth its fiercest aspect wear. 

Old Dominion. 
Raven, cease your dismal croak — 
Cease to tear my bleeding breast ! 
Turn you where the clouds are broke ; 
Watchman, tell us of the Wtst. 

Watcliman. 
Black and full of evils dire, 
Stands the cloud which hides the West ; 
Storm-lights tinge its base with fire. 
Lightnings play upon its crest. 

Old Dominion. 
Watchman, scan the Southern sky : 
Is there not one star in sight ? 
Search with anxious, careful eye — 
Watchman, tell us of the night. 

Watchman. 
Praise the Lord ! there yet is hope ! 
Cease your groans and dry your tears : 
Lo ! the sable cloud doth ope. 
And the clear gray sky appears. 
Wider grows the held of light, 
As the rent clouds backward fly. 
And a starry circle bright 
Silvers all the Southern sky ! 

April 15, 1861. 



I 



Backwoods Poems. 



67 



Song. 

Air—" Twilight Dews." 

hang my harp upon the wall, 
And ask no song of me ; 
There is no music in my heart— 

1 can not sing for thee. 

My cherished hopes, like morning mists. 
Have all dissolved away : 
I've worshipped at an earthly shrine, 
And found my idol clay. 

The drooping mock -bird in its cage 
Cannot be taught to trill 
The gladsome notes it warbled forth 
Upon its native hill. 

Then do not ask a song of me. 
When all my hopes are flown ; 
But hang my harp upon the wall. 
And let me weep alone. 



Go, sleek-faced parson, preach to them 

Of " slavery's galling chain ;" 

Their sympathy for Afiic's sons 

May banish hunger's pain. 

They were your dupes and victims once, 

And they may be again. 

They spurn you now ! they've learned at last 

'Twas all a wicked lie ; 

To all your honied eloquence 

They answer with the cry : 

"The rich man^s board with plenty groans, 

And must our children die f" 

They've all gone mad -those haggard men 

Who flaunt the banner red ; 

Hunger and cold have done their work, 

And reason now is fled. 

Wo, wo to him who gives a stone 

To those who ask for bread ! 



"Blood or Bread." 

Over the city hangs a gloom 

This cold midwinter day ; 

Through ragged clouds the round white sun 

Sheds but a feeble ray ; 

And earth, and sea, and sky present 

A dull and cheerless gray. 

Hushed is the sound of revelry. 
And hum of busy trade ; 
And fashion's votaries no more 
The sidewalk promenade. 
A shadow luvks on every brow, 
And every heart's dismayed. 

But hark ! what distant sound is that 
Which falls upon the ear- 
Fierce as the howl of famished wolves 
In Norway's forests drear. 
When Winter in a snowy shroud 
Has wrapped the dead old year ? 

And see ! far down the broad paved street 
There floats a banner red. 
Borne by a host of rough-clad men. 
Who march with measured tread; 
While from ten thousand throats goes up 
The cry of " BLOOD OR BREAD !" 



Kally Song. 

Hark ! the bugle's loud alarm 

Calls us to the field of gore. 

Freemen rally ! Freemen arm. 

Ere the toe is at our door. 
Let no Northern vandal's tread 
•Soil the sod which rests 
On the hallowed breasts 
Of our great historic dead. 
CAorws— Freemen rally, freemen arm ; 

From the workshop and the farm. 
From the pulpit and the bar, 
Rally for the bloody war. 

By our great ancestral braves. 

Whose strong arms their fetters broke, 
We will be no cringing slaves. 

We will wear no Yankee yoke ! 
Yield the boon our fathers won ? 

Not till we forget 

Yorktown and Chalmette, 
Jackson, Sumter, Washington ! 

Independence ! glorious word ! 

Shout it on the land and sea ; 
Once our fathers' hearts it stirred. 

Now it shall our slogan be. 
Independence ! it shall fire 

Every Southron's heart 

To perform a part 
That shall not disgrace his sire. 



68 Bachwoods 


Poeins. 


Freemen hear your Country's call ; 


I will keep my spirit free. 


Eally for your Country's sake ; 


Birds cannot be caught again, 


There is work enough for all - 


If they once have broke the snare ; 


Blows to give and blows to take. 


Smiles and looks are now in vain, 


Time for wordy war has past 


Maiden with the dark brown hair. 


In the Congress hall ; 




Bayonet and ball 
Must decide the strife at last. 




The Old Soldier. 




The Star Circle Banner. 


Go, .Johnny, grandson, bring the gUn 




I carried in the flght V 


The star-spangled flag to our fathers so dear— 


When Jackson and his backwood's boys 1 


We think of it oft with a sigh and a tear ; 


Put Packenham to flight. 1 


For the vandals who cursed it, have snatched it away, 


I've heard some news to-day which makes 1 


And it floats at the head of their columns to-day. 


My blood with anger boil — ■ 


But we've made us another our flag-stafl: to gi'ace— 


The Yankee thieves have dared to land 1 


We've made us another, and hung in its place ; 


On Mississippi's soil I " 


And it flaunts in the face of Old Abe and his crew— 


But they shall learn— nor shall they soon forget — 


Our star-circle banner— the red, white and blue. 


There's life and pluck in Jackson's soldiers yet. 


The star-circle banner-=-the red, white and blue ! 




Fore'er may it float o'er the brave and tlie true ! 


They know our gallant boys have gone 




To meet them far away, 


How jaunty it floats in the fresh Southern air— 


And think our homes, and wives and babes 


Our star-circle banner, so simple and fair ! 


Will fall an easy prey. 


Not another so lovely is found in the world ; 


They little reck that gray-beards may 


It wins every heart wheresoe'er 'tis unfurled. 


Their youth in age regain : — 


When the heavens are red with the battle's fierce glare. 


Old Sampson felt his strength come back. 


Our soldiers that banner to victory shall bear. 


And Gaza's lords were slain. 


■ As they fought for the old, they will ttght for the new, 


And they shall learn, ere many suns have set. 


The star-circle banner — the red, w liite and blue. 


There's life and pluck in Jackson's soldiers yet. 


The star-circle banner — the red, white and blue ! 




Fore'er may it float o'er the brave and the true ! 


I have not felt for thirty years 




So young and stout as now ; 




The palsy all has left my arm— 




I can not tell you how. 




And though my eyes beheld the light 


Song. 


Ere Washington was dead. 


They^re keen enough to draw a bead 


Inscribed to Miss . 


Upon a Yankee's head. 




The prowling hounds shall learn, when we have met, 


Maiden with the dark brown hair, 


There's life and pluck in Jackson's soldier's yet. 


Smile not, when I gaze on thee ; 




Let thy white brow always wear 


Go, Johnny, grandson, bring my gun. 


Frowns, and only frowns for me. 


And balls and powder too ; 


For I've learned —alas ! too well — 


I'll try a crack or two to see 


Danger lurketh in thy smiles ; 


If flint and sights are true. 


Now I've broke thy magic spell, 


At red Chalmette full ma,ny a foe 


I will shun thy witching wiles. 


She caused to bite the dust ; 




Now Yankee hordes invade our soil. 


Maiden with the soft gray eyes. 


She shall not hang arid rust. 


Cast no tender look on me ; 


But they shall learn, and nevermore forget. 


Hopeless love hath made me wise, 


There's lite and pluck in Jackson's soldiers yet. 



Bachwoods Poems. 



69 



The Bachelor's Petition. 

', Pity t)ie sorrows of a poor old bach, 
Whose wan(;lerin{» stops ha% e sought your door : 
He's tried, but tried in vain, to make a match, 
These ten long weary years and more. 

He's wandered thro' the world's great marriage mart. 
Oft-times misled by Cupid's wiles ; 
And now, to tliaw his poor old frozen heart, 
He seeks the sunlight of your smiles. 

Full many a blasted hope has set its seal 
In seams and wrinkles on his brow : 
If that dear heart can e'er compassion feel, 
O, let it melt to pity now. 

There was a time when he could strut the street 
"With glossy boots and glossier curls — 
Envied by all the beaux he chanced to meet— 
Adored by all the village girls. 

Alas ! he loved to flirt, and would not wed ; 
He coui'ted each fair she in turn. 
Until he found his manhood's bloom had fled. 
No more forever to return. 

In haste he sought his error to retrieve. 
Ere time should touch his locks with snow ; 
Smiles and soft looks from all he did receive. 
But when he pnpiied, they answered no .' 

And now he creeps along the streets, in dread 
Of devilish boys and wicked girls. 
Who crack their jokes upon his poor bald head. 
That long since lost its raven curls. 

Full many a patch his faded breeches need ; 
Buttonless is the shirt he wears ; 
His old black coat, at least, has gone to seed, 
But bears alas ! a crop of tears. 

His lazy laundress forces him to wear 
Dickeys that he would once have spumed ; 
Too mi!d a mannered man to curse or swear, 
Yet oft he wants his stockings darned. 

No smiling mate presides o'er board and bed. 
Sweetens his life and cup of tea, 
Partakes his sorrows and his loaf of bread. 
Nor pulls his ears in sportive glee. 

Pity the sorrows of a poor old bach — 

() do not let him plead in vain ; 

But while his trembling hand is on the latch. 

Just give him leave to call again. 



The Mother's Iiament. 

Bring back my bright-haired darling from the crimson 

battle plain; 
These aching eyes would fain behold his dear-loved 

form again ; 
I'd kiss once more his pale cold lips, and brow so 

bioad and white. 
Before the grave has o'er him closed, and hid him 

from my sight. 

'Twas liard to break the holy ties which bound me 

to my boy ; 
For oh ! he was my youngest bom, my pride, my 

hope, my joy. 
Bu.. when his countrj- called, I felt he was no longer 

mine; 
I plucked my jewel from my breast, and laid it on 

her shrine. 

Ah ! weary were the long, long days when first he 
went away ; 

All through the live long night I could do nought but 
pray— 

Pray to the God who hears the little ravens when they 
cry. 

That He would shield my baby-boy when danger hov- 
ered nigh. 

O, how my heart would leap with joy when tidings 

from him came ; 
How oft I read the lines he wrote, how oft I kissed 

his name ; 
And when I learned that he was sick, it nearly broke 

my heart 
That I was not beside his bed to do a mother's part. 

But not by fell disease my noble boy was doomed to 

die : 
When battle smoke eclipsed the sun, and hid the 

azure sky. 
He fell beneath the stars and bars— the will of God 

be done ! 
Just as the foe's exultant shout proclaimed a vict'ry 

won. 

Bring back— bring back my darling boy, and let his 

grave be made 
Down in the little valley where in childhood's days he 

played ; 
That I may plant bright evergreens upon his narrow 

bed. 
And lay my lifeless body down with his when I am 

dead. 



70 



Backwoods Poems. 



Battle Song of the Riflemen. 

Dedicated to the "Choctaw Rebels." 

The wide-mouthed cannon's booming' sound 

Bends the still air and shakes the ground ; 

Huzza ! the battle draweth nigh, 

And we have sworn to win or die. 

Each rifleman is at his post : 

Thrice welcome now the Yankee host ! 

With rifle true and bowie-k nite 

We'll greet them in the bloody strife. 

Chorus — Huzza! huzza! the hour is at band 

When we can strike for our native land— 
For loved ones round the distant hearth, 
And all our hearts hold dear on earth. 

What though the whizzing leaden sleet 
May lay our comrades at our feet .' 
No rifleman will quake or quail, 
No heart wax faint, no cheek grow pale. 
We'll close our broken ranks, and stand 
A bulwark for our native land— 
A wall of Are no foe can scale. 
And live to tell the bloody tale. 

Fall back .' from hireling Hessians fly I 

No, not while there is left one eye 

To draw a bead upon the foe, 

Or arm to deal a deadly blow. 

We'll stand while Heaven affords us breath ; 

Retreat — defeat — were worse than death ; 

Far better fill a soldier's grave 

Than live and be a Yankee's slave. 

Huzza ! the balls around us fly ; 
Our rifles true shall soon reply ; 
And wo unto the luckless band 
That dare before their volley stand. 
Like praii'ie-grass before the fire. 
Like trees before the tempest's ire, 
The foemen shall be swept away 
Who meet us in the fight to-day. 



We Come! 

We come ! from valley, hill and plain- 
The sons of wealth— the sons of toil— 
To avenge our gallant brothers slain, 
And drive the foemen from our soil. 
From Tennessee to Ponchartrain, 
The flres are burning bright again ; 



From towns and country, shops and farms. 
The Mississippians rush to arms ! 

We come ! we come I we've heard the clash 
Of arms in dear old Tennessee, 
And quicker than the lightning's flash 
It set on tire our spirits free. 
Defeat our hearts no more can tame 
Than oil poured on can quench a flame ; 
We come ! and vengeance swift will wreak 
For Donelson and Fishing Creek ! 

We come ! we come ! the post we ask 
Is where the balls the thickest fly ; 
We crave no light and easy task— 
We come, resolved to win or die. 
Where loudest roars the cannon's peal. 
Where fiercest rings the clash of steel, 
The hardy sons of the Rifle State 
Will viot'ry wrench from the jaws of fate. 



Our Young Nation. 

A song for our Nation— our young Nation free ! 
Let it ring through the valleys and float o'er the sea. 
Till the people who dwell in the isles far away 
Of the Nation shall hear that was bom in a day. 

Chorus— 
Huzza ! for our Nation — our young virgin Nation ! 
Not a blemish nor spot her escutcheon doth bear ; 
Our lives we devote to secure her salvation 
From the chains which the tyrants would force her to 
wear. 

As the young mother loveth the babe at her breast — 
The first with which Heaven her marriage has blest ; 
As the fond husband loveth his newly-made bride. 
So we love our young Nation— our hope and our pride. 

We care not for danger, privation and toil. 
While the foot of a foeman poUuteth her soil ; 
All things will we suffer, all danger we'll brave, 
Our Nation from Yankee dominion to save. 

A cup of cold water — a morsel of bread — 
The sky for a cover— the earth for a bed — 
Let these be our portion— we glory to be 
Counted worthy to suffer— our Country — for thee. 

Then rally around our young Nation, ye brave ! 
And swear that her banner triumphant shall wave, 
While our rivers shall flow to the deep azure sea, 
Or the red stream of life through our veins courses free. 



Backwoods Poems. 



71 



To Arms! 

Freemen of the South, awake ! 
Lo ! the foe is at your door, 
For your bleeding country's sake 
Rally now, or nevermore. 

Will ye still more slumber crave X 
Will ye fold your liands to sleep, 
While your foes, like a mighty wave, 
Down our fertile valley sweep X 

Cast aside all thoughts of self; 
Do not pause to count the cost ; 
Wliat is life or worldly peU, 
If your liberty is lost ! 

Tui-n each sickle to a sword ; 

Of each ijlough-share make a pike ; 

And relying on the Lord, 

For your homes and freedom strike ! 



Nil Desperandum. 

In vain upon our sunny land 

The North her legions pours; 

In vain her gunboats ride our streams. 

Her fleets invest our shores. 

We will not wear her iron yoke. 
We loill not bow the knee ; 
We nail our banner to the mast. 
And swear we will be free ! 

Though one by one, our cities tall 
Before the vandal host, 
We will not yield to weak despair, 
Nor count the battle lost. 

There's light behind the sable cloud 
Which hangs across our sky ; 
When night grows blackest overhead 
The rosy dawn is nigh. 

Our armies may be driven back. 

Our chosen leaders slain ; 

But the blood poured out for freedom's cause 

Shall not be shed in vain. 

Bequeathed from bleeding sire to son 
The holy cause shall be ; 
And the gleaming sword shall find no rest 
Until oua Country's free. 



Forward ! 

Thi'ow spade and shovel in the ditch, 
And lay the pick-axe by ; 
The time is past for digging dirt, 
And FORWARD ! is the cry. 
Spike all the monster iron guns, 
And bury every shell ; 
The ball, the knife, the bayonet. 
Shall do the work full well. 
Chorus— So forward ! boys, my gallant boys. 

To meet the Yankee slaves, 

And "welcome them with bloody hands 

To hospitable graves." 

Fierce as the tempest in its wrath. 
Sweep down upon your foes ; 
And let the quivering lightning be 
No swifter than your blows. 
On — ever on— your brawny arms 
Shall hew you out a way ; 
And wo unto the toeman rash 
Who would your progress stay. 

Strike for the graves of loved ones gone— 
The land that gave you birth— 
Your mothers, sisters, daughters, wives— 
And all you love on earth. 
Use well the gleaming bayonet. 
Nor cease the bloody toil 
While there is left a Yankee foot 
Upon our Southern soil. 



Prayer 

OF THE CHRISTIAN SOLDIER ON THE BAT- 
TLE-FIELD. 

'Mid clang of arms and clash of steel, 
Help me, O righteous God, to feel 
That I am in Thy presence still. 

To me, this hour, Thy grace impart ; 
Help me to do a soldier's part, 
With steady hand and willing heart. 

Let not the fires of hate, to-day, 
Impel this arm of flesh to slay ; 
Vengeance is Thine, Thou wilt repay. 

My duty to my native land, 
Affection for my household band — 
Let these alone direct my hand. 





1 


7^ Backwoods Poems. 1 


And to a fallen, helpless foe 


Defenceless woman's sneer alarms 1 


May I that mercy ever show 


And sets your soul on fire. * 


Which I to all Thy creatures owe. 


Let Jove his sceptre yield to you. 




When the mighty deed is sung ; 


Thou who dost hear with melting eye 


You've done what Ite. could never do— 


The little ravens when they cry. 


You've hampered woman's tongue ! 


Be Thou unto my loved ones nigh. 






Go home, O Picayune the great ! 


The wife at home that weeps for me. 


Go home and play the whale ; 


The smiling babe upon her knee — 


Through all the virtuous Codfish State, 


give them grace to trust in Thee. 


Eehearse the wondrous tale. 




And they whose sires in olden time 


Kind Father, hear my pleading call ; 


Burnt women at the stake. 


And if, by bayonet or ball. 


To recompense the deed sublime. 


Upon the crimson field I fall — 


Of you a god will make ! 


let Thy tender mercy save, 

And bear me o'er death's boist'rous wave. 






And Christ be victor o'er the grave. 


Lines 




To Miss E. K. G. on receiving a beautiful Hydrangea 
Of all who dwell upon the earth- 




Lyric, 


On land or on the sea— \ 




Fair lady, there is scarcely one . 


To Major General B. P. Butxeb, U. S. A. 


Who ever thinks of me. 


Hail ! Massachusetts' cod-flsh Mars ! 




Immortal Picayune ! 


Few are so poor they have no friends 


r 


To share their grief or mirth ; 


Deeds as illustrious as yours. 




I'm sure, deserve a tune. 


But / have trod life's path alone— 


And I have seized my one-stringed lyre 


A stranger on the earth. 


To chaunt those deeds in rhyme, 




That boys may stare, and men admire. 
Throughout all future time. 


What pleasure then the gift affords 
So kindly sent to me ! 




My heart can find no words to tell 


Not where the cannons' deaf 'ning roar 


The thanks it owes to thee. 


Like an earthquake shakes the ground ; 


■ 


Not where lifers sanguine currents pour 


In Eden's garden, I am sure. 




No fairer bloom e'er gi'ew ; 


Through many a gaping wound— 


May flowers as fragrant, kindest friend. 


The laurels grew which you have won. 




The blood, and lire, and smut. 


Thy pathway always strew. 


You glad resigned to Neptune's son— 
The famous Faragut. 






Snug in your quarters, mighty man ! 


Vicksburg. 


The bloody work all done. 




You sent abroad the dread firman 


The thunders of the Northmen's wrath 


That all your laurels won. 


Are all converged on thee. 


You've proved by deed, what sapient men 


Thou Mordecai in Haman's path 


Have oft declared by word ; 


That will not bow the knee ! 


You've proved, Picayune, your pen 




Is mightier' than your sword. 


The rest have fallen ; thou aloae 




Dost guard our river deep, 


Far nobler game than men in arms 


Serenely sitting on thy throne 


Attracts your vengeful ire ; 


Upon the towering steep. 



Backwoods Poems. 



73 



Before thee ride the iron boats 
Which others quaked to see ; 
The red volcanoes in their throats 
No terrors have tor thee. 

For thou art there to offer up 
Thyself on Freedom's shrine— 
Willing to drink the tiery cup, 
And perish, thou, and thine. 

Queen City of the Sunny South, 
Baptized with blood and flame ! 
Thy praises are in eveiy mouth, 
And millions bless thy name. 

Though hell-lit fires of Yankee hate 
Consume each cot and hall, 
Thy streets shall not be desolate. 
Thou shalt not perish all. 

We'll make thy site a holy ground— 
The Mecca of the free ; 
Each ruin charred, each shapeless mound, 
Shall Freedom's temple be. 

And when the loud-mouthed war is dumb. 
And Peace resumes her reign. 
Thy daughters and thy sons shall come 
To build thy walls again. 

More fair and lovely than before. 
Thy buildings shall arise; 
Bright flowers shall bloom at every door 
To glad thy children's eyes. 

And they whose iron missiles beat 
Thy dwellings down to-day. 
Shall moor their vessels at thy feet. 
And there their tribute pay. 



Song. 

I'm thinking of thee, dearest. 
In the stilly winter night, 
When the glist'ning frost is forming 
And stars are t-ft'inkling bright. 
And when my spirit crosses 
To the shady shore of sleep. 
It beai-s thee in its arms, love, 
Across the waters deep. 



I'm thinking of thee, dearest. 
When the rising sun doth wait 
For the rosy-fingered morning 
To ope her pearly gate. 
When, in his flaming chariot. 
He ascends the azure sky, 
I'm thinking of thee still, sweet, 
I'm wishing thou wert nigh. 

I'm thinking of thee, dearest. 

When the west is all aglow 

With the purple, gold, and crimson, 

Of sunset's over flow. 

When twilight shades are stealing 

Over valley, hill, and glen, 

I'm thinking of thee, darling, 

I'm sighing for thee, then. 



Woman's Appeal. 

Air — " Happy Land." 

Go to the battle field ; 

Make no delay : 
Your bosoms are our shield ; 

Haste— haste away. 
Lo ! now the vandal band 
Come with sword and torch in hand ; 
Strke for your native land. 

Strike while ye may. 

Go to the field of strife- 
Go meet the foe ; 

For children, home, and wife 
Strike well each blow. 

How can you linger here, 

When the sound of battle's near f 

By all you hold most dear, 
We bid you go. 

In God's impartial sight 
Our cause is just; 

For gold the Northmen fight- 
Rapine and lust. 

Unsheathe the gleaming blade, 

And let not the work be stayed, 

Till every foe is made 
To bite the dust. 



u 



Baohwoods Poems. 



Lucienne. 

With chin on hands a resting, 

And elbows on my knees, 

I watch the lengthening shadows 

Of the tall old china trees. 

And listen all the evening 

To the whispers of the breeze. 

How has it learned my secret ? 

Pray tell me, if you can ; 

I ne'er so much as breathed it 

Unto a mortal man ; 

And yet it keeps a whispering 

The name of Lucienne. 

Alas ! methought my passion, 
The love of by-gone years, 
Was long since dead and buiied, 
And all its hopes and fears, 
And thronging train of memories. 
Were blotted out by tears. 

It was not dead, though buried 

With the epitaph— m vain; 

And the breeze's constant whisper 

Calls it to lite again, 

As the withered grass reviveth 

When kissed by summer rain. 

And memory — busy memory— 
Recalls the long ago. 
When she to me was dearer 
Than all things else below ; 
While I to her was— nothing — 
Too well, alas ! I know. 

She was a pretty school-girl 
When first my heart she won — 
A dainty little rosebud 
Just opening to the sun — 
Where womanhood and childhood 
Were sweetly blent in one. 

So long had I been living 

In a shadow dark and cold, 

Musing on hopes departed 

Which perished all untold. 

That my brow was growing wrinkled, 

And my heart was growing old. 

The sunlight of her presence 

Gave life a golden hue ; 

The hours once dull and languid 



On rosy pinions flew ; 

And my sad and weary spirit 

Put on its youth anew. 

The very skies looked brighter 

That o'er my homestead hung ; 

The roses by the gateway 

A richer fragrance flung ; 

And the birds among the branches 

A sweeter carol sung. 

Bach day, my heart's young passion 

New strength and ardor gained, 

Fed on the honied kisses 

By idle fancy feigned. 

And tender smiles and glances 

From lips and eyes well trained. 

As we sat one summer evening 
Beneath a spreading oak, 
We learned each other's secret, 
Though not a word was spoke : 
My blissful dream was over, - 
The sweet delusion broke. 

Words cannot tell my anguish, 

My soul's exquisite pain : 

It seemed some fiend of darkness 

Had written on my brain. 

In red-hot, scorching letters. 

The cruel words — in vain. 

I sought again my shadow— 
This shadow dark and drear, 
But horrid grinning demons 
Come ti'ooping round me here, 
And—" Lucienne !" kept whispering 
And shrieking in my ear. 

Time, kind physician, led me 

To Lethe's stilly stream. 

Whose waters made the mem'ries 

Of my hopeless passion seem 

Like the scattered shajjeless fragments 

Of a half-forgotten dream. 

But the fiends have told my secret 
To the tattling zephyr train ; 
And the love long cold and buried 
Has come to life again, 
To crush my heart with anguish. 
And rack my weary brain. 



Bachwoods Poems. 



75 



Song for Price's Boys. 

With knapsack on my shoulders, 
And musket in my hand, 
I go to meet the Yankees, 
To fight tor Dixie's land. 

And to battle I will go. 

And to battls I'll go, 

I'll go, I'll go, I'll go, 

And to battle I will go. 

Farewell, my dear-loved ta:)her, 
And mother ever kind, 
My sisters, and my sweetheart, 
I leave you all behind. 
And to battle, &c. 

I've heard the cries of anguish. 
The screams of children pale. 
The groans of gray-haired fathers. 
And helpless woman's wail, 
And to battle, &c. 

They call on us to shiver 
The tyrant's galling chain. 
And if the Lord is willing. 
They shall not call in vain. 
And to battle, &c. 

Before our dear young Nation 
Shall to the Yankees yield. 
We'll lay our bloody corpses 
Upon the battle field. 
And to battle, &e. 

So cheer up, fellow-soldiers. 
And hasten to the fray. 
We'll storm the den of Satan, 
If " Pap" will lead the way. 
And to battle, &c. 



"To Your Tents, Israel." 

Sons of sires whose life-blood free 
Purchased us our liberty. 
Will ye bend the supple knee ? 

Will ye shrink in pale affright \ 
Basely yield each blood-bought right ? 
Cringe, and lick the bands that smite J 



Will you see your children wear. 
Through long years of black despair, 
Chains your fathers would not bear ? 

Then, while it is called to-day. 
Arm ye for the bloody fray — 
March where duty points the way. 

Oaths and fetters for the slave ! 
But for all the true and brave, 
Independence or the grave ! 



Xiula Bell. 

Nay, tell me not that lady fair. 
With haughty lip and queenly air. 
And jewels in her braided hair, 
Is Lula Bell— my Lula Bell, 
The sweet young girl I loved so well 
Six years ago. 

The lips are false— as false as hell- 
That tell me so. 

My Lula would not pass me by 
AVith curling lip, averted eye. 
Ah ! no, I'm sure she'd rather die 
Than wound my heart ; she was so mild 
And angel-like— the darling child !— 
Six years ago. 

I will not heed a tale so wild — 
'Tis false, I know. 

Slu never marred with jewels bright 

Her dainty taper fingers white ; 

Simplicity was her delight. 

Diamonds and pearls she would not wear- 

Nor gold— except her golden hair. 

'Tis vain to tell 

Me, that yon jeweled lady fair 

Is Lula Bell. 

No, Lula's dead— mj/ Lula Bell ; 
What time she died I cannot tell ; 
But this I know— I know too well : 
The girl I loved has passed away ; 
No where can she be found to-day, 
On land or sea. 

Call it but charge, or what you may. 
She's dead to me ! 



76 Backwoods Poems. 


The Maid of St. Louis. 


The warm red life out-poured. 


> 


There fell the bright-haired Southern boy— 


Among the victims of the massacre near St. Louis, 


My darling Willy Lane — 


in May 1861, was a beautiful g'irl about fourteen years 
old. 


Baptizing with his heart's young blood 


The frozen battle plain. 


Quick close the sightless eyes ; 


Chorus— Willy ! sweet Willy ! 


Wash off each purple gout ; 


Darling Willy Lane ! 


Wrap close the muslin robe 


Your soft blue eyes are dim in death — 


Her snowy breast about, 


We ne'er shall meet again. 


Where the Hessian's ball went in, 




And the warm red life nished out. 


Oh ! he was dearer far to me 




Than all the world beside ; 


Wipe from her ashy lips 


And I had pledged my maiden faith 


The foam that's gathered there ; 


That I would be his bride. 


And from her brow smooth back 


But Willy heard his country call, 


The tangled golden hair; 


And could no longer stay ; 


Fold meekly on her breast 


He pressed good-bye upon my lips 


Her dainty hands so fair. 


And hastened to the fray. 


i Let the mother cease her wail. 


Where battle fires the reddest glowed. 


And check the starting tear ; 


And balls the thickest flew, 


1 It were not well such sound 


My Willy stood with cheek unblanched, 


; Should reach the people's ear — 


To duty ever true. 


A mother weeping o'er 


And there the lead — the cruel lead— 


Her murdered daughter's bier ! 


His tender bosom tore ; 


It might light up a flame 


But oh ! he died a soldier's death— 


In every list'ner's breast, 


His wounds were all before. 


That would in peril place 




The peace with which we're blest— 


0, WUly Lane ! my own sweet love ! 


Such peace as lambs enjoy 


How can I give thee up ! 


i In the bloody vulture's nest ! 


'Twill break my heart, I know it will — 


" 


To drink this bitter cup. 


Let women dig her grave. 


But welcome, Death ! His icy touch 


And bury her by night. 


Shall tree me from my pain ; 


When the moon has hid her face. 


And in a lovelier, better land 


And stars have veiled their light : 


I'll meet my Willy Lane. 


Missouri's fiery sons 


0, Willy ! sweet Willy ! 


; Must not behold the sight : 


Darling Willy Lane ! 


' 


In Heaven's bright and shining courts- 


■ Lest thej should swear an oath 


There— there—we'll meet again. 


Like that which Brutus swore. 




When he held aloft the blade 




Red with Lucretia's gore— 




And scourge the Hessian fiends 




Frum fair Missouri's shore ! 


The Winter of the Heart. 




Old Winter .soon will seek his home 


Willy Lane. 


Beneath the iceberg's glittering dome : 
The ice, the sleet, the piercing blast , 


A BALLAD OF THE WAR. 


The dreary rain, the sky o'ercast, 




From us will shortly pass away : 


Where fiercely rung the clash of steel, 


But oh ! tha winter in my heart 


And loud the cannons roared. 


Will never, nevermore depart ; 


And from rhe breasts of friends and foes 


Its spring is gone— and gone for aye. 



• 




Backwoods Poems. '77 


The wailing trees, whose branches bare 


We have sworn it ! Ye whose revels 


An icy coat of armor wear, 


Desecrate our childhood's home- 


Their deep-green robes will soon resume : 


Sons of Moloch— bloody devils- 


The swelling buds will burst and bloom. 


Tremble, tor your hour has come. 


When kissed by April's gentle rain : 


Fierce-eyed Vengeance now is making 


But hopes of mine, once fondly cherished. 


Bare his brawny, red right arm. 


Which with the leaves in autumn perished. 


And the gleaming blade is shaking 


Will never come to life again. 


That shall drink your life-blood warm. 


Music ^ill float o'er hill and dell— 


We are coming ! fathers, mothers. 


The grazing cattle's tinkling bell ; 


Let the fainting hearts revive ; 


The murmur of the western breeze ; 


Fan the fire the tyrant smothers, 


The song of birds, the hum of bees. 


Keep the glowing spark alive. 


The dusky plowman's loud refrain : 


Ere by Cumberland's blue waters 


But my heart's a lute with broken strings, 


Fades the last wild rose of Spring, 


And naught that spring or autumn brings. 


Tennessee's own bright eyed daughters 


Can call its music forth again. 


Shall our glorious triumph sing. 


Tennessee. 






The Grave in the Wilderness. 


A Sling for the veteran soldiers of the Volunteer State. 






Where, long before the close of day, 


Marching through the gloomy wild-wood. 


The Twilight musters her array 


Or in bivouac on the plain, 


Of shades, to scale the mountain side 


Thoughts of spots we loved in childhood 


The form was laid 


Crowd upon the weary brain. 


Of one who in her girlhood died ; 


As a lost child's heart keeps yearning 


Never a bride. 


For its place on its motherfe knee. 


But alas ! no maid. 


So our thoughts are ever turning 




Back to dear old Tennessee ! 


No weeping-willows drooping wave 


Chorus — Tennessee ! dear Tennessee ! 


Above her narrow lowly grave ; 


Wheresoe'er our lot may be. 


No sculptured marble at her head 


Fondly turn our thoughts to thee— 


Records her name ; 


Tennessee, sweet Tennessee ! 


But the wild rose blooms upon her bed. 




And blushes red 


On the crimson field of battle, 


For the lost one's shame. 


Wading through a sea of gore, 




Loud above the muskets' rattle- 


She was her father's only child ; 


Loud above the cannon's roar, 


As fair and sweet as the flow'rs wild 


We have heard her wails of anguish- 


Which near her vine-clad cottage grew 


Shrieks for help when none was near- 


In early spring ; 


Groans ot fathers doomed to languish 


With eyes like tender violets blue. 


In the prisons dark and drear. 


And hair the hue 




Of the raven's wing. 


And we've sworn — her hardy yeomen — 




By the God who rules above, 


But a serpent came in the guise of love. 


That we'll drive the vandal foAnen 


With a voice as soft as a cooing dove. 


From the dear old State we love : 


And a heart as black as a fiend from hell. 


From the altars where our fathers 


Day after day. 


Knelt in olden time to God, 


Around the maid he wove his spell, 


And the grave-yards where our mothers 


Till she loved and fell— 


Sleep beneath the hallowed sod. 


The spoiler's prey. 





!l 


78 Backwoods Poems. 1 


What need to tell the tale oft told— 


I'll Think of Thee. 


How love dissembled soon grew oold, 




And, lar from home, the ruined one 


I'll think of thee, when morning tints 


Was cast aside. 


Witn rosy hue the eastern sky ; 


Like a broken ring with the ruby gone .' 


When sparkling dews and blushing flowers 


Heart-broke — undone — 


Around in sweet profusion lie. 


She pined and died. 


When all nature is bright 




With the sun's early light. 


Aye, perished by the wayside bare ; 


I'll think of thee. 


With none to hear her dying- prayer. 




Or to cross her frozen hands so fair 


I'll think of thee, when in the west 


On her bosom white : 


The Sun conceals his shining face. 


But the frost wove pearls in her raven hair 


And meek-eyed Eve with blushes glows 


That a queen might wear 


As she receives his last embrace. 


On her bridal night. 


When the twilight creeps on, 




I will wander alone. 


Her grave wats made 'neath a blasted oak, 


And think of tliee. 


Where the black-plumed raven.s come to croak, 




And the mould'ring leaves the thickest he 


I'll think of thee, when the pale-taced moon 


When winter's gone. 


Rides onward in her shining course. 


And none stood near with a moistened eye. 


When zephyrs play, and the whip-poor-will 


Nor breathed a sigh 


Trills in the wood her mournful verse. 


When the work was done. 


With the stars shining bright 




In the canopy of night, 




I'll think of thee. 


Mississippi. 






Thank God ! she is not conquered yet — 




The brave old EiHe State, 


To Arms. 


Tho' many a recreant son has lied 




And left her to her fate. 


To a.tms ! to arms ! our Country calls— 


She well can spare the craven wretch 


Our own bright Southern land ; 


Who safety seeks afar ; 


From lowly cots and spacious halls. 


Who wore the lion's hide in peace, 


T' obey her high command. 


But plays the sheep in war. 


Let fi-eemen rush to arms. 


She is not conquered yet ! Her ilag 


Let him who'd live and die a slave 


Still proudly floats on high ; 


Play truant if he will ; 


From every hill, and vale, and swamp, 


But who would fill a freeman's grave 


Is heard the slogan cry. 


Or live a freeman still, 


Old men and boys have rushed to arms 


Let him now rush to arms. 


Who scorn the vandals' wrath— 




Whose breasts shall be a living wall 


To arms ! our own beloved State, 


Across a conqueror's path. 


By vandals overrun, 




Who wreak on her their direst hate, 


And by the graves of martyred sons 


Oalls on each faithful son 


In bloody conflict slain. 


To rouse and rush to arms. 


We swear our dear old Mother State 




Snail wear no master's chain ! 


Let old men's curses, woman's scorn. 


Ere she is bound, each sunny plain 


And children's hisses fall 


A Marathon snail be. 


On that base wretch of manhood shorn 


And every narrow rugged pass 


Who will not heed the call, 


A red Thermopylae ! 


And straitway rush to arms. 



Backwoods Poems. 



79 



To arms ! to arms ! our brothers — sons- 
Pressed by the Northern host, 

Have called on us to seize our guns. 
And hurry to our post— 
And all must rush to arms. 

Let age forget his hoary hairs 
And deem him young again ; 

The boy foi-get his tender years — 
The invalid his pain, 
And all now rush to arms. 



Forrest's Men. 

Ere the East is lit up by the first streak of day, 
The bugle's shrill sound bids us mount and away, 
With limbs weak and weary, but hearts all aglow, 
And guns ready loaded to encounter the foe. 
For the grass groweth not 'neath the hoofs of the 

steed 
Of the hoiveman who follows where Forrest doth 

lead; 
And no rust's on his blade, save the spot that is left 
When the skull of the foeman in battle is cleft. 

And woe to the Northmen who stand in our path, 
When we rush to the fight like a storm in its wrath ; 
When the voice of our chieftain is urging us on, 
To deeds which shall rival the deeds that we've done. 
For VENGEANCE is Writ on the banner we bear. 
And on the blue steel of the swords that we wear ; 
Aye, vengeance for deeds too atrocious for hell — 
Black deeds that pale history will shudder to tell. 

Homes burned to the ground by the black demon band 
The hounds of the North have let loose in the land : 
Our children cast out without shelter or food ; 
Our fathers in prison, or weltering in blood ; 
Our mothers abused, and our sisters and wives — 
Our lips will not speak it, but myriads of lives 
Of fiends black and white, tor the deeds shall atone. 
Ere the red task of carnage and vengeance is done. 

With hands lifted upward all reeking with gore, 
Let Lincoln and Wade roll their eyes, and deplore 
The fate of the slaves they incited to deeds 
Which Satan himself stands aghast as he reads. 
We laugh at their wailing, their threat'ning we spurn; 
While steel hath an edge, or powder will bum. 
The BLACKS ciiught in arms shall not cumber our 

hands — 
*And woe to the whites in the African bands! 



The Parmer's Song. 

Praise the Lord whose gracious hand 

Sliowers on the thirsty land 

The vivifying rain ; 

Who doth crown the waving field 

With so bountiful a yield, 

Of precious golden grain ! 

While with harrow, plow, and hoe, 
We assist the corn to grow. 
Our grateful songs we raise ; 
And each bloom that doth appear 
On the green enameled ear, 
f'alls forth new songs of praise. 

When, at morn's first rosy glow, 
We with scythe and cradle go. 
To reap the bending wheat ; 
To our Father in the skies 
Songs melodious arise 
From hearts with thanks replete. 

When the harvest time is o'er. 
And on clean-swept garner floor 
We spread the golden store. 
Let us not forget to yield 
Him the fii-st fruits of the field- 
God's stewards are the poor. 



Our Country's Dead, 



Lady. 

Little maid with fragrant fiowei-s 
Gathered in the woodland bowers, 
Hither come, and tell me, pray, 
Where your wandering footsteps stray. 

Ut Little Girl. 

I have gathered violets blue, 
Eoses wet with morning dew- 
Sweetest flowers of every hue — 
And I'm goii\g now to strew 
Them ujion the hallowed graves , 
Of our martyred Southern braves. 
Who have giv'n their life-blood free 
To secure our liberty. 



80 



Bachwoods Poems. 



Lady. 

Little maid with down-cast eyes, 
Blue as April's sunny skies. 
Hither come, and tell me, pray, 
Where your wandering footsteps stray. 

2nd Little Girl. 

I am going forth to weep 
Where the pines their vig^ils keep. 
Day and night, above the bed 
Of our Country's noble dead. 
In th^ir homes, far far away. 
Sisters— mothers— mourn all day; 
But the scalding tears they weep 
Fall not where the loved ones sleep. 
Thither go I every day. 
Ere the dew has passed away, 
And for sister — mother — shed 
Tears upon the soldier's bed. 

Lady. 

Little maid with look of bliss. 

As if angel's tender kiss 

Lingei-ed on your pretty brow — 

Tell me wlxere you're wandering now. 

Zd Little Girl. 

I have been to kneel and pray, 
At the rosy dawn of day. 
By the graves of those who died 
In their manhood's bloom and pride — 
Died to save our Southern land 
From the Vandal Northman's hand. 
" Take us, Father," was my prayer, 
" Take our Nation in Thy care : 
Grant, I pray, that not in vain 
Flowed the life-blood of our slain ; 
Crown the struggles of the brave— 
Bles-s the land they died to save. 



When I am Dead andGoae. 

When I am dead and gone. 
The sun will shine as bright as now. 
The summer skies appear as blue ; 
The dis,;ant mountain's brow, 

Kissed by the the early dawn, 
Will blush as roseate a hue. 



AVTien I am dead and gone. 
The sweet wild flowers will bloom as fair. 
In woods where I was wont to roam : 
And birds with plumes as bright and rare. 

Sing in as sweet a tone 
Among the trees around my home. 

When I am dead and gone, 
The merry laugh will ring as clear 
Among my friends; they'll jest as free; 
And some, the songs I love to hear 

Will sing in careless tone. 
And never give one thought to me. 

When I am dead and gone, 
The maiden that I love so well, 
The arbor-vitae at my head 
Will pluck, some loving swain to tell. 

She lives for him alone, 
And hath forgot the lover dead. 



Pirate's Serenade. 

Come get your tiny slippers. 
And shoe your dainty feet ; 
The silver moon is climbing 
The eastern mountain, sweet. 
And on the hills the whippoorwills 
Their mournful songs repeat. 

My ship has weighed her anchor 
And spread her canvass white. 
And lies upon the water. 
Like a swan prepared for flight : 
And in the cove my boat, my love, 
Floats like a feather light. 

Upon the boat brave sailors 

An anxious vigil keep. 

With lifted oars impatient 

Across the tide to sweep. 

And swiftly bear their mistress fair 

To her home upon tlie deep. 

Then ope your chamber window. 

And do not fear, my sweet, 

Though sways the flexile ladder 

Beneath your little feet : 

My open arms shall catch your charms. 

If you fall into the street. 



Backwoods Poems. 



81 



Tidings from the Battle Field. 

"Fresh tidings from the battle field !" 

A widowed mother stands, 
And lifts the glasses from her eyes 

With trembling withered hands. 
"Fresh tidings from the battle field !" 

" Your only son is slain ; 
He fell with ' -victory' on his lips, 

And a bullet in his brain." 
The stricken mother staggers back, 

And falls upon the floor ; 
And the wailing shriek of a broken heart 

Comes from the cottage door. 

" Fresh tidings from the battle field !" 

The wife her needle plies, 
While in the cradle at her feet 

Her sleeping infant lies. 
" Fresh tidings from the battle field !" 

" Your husband is no more. 
But he died as soldiers love to die~ 

His wounds were all before." 
Her work was dropped—" O God !" she moans. 

And lifts her aching eyes ; 
The orphaned babe in the cradle wakes, 

And joins its mother's cries. 

" Fresh tidings from the battle field !" 

A maid with pensive eye 
Sits musing near the sacred spot 

Where she heard his last good-bye. 
" Fresh tidings from the battle field I" 

" Your lover's cold in death ; 
But he breathed the name of her he loved 

With his expiring breath." 
With hands pressed to her snowy brow. 

She strives her grief to hide : 
She shrinks from h-iendly sympathy— 

A widow ere a bride. 

" Fresh tidings from the battle field !" 

O, what a weight of woe 
Is borne upon their blood-stained wings 

As onward still they go ! 
War ! eldest child of Death and Hell ! 

When shall thy hoiTors cease ? 
When shall the gospel usher in 

The reign of love and peace ? 
Speed, .speed the blissful time, O Lord!— 

The blessed happy years- 
When plough-shares shall be made of swords, 

And pruning-hooks of spears ! 



Sheridan. 

From Shenandoah's valley fair, 
Borne on the chilly midnight air. 
There comes a wail of wild despair- 
Sheridan. 

Women and babea — the old, the lame. 
Are shivering round the smouldering flame, 
And quivering lips pronounce thy name, 
Sheridan. 

In mountain gorge, and fertile plain, 
Charred ruins now alone remain, 
And carcasses of dumb brutes slain— 

Sheridan. 

Destruction o'er that land has. past. 
And left the fields a blackened waste ; 
No food is there for man nor beast — 

Sheridan . 

No black-winged tempest in its ire 
Has caused this wide-spread ruin dire ; 
'Twas thou that sweptst this land with fire, 
Sheridan. 

Thine was the deed, O fiendish man ! 
But the Moloch of the Northern clan 
Conceived the diabolic plan, 

Sheridan. 

He sought a man, on land and sea, 
To execute his black decree. 
And turned his blood-shot eyes on thee, 
Sheridan. 

A proper man ! Aye, e'en if hell 
Should spew up all the fiends that fell. 
None could be found to serve so well- 
Sheridan. 

For unto thee, pale woman's moan— 
The infant's scream— old age's groan- 
Are sweeter than the harp-string's tone, 
Sheridan. 

And burning homes, whose lurid gleam 
Lights uj) blue Shenandoah's stream. 
Are fairer than a poet's dream- 
Sheridan. 

But tremble now, tliine hour is near; 
The widow's wail, the orphan's tear, 
For vengeance cry— and it is here ! 

Sheridan. 



Backwoods Poems. 



The " valley men" are on thy track ; 
They've stood beside their homesteads black, 
And sworn to drive the blood-hounds back, 
Sheridan. 

" Old Jubal's" face is bright once more. 
As he reviews his gallant corps ; 
He's bloody work for them in store — 

Sheridan. 

And Old Virginia's Roderic Dhu — 
Brave Mosby, and his gallant crew, 
Are perched among yon mountains blue, 
Sheridan. 

There they a constant vigil keep, 

And the neighboring plains and valleys sweep 

With piercing eyes that never sleep — 

Sheridan. 

Beware the vengeance of that troop, 
When fi'om their airy height they stoop, 
Swift as gray eagles in their swoop, 

Sheridan. 

The "crow" that flies on pinions fleet. 
Need take no "rations" there to eat; 
For Yankee flesh shall be his meat, 

Sheridan. 



The Vision of Blood. 

I saw a wondrous sight— a Nation drunk ! 

Drunk not with blood of grapes, but blood of men ; 

Aye, drunk with blood of women and of babes ; 

Drunk with the blood of gray-haired, helpless age. 

And they had met — the reeling, drunken ones — 

To hold high revel on a flow'ry mead. 

Where in each flower cup, instead of dew. 

Were blood drops which had fall'n and clotted there. 

The passing zephyr bore not on its wings 

The fragrant breath of blooms, but in its stead. 

The reeking odors of the battle-field — 

The loathsome smell of mouldering human bones. 

And yet in all that countless giddy throng 

One single solemn face eould not be seen; 

But all was mirth and boistrous gayety— 

The joke, the gibe, the jeer, the pert retort, 

Ten thousand ringing laughs at once. 

That shook the ground and drowned the song of birds. 

And there was music : not the martial strain 

Which fires the hearts of men to val'rous deeds. 

Nor such as floats above the bier of death. 



Nor yet the notes which bear the tuntful praise 

Of grateful hearts to Him who rtiles on high ; 

But music pleasing to tlie giddy ear. 

Like that which winged unchaste Salome's feet 

When she before incestuous Herod danced. 

And won the bloody prize — the Baptist's head. • 

And men were there attired in garments rich, 

Which kings might covet for their costliness, 

And decked with glittering jewels, bright as those 1 

The Queen of Sheba to Jerusalem boi-e 1 

For Solomon, Judea's sapient king : ■ 

And in these jewels fair for ruby sets " 

Were drops of human blood congealed. 

Of these they did not think ; their thoughts were on 

The wanton ogling beauties at their side. 

Nor yet did conscience ever whisper them. 

That while in costly linen they were clothed. 

Three hundred thousand corpses, stark and stiff. 

Of brothers slain, did want a winding' sheet. 

And ambling giy-dressed women, too, were there, 

Who might be counted beautiful, but that 

They wanted beauty's crown — chaste modesty. 

And these were robed in dresses thin as web 

Of spider ; low-necked and lascivious ; 

Well fit to lure the wicked fancy on 

T' explore the charms which were but half concealed 

And fan to furious flame the fires of hell 

By devils lit in every gazer's breast. 

.For God was not in all their passing thoughts 

To cast a shadow o'er the mirthful hour ; 

And Hymen's chains, with those of Ham, were broke, 

And Love was dead, and Ltjst, at last, was free ! 

And as I scanned their airy fiowmg robes, 

I found they, too, were stained with human blood; 

And on their brazen brows, and roiinded arms. 

And snowy breasts, 'neath which their hearts should be. 

Were jewels rich and rare— the costly spoils 

By robber hands from helpless owners torn. 

To deck a sister's or a mistress' form, 

Or bring their price in cursed yellow gold. 

These flauntingly they did display in sight 

Of lovers black and white, with many a leer 

And filthy jest ; and mocked the misery 

Of those — their own sex too — on whom grim war 

Had laid his heavy gory hand in wrath ; 

And laughing thanked — not God — but lucky fate, 

That they were far removed from war's alarms ; 

Clothed in soft raiment, and on dainties fed ; 

Permitted to repose on downy beds 

In palaces ; while those they mocked were thrust, 

At midnight's gloomy hour, from burning homes. 

With scarce a garment to exclude the cold, 

No roof to ward the rain and howling blast. 

And scarce a crust their hunger to appease. 



Backwoods Poems. 



And of the millions congregate I saw 

Some whirling through the mazes of the dance— 

Mazourka, Schottische, Waltz, Cachucha — all 

That cunning minds depraved have studied out 

To license dalliance on the ball room floor ; 

Some gambling— eager to secure the pOes 

Of yellow gold and paper green that lay 

Before their greedy eyes —all stained with gore ; 

Some feasting at the marble tables, spread 

With viands fit for dainty epicure — 

Drinking anon, from ghastly human skulls. 

Potations deep of mingled blood and wine. 

Hour after hour, e'en till tlie sun went down. 

The sounds of frantic revelry increased : 

The boist'roijs, ringing lausrh ; the mingled sound 

Of twice ten thousand tuneful instruments ; 

The hoarse discordant Bacchanalian song ; 

The muttered curse ; the tierce blasphemous oath. 

So harsh, so God-defying, that it made 

My very hair with horror stand on end. 

And as I saw all this, and thought upon 

The wasted fields and desolated homes, 

The smouldering towns and fields of bleaching bones, 

Which mark the track of those these sent to war, 

My soul grew sick, and in mine agony 

I cried : How long ! how long ? O Lord, how long ? 

And now, deep Darkness drew his sable veil 
Between the revelers and me. The sound 
Of harp and viol, mingled with the tramp 
Of dancer's feet — the flltliy maudlin song — 
The ringing laugh — the oaths and curses deep- 
Grew faint and fainter, as the night wore on, 
Till all was silent — silent as the grave. 

II. 

But hark ! -What sound is that which shakes the eartli 
Beneath my feet ? — Is it the muttering 
Of sable clouds, surcharged with Heaven's wrath ? 
Again— again— it rends the midnight air : — 
'Tis earth's artillery, not that of Heaven ! 
Yet Heaven, methinks, doth find in it a voice 
To read in thunder tones its sentence dread 
Upon a nation steeped in sin and blood. 
Soon fitful flashes break the darkness deep ; 
The sounds grow nearer, and new quakings seize 
Affrighted earth. And now the sharp report 
Of musketry — the clang and clash of steel — 
The distant hoarse command— the muttered cm-se ; 
The shout of momentary victory — 
The frantic yell of wild despairing rage ; 
The shriek of pain— the agonizing groan of death- 
Are mingled with the cannon's sullen roar. 
I hear a scream —a million screams in one — 



A million piercing screams firom female throats, 

So loud, so sharp, so full of utter wo. 

That, like the charmed adder, I would fain 

Bar up the passage of my tingling ears, 

T' exclude the sound. But see ! a lurid flame 

Shools up athwart the gloomy midnight sky. 

Another and another quick succeed, 

Till Darkness, frightened, plumes his sable wing 

And flies away, and more than noonday light 

Reveals the bloody hoiTors of the awful scene. 

Towns, villages, and cities are on tire. 

Farm-houses, barns, and tasteful country-seats 

Have not escaped. The d\ill red smoke which floats 

Above the factorfes, is not the breath 

Of flames that urge the busy spindles on ; 

And forge and furnace glow with fervent heat, 

Such as, I ween, they never knew before. 

The frantic revelers, like blood-hounds fierce 
That once have chanced to lap the blood of man. 
Have found their tliirst insatiate, and have turned 
Their daggers to each other's guilty breasts. 
To quench the brand of hell within their souls. 
Which, like the leech's mother, crieth, ''give !" 
Brother meets brother in the deadly strife, 
And sons imbrue their hands in blood of sires. 
In grim array and all the panoply of war, 
Some, face to face, stand on the battle-field, 
Where, like volcanoes, wide-mouthed caAnon pour 
Destructive missiles in the serried ranks. 
And minnie bulls fly thick as summer hail, 
Mowing their victims down as fast as falls 
The ripened grain before the keen-edged scythe: 
Some from the tangled brake or deep morass 
Spring, tiger-like, upon their human prey ; 
Some on his very threshold tear the arms 
01 shrieking loved ones from their victim's neck. 
And stain with crimson blood the floor of home. 

Ten thousand bands of robbers, black and white, 
Terambulate the highways and the streets : 
The rough clad, half-starved sons of toil ; 
Street-beggars, gamblers, prostitutes, and thieves ; 
Sleek parsons, fresh from pulpits they deflled— 
Wolves in sheep's clothing— shepherds of the fleece 
Ai\d not the flock ; the sensual sons of Ham, 
Whose liberty is license for all crimes 
That desecrate the very name of man ; 
The filthy scum of Europe and ot Hell, 
Whose intercourse with men of native birth. 
Yet viler still, has only served to set 
The seal on their innate depravity. 
And give to ebon darkness unsurpassed 
A deeper— blacker— more internal.hue. 



84 



Backwoods Poems. 



Of these, some seek the banks, and in hot haste 
Burst the strong vaults and seize the golden spoil. 
Some seek the stately stores with marble fronts. 
Where merchant princes erst displayed their wares 
Before the eyes of Fashion's votaries. 
There filthy beggars clothe themselves in robes 
Which Eastern Kings might well be proud to wear ; 
And wayside strumpets seize on sparkling gems 
Fit to adorn old Egypt's peerless queen. 
Some seek the homes of Fashion and of Wealth, 
To glut their hate, their lust, and avarice there : 
For in the jaundiced eyes of such as tliese 
There is no crime that can compare with wealth. 
Devouring iires pursue the robbery' track, 
Consuming all that rapine leaves behind. 
As from their homes the crackling flames leap up. 
Pale shrieking women rush into the streets- 
Some in their night robes, some with babes 
Clasped wildly to their breasts, while round the doors 
Groups of young children frightened stand, and call — 
But call in vain — their murdered fathers' names. 
Like storm-tossed waves, the clam'rous mobs sweep on. 
Blocking the streets and trampling 'neath their feet. 
As they would trample grass, the corpses warm 
Of bleeding victims, and tha living forms 
Of women, children, babes, and helpless age. 

Now flery horsemen dash along the streets 

With sabres drawn, and charge the moving hosts ; 

Now gaping cannon to the muzzle crammed. 

Pour shell, and shot, and grape, and canister, 

Into their motley ranks, and strew the paves 

With heaps of mangled slain. 'Tis all in vain ; 

Fresh numbers rush to flU the yawning gaps 

From every alley— every den of vice ; 

And to their work of plunder or revenge 

The blood-stained mobs rush wildly, swiftly on. 

Wo to the leaders whose ambition black 
Sowed dragons' teeth in a prolific soil. 
To reap a golden crop of wealth or power ! 
Wo to the wTiters who from teeming press 
Strewed mental poison broadcast o'er the land ! 
Wo to the preachers who from sacred desks 
Preached war and blood, not Christ the crucified ! 
The willing instruments or Heaven's wrath 
Seize on them now, and tear them limb by limb; 
As he who trained his dogs to hunt for mea, 
By those same dogs was mangled and devoured. 

And thus the work of death and ruin sped— 

On battle fields where dire rebellion's hosts 

And power's well trained bands— tho"outs"and " ins" — 

The conflict waged, and scientific skill 

Made war a mighty problem, ranks ot men 



The geometric lines with which 'twas solved ; 
In towns and cities, where the rabble bands, 
Intent on spoil alone, or tierce revenge. 
Like Ishmaelites did turn their hands 'gainst all — 
Murder their tactics — plunder all their skill- 
Till Death was satiate. Ruin weary grown, 
And all the wasted land baptized in blood. 
Black ruins lay where once proud cities stood, 
And tangled briers usurped the fertile fields ; 
The wild beasts howled in whilom haunts of men; 
The air was fetid with the loathsome smell 
Of bloated corpses rotting in the sun ; 
And stupid death birds flapped their lazy wings. 
Gorged with the flesh till they could eat no more. 
And sack-cloth took the place of costly robes ; 
And for the sound of tuneful instruments 
Was heard a wail of wo. Where dancers' feet 
Tripped lightly on the green enameled mead, 
I heard the solemn sound of muflied drums ; 
And for the songs of merry revelers. 
The mournful music of a funeral dirge. 

And as again the sable veil of night 

Closed round the scene, and hid it from my view, 

I heard a voice proclaim : It is enough ; 

i'ut up the blood-stained sword, and stop the mouth 

Of battle's brazen monsters ; let the land— 

The weary stricken land— flud rest again. 

1864. 



The Ragged High Private. 

Come fill to the brim with the pure distillation 
Of Nature's retort deep down in the earth — 
The stuff Adam drank on the happy occasion. 
When he wedded fair Eve on the day of her birth. 
I'll pledge you to-day — not the bright eyes of beauty, 
Though the warmth of their glance sets my heart all 

aglow— 
But the ragged high private who shrinks not from 

duty. 
Who stands by his colors in weal or in woe. 

Chorus— Then till' to the private— the tearless high 

private. 
Who turns not his back on a friend or a foe ; 
The gallant high private, the ragged high 

private, 
Who stands by his colors for weal or for woe. 



Backwoods Poems. 



85 



The ragged high private's no partner sweet-smelling 

For whale-bone and silks in cotillion or reel ; 

He steps to a music more grand and heart-swelling — 

The booming of cannons— the clashing of steel. 

He wears no bright buttons to please the dear crea- 
tures — 

No tinsel embroidery on collar or sleeves ; 

But the hand of his Maker has stamped on his fea- 
tures 

A seal of true manhood that never deceives. 

His old slouchy beaver quite seedy is getting ; 
His rents arc increasing wherever he goes ; 
The socks on his feet are Darac Nature's own knittiiip-, 
And his shoes are both out at the heels and the toes. 
He has no tragi-ant moustache where his index m ly 

trifle, 
But a rough honest beard lika the patriarchs wore : 
And his baud's better suited for handling the ritle 
Than squeezing the fingers of Lady Lenore. 

Perhaps he's not able to jabber French phrases: 
The brogue of the backwoods may cling to his tongue ; 
But his own loved Southland shall ring with his 

praises, 
And the deeds he has done by her poets be sung. 
Let exquisites stare at, and " bomb-proofs" upbraid 

him; 
The ragged high private may laugh them to scorn : 
He can boast that no tailor nor barber has made him— 
He's noble by nature— a gentleman born. 



Red-birds in scarlet, sparrows rigged in brown, 
And " rebel" snow-birds in their coats of gray — 
Each one as blith»» as on a sunny April day. 

The lowering clouds are growing thicker, nigher ; 

Pile high the hickory wood upon the flre, 

And put fat light-wood in— a bounteous store — 

Until the cheeiful flames shall leap and roar. 

" Thank God for flre !" — the sun-browned father cries; 

"Alas! our soldier boy!" the meek-eyed mother sighs. 

Young master rushes in : " It snows !"— he cries— 

And all his soul is in his big blue eyes. 

Traps, birds and snow-halls, wheeling thro' his brain. 

Have made his heart with gladness leap again. 

" It snows!" cries he, and at the magic word, 

Young miss darts out, as swift as liny humming-bird. 

Look out ! Along the bleak deserted street. 
The furious north-wind hurls the tinkling sleet : 
AVhile, here and there, a vagrant flake of snow 
Floats down and down with spiral motion slow. 
Sports with the wind, and whirls around and round. 
And falls, at last, and melts upon the frozen ground. 

Close by the shuck-pen, built of oaken rails. 

With high-arched backs, and ice-tags to their tails. 

The lean and bony cattle stand and low. 

The sheep into the thickest thickets go; 

And in their beds, with grumbling grunt and squeal, 

Tlie sluggish hogs lie dreaming of their evening meal. 



Southern Winter Scene. 

The pattering I'ain has ceased which all the raoi n 
Dripped slow, from cock-crow till the dinner liorn. 
Keen blows the wind from out the misty north. 
From which the dark dun clouds slow issue forth. 
Sharp icicles usurp the place of leaves 
On bending boughs, and gem the dripping mossy c i ves 

The winds grow colder : now they shriek and howl 

Around the house, like wolves that nightly prowl; 

Seek every crack, that they may enter in, 

To chill one's back, or bite one's nose and chin; 

Or shake the frozen branches, till they rattle 

Like burnished knightly armor in an ancient battle. 

Flocks of small birds have gathered near the door, 

As if they'd found a rich nutritious store ; 

Chirping and twittering, still they're fluttering down - 



Now faster come the slanting snow-flakes down. 
And soon the fallen leaves of autumn brown 
Are covered o'er; the sloping roofs are white ; 
The trees wear ermine with their jewels bright ; 
And field, and wood, and hill tops far away, 
Aie like a virgin's garments on her bridal day. 

Dark swarms of black-birds wheel and circle round. 

Light now on cribs and trees, now on the ground ; 

And blacker by the contrast, " chack" away. 

Or sing in concert their mellifluous lay ; 

While flocks of wild ducks seek the stream hard by, 

Where they with noisy "(luack" thoir paddles swiftly 

ply- 
But hark ! I hear, far down the village street, 
A merry sound, where boys and maidens meet, 
To pelt each other with their balls of snow. 
With tresses floating loose, and cheeks aglow, 
The girls forget Dame Fashion's rules precise. 
And, swift as hounds, pursue the tow-head boy that 
' flies. 



86 Backwoods 


Poems. 


Loud shout the boys : old men with locks of gray- 


Around the Southern camp fires oft • 


Have come to Join them in the mimic tray. 


These songs at night are heard ; 


(The young men all are with our cpuntry's brave, 


And as he lists the numbers soft 


Or fill, alas! the soldier's humble grave.) 


The soldier's heart is stirred. 


The girls now charge with well dissembled wrath. 


They've fired the souls of gallant men, 


And wo unto the gray-beards in their onward path. 


.'\.nd urged them to the strife ; 




Oft on their lips they've lingered when 


The twilight's misty shades are gathering slow : 


Fast flowed the crimson life. 


Still, fast and faster falls tlie feathery snow. 


jM 


The fire replenished blazes warm and bright, 


Wlien all is dark, when croakers cry, -JPJW 


As with the best of spices — appetite — 


And patriot hearts grow weak ; T 


The family surround the frugal board. 


When through the clouds which veil the sky 1 


And thanks return to Him who hath their larder 


Men see no rosy streak ; M 


stored. 


Fair daughters sing them to their sires, M 




The mother to her son, ■ 


With snow-flakes glistening 'mongst their glossy 


To light anew the holy fires — 


curls. 


The fires of sixty-one. 


In rush a crowd of romping bright-eyed girls ; 




And song and jest, and tale and merry play. 


We sing them oft — we Southern girls — 


Serve well to while the winter night away ; 


But not for thee nor thine ; 


Till to tlic desk the father draws his chair, 


We may not cast our precious pearls 


Takes down the good old book, and says, " 'Tis time 


Before the heedless swine. 


tor prayer." 


Then ask no more a Southern maid 




To sing a Southern song : 


The servants enter, and with solemn face 


To him who wears a Southern blade 


Each seats himself in his accustomed place. 


The dear-loved strains belong. 


The chapter's slowly read — the old man's eyes are 




dim — 




And all unite to sing the evening hymn. 
Then all kneel down, and in a fervent tone 






The old man lajw his prayer before our Father's 




throne. 


Submission— Never ! 


And now to bed, where 'twixt the blankets w.irm 


What I brothers, shall we cease the strife >. 


"We snugly lie, and listen to the storm 


Lay down our arms and beg for life. 


Which howls without, and hear the snow and sleet 


With shaking limbs and fluttering breath. 


Against the windows of our chamber beat ; 


Like base poltroons afraid of death '. 


Till sleep his sable curtain draws between, 


Never -never ! 


And closes till the morn the Southern Winter 


While God aftords us life and light, 


Scene. 


We'll battle for the truth and right- 




Aye, forever. 




And shall it be they died in vain — 




The dear-loved ones in battle slain .' 




Shall foes insult the patriot's grave, 


The Maiden's Response. 


And rule the land he died to save ! 




Never — never ! 


Ask not a Southern song of me — 


While God affords us life and light. 


Thou art my country's foe; 


We'll battle for the truth and right- 


To sing these sacred songs for thee, 


Aye, forever. 


Were sacrilege I know. 




My lips cannot pronounce a word, 


Our ruined homes shall we forget ? 


My fingers touch a key ; 


And sliall we kiss the liand that's wet 


These songs the patriot's heart have stirred— 


With kindred blood ? The thieving hordes- 


They are not fit for thee. ■*■ 


Shall we be slaves and Ihey our lords ? 



Backwoods Poems. 



87 



Never— never ! 
While God affords us life and light, 
We'll battle for the truth and rig'ht— 
Aye, forever. 



Shall we, our earthly stores to save. 
Shrink from the duties of the brave. 
Or purchase life's poor empty span 
With all the sacred rights of man .' 

Never— never ! 
While God affords us life and light. 
We'll battle for the truth and right- 
Aye, forever. 



Will pause awhile their dirge to swell ; 

And moaning pines will midnight vigils keep 

Above the spot where heroes fell. 

The poet's lyre may never sound their fame, 

Nor History's pen their deeds record ; 

And cravens' tongues may load each hero's name 

With epithets his soul abhorred. 

But there are hearts — thank God ! a chosen few — 

Where still their memory is enshrined ; 

And deeds of men to duty ever true, 

A lasting record there shall find. 



We spurn all slavish thoughts afar ; 
We grasp the gleaming tools of war ; 
We heavenward lift each hand and eye, 
And swear by Him who rules on high — 

Never — never ! 
While God affords us life and light. 
We'll battle for the truth and right- 
Aye, forever. 

The holy cause shall yet be won : 
We'll hand it down from sire to son ; 
And generations yet unborn 
Shall swear the oath that we have sworn- 

Never — never ! 
While God affords us life and light. 
We'll battle for the truth and right- 
Aye, forever. 



The Battle Ground. 

Inscribed to the memory of my Brother, Lieut. AVm. 
H. Berryhill, Co. D. 43d Miss. Reg., who was killed 
at Nashville, Tenn., December 15, 1864. 

In memory of freedom's martyred dead 

No monument we now may raise ; 

No sculptured marble at each soldier's head 

May speak in coming years his praise. 

But Spring, with noiseless step and face all sad. 

Will robe with flowers each grassy mound. 

And star-crowned Night, in mourning garments 

clad, 
Will bathe in tears the holy ground. 

No weeping nation now may come to chant 

The funeral antliem of the brave. 

Nor stricken loved ones seek the lonely haunt 

To weep above the soldier's grave. 

But wild free winds that through the forest sweep. 



$100 Reward 



II 



stolen from me sometime ago — 

No matter when nor where — 
A heart — "shackling" — as Zaek would say- 

And much the worse for wear. 
But still it was an only one, 

A faithful, honest heart. 
That for full thirty years and more 

Had well pefonned its part. 

You'll recognize the thief by this : 

She is so very fair. 
That earth affords no other she 

Who can with her compare. 
And you may know her by her eyes — 

To them I'll safely swear— 
For search the world you cannot find 

Another such a pair ! 

Let all look sharp who would secure 

The promised large reward. 
Which I will pay in greenback notes, 

Or specie bright and hard. 
But heed me well, or else, perhaps. 

You'll find your labor vain : — 
It is the thief and not the heart, 

I'd have brought back again. 

Don't take her to the County Court, 

Where th' wrangling lawyere are : 
To hang her by her pretty thumbs 

Would be too cruel far. 
The Probate Clerk— friend Ira Mc . 

A writ, I'm sure, could write 
Which, with a friendly parson's aid. 

Would set the matter right. 



88 



Backwoods Poems. 



A Song. 

Sing me a song to-night, love : 
A song of bygone years, 
To calm my troubled spirit, 
And melt my heart to teal's. 
For, oh ! my heart is burdened. 
And through my weary brain 
Wild thoughts are ti-ooping madly- 
A dark and endless train. 

Sing me a song to-night, love— 
Some sweet old tender lay 
I used to hear in childhood 
From lips now passed away. 
And touch the keys as gently 
As if a spirit's hand 
Were playing us the music 
They have in spirit-land. 

Sing soft as one that luUetb 
A fretful babe to sleep ; 
I'll be a child again, love— 
'Twill do me good to weep. 
My soul's opjjressed with sorrows 
My lips may never speak ; 
Unseal the crystal fountain, 
Or, oh I my heart will break ! 



Nevermore. 

My soul is sad this morning, love. 
For I have dreamed of thee ;— 

And such a dream as ne'er again 
I pray may come to me. 

Far out upon the ocean deep, 
Two frail light barks did ride ; 

And thou in one, and I in one, 
Were sitting side by side. 

Thy warm soft hand was clasped in mine. 

Just as it used to be ; 
And thou to me wast all the world, 

And I was all to thee. 

And thus, methought, we glided on 

For many a joyous hour ; 
When lo ! our boats were drawn apart 

By some mysterious power. 



'Twas not the wind, 'twas not the waves, 

For all was calm and still : 
Each moved as if within itself 

Were human power and will. 

I called thy name— thou calledst mine ; 

We stretched our hands in vain : 
Still wider did our paths diverge — 

Never to meet again. 

Neveb ! I knew it— felt it in 
My crushed heart's inmost core : 

The very sea-gulls overhead 

Kept shrieking—" nevermore !" 

1 watched thy fast receding form, 

As it dim and dimmer grew ; 
I saw thee raise thy snowy hand 

To wave a last adieu. 

Thy bark grew small and smaller still- - 
A speck on the ocean blue — 

And then two blinding tear-drops ro.?e. 
And hid it from ray view. 

Gray morning called my spirit back 
From Dreamland's mystic shore ; 

But every bi'eeze that sways the trees. 
Still whispers " nevermore." 



The Philanthropic Goose. 

A FABLE FOR THE GREAT WEST. 

Once on a time, a new-tledged goose, 

Fresh from the pasture green, 

Stalked down a pleasant village street 

To see whatcould be seen ; 

And spied before a cottage door — 

What hon-or filled her mind! — 

A poor old fox in an iron cage, 

" Cribbed, cabined and confined"— 

Who turned, to earn his daily bread, 

A wheel that reeled his master's thread. 

Th9 goose, indignant at the sight. 

Bewailed the case full sore ; 

Shedding such tears, while on she stalked. 

As goose ne'er shed before ; 

And swore by Juno, Jove's great queen, 

To right the mighty wrong, 



Backwoods Poems. 


89 


Or pour her blood in crimson streams 


Lines. 




The village streets along ; 






So full of pious wrath was she, 


He never dies in vain 




That men should cage what gods made free. 


Who for his country dies— 
Who on her altar lays his life, 




The Fates smiled on her generous aims ; 


A precious sacrifice. 




She burst the prison door ; 






And the fox forsook his master's wheel, 


The foemen's teet may crush 




To roam the woods once more. 


The flowers on his grave ; 




Alas ! alas ! that I am forced 


And foemen bind with slavery's chain 




Such sequel to record ! 


The land he died to save. 




Alas ! that pure benevolence 






Should meet with such reward ! 


Yet will his life and death 




That very day, the fox turned loose 


In other hearts inspire 




Dined on the philanthropic goose. 


A high resolve to imitate 
What all mankind admire. 

And from that life— that death- 






My Mother-land. 


Posterity will learn 

The srrandeur of obedience. 





My Mother-land ! my Mother-land ! 

Though dust is on thy brow, 
And sack-cloth wraps thy beauteous form, 

I love thee better now, 
Than when, arrayed in robes of power. 

Thou sent'st thy legions forth 
To battle with the hosts that poured 

From out the mighty North. 

My Mother-land ! my Mother-land ! 

The stars that decked thy crown. 
And lustre shed o'er land and sea, 

In gloomy night went down. 
The flag is furled that led thy sons 

To victory or deatli ; 
And at thy feet lies withering 

The victor's laurel wreath. 

My Mother-land ! my Mother-land ! 

Thy bravest and thy best. 
Beneath the sod their life-blood stained. 

In dreamless slumber rest. 
Thrice happy dead ! They cannot hear 

Thy low, sad wail of woe ; 
The taunts thy living sons must bear 

They are not doomed to know. 

My Mother-land ! my Mother-land ! 

Their spirits whisper me. 
And bid me in thy days of grief 

Still closer cling to thee. 
And though the hopes we cherished once 

With them have found a grave, 
I love thee yet, my Mother-land— 

The land they died to save. 



And duty's lesson stern. 

And men, while they recall 
The hero's deeds with pride. 
Will better love their native land - 
The land for which he died. 



The Good Physician. 

A HYMN. 

Physician of the siu-sick so\il \ 

To thee I humbly pray ; 
Bind up my bleeding broken heart, 

And wash my sins away. 

Thy precious blood for sinners shed 
Alone can make me whole ; 

Come, in thy Spirit's power come, 
And heal my fainting soul. 

'i'hou who didst call to life aguin 

The .sleepers cold and still ! 
Speak but the word, and I shall live, 

To do do my Master's will. 

My soul is deaf, Lord, make it hear ; 

Is blind, O, make it see; 
Is lame and dumb. Lord, make it leap, 

.Vnd praises sing to thee. 



90 



Backwoods Poeims. 



Smoke. 

When summer heat begins to fail, 

As autumn draweth near, 

And on the crests of giaut oaks 

The golden leaves appear ; 

Where the vine wliich clambers round the porch 

Shuts out the evening ray, 

I sit me down with lig'hted pipe. 

And puff the hours away. 

With half-closed eyes, I sit aud watch. 

As I lean in my easy chair. 

The curling smoke that floats away. 

And melts in the evening air. 

And mem'ries tondly cherished once. 

That long in tneir graves have lain. 

As Fancy waves her magic wand, 

Come thronging back again. 

Familiar eyes from the azure smoke 

Are looking down at me, 

Which it makes my heart, though old and seared, 

Beat quicker still to see : — 

The eyes of girls that I have loved 

Since first, in boyhood's days, 

Young Cupid tuned my rustic harp, 

And taught me tender lays. 

And some are gray, and some are brown ; 

And some as black as jet; 

And some ai'e softly, sweetly blue 

As the early violet. 

And as I gaze, the old-time loves 

That long have dormant lain, 

In all their vigor spring to lite. 

And thrill my heart again. 

Ah ? me ! full many a wrinkle Time 

Has written on my face ; 

But he still permits the roses' scent 

To cling to the broken vase. 

As shells of the boisterous ocean sing. 

Though far from the surf-beat shore, ' 

So a heart-string touched by the hand of love 

Thrills on forevermore. 

My pipe is out ; the clouds of smoke 

Which drajjed my vision bright. 

Are puffed away by a zephyr stray. 

And vanish from my sight. 

Gone — gone — all gone ! like the glowing hopes 

That cheered my j'outhful hours : — 

How much like imok^ are the joys and hopes 

Of this poor world of ours ! 



Daughters of Southland. 

Daughters of Southland, weep no more 

For Southland's noble slain, 

Who fell in the fight for truth and right, 

And sleep 'neath the battle plain. 

Rather rejoice tliat they lived and died 

In a land that still was free, 

And the grave's deep night hides from their sight 

What we are doomed to see. 

Daughters of Southland, weep no more 

For sons and brothers slain : 

For the. living weep who in anguish deep 

Must wear the conqueror's chain. 

Weep that proud men should cringe like slaves 

As the dark waves o'er us roll ; 

That the love of life, and the fear of strife, 

Should dwarf th' immortal soul. 

Daughters of Southland, weep no more • 

For Southland's martyred dead. 

As ye bring fresh fiowers from svoodland bowers 

To strew their hallowed bed. 

Rejoice ! rejoice ! for a seal is set 

On the record of their fame ; 

Whate'er our fate, no fiendish hate 

Can tarnish one honored name. 

Daughters of Southland, weep no more ; 

Their glory's priceless gem 

Nor peace nor war can ever mar : 

There is no change for them. 

Rejoice ! for tho' the conqueror's hate 

Still beats upon our head. 

Despite our chains there yet remains 

The memory ot our dead. 



Cholera the Conqueror. 

A conqueror from o'er the sea 

Has landed on our shore. 

More dreadful far than those of old 

Who the Roman eagles bore. 

More cruel e'en than Ghengis Khan, 

Or fierce-eyed Tamerlane, 

Whose mad ambition bathed in blood 

Each oriental plain. 



Bachwoods Poems. 



91 



He lands, but not a drum is heard, 

Nor bugle's stirring sound ; 

No cannons belch their lava forth 

And shake the solid gi'ound. 

His pale steed moves with footstep slow, 

And he flaunts no banners gay ; 

But a million graves beyond the sea 

Attest his power to slay. 

He scorns the art of engineers — 

This warrior old and grim ; 

Abbattis, moat, and fortress wall — 

What are such things to him .' 

He goes straight in, e'en where the hosts 

Of Lee might quake to tread, 

And asks no spades, save those employed 

To cover up the dead. 

In crowded towns, and forests wild, 
The conqueror shall wage 
A cruel and relentless war, 
That spares nor sex nor age: 
Till even he wJio loudly boasts— 
While human devils cheer — 
Thai babes and women felt his power. 
Shall find, at last, a peer ! 

The heartless victor now may quaU, 
Who taunts his vanquished foe. 
And daily seeks new bitter draughts 
To till his cup of woe : 
Before the dreadful "scourge of God," 
Shall victor and vanquished fall. 
Till the land is one great sepulchre, 
The sky a funeral pall. 



The Labor Question. 

A SOXG FOR THE TIMES. 

Ot politics and parties, and all that sort of stuff, 
We rebels down in Dixie have read and heard enough; 

Old Thad may go to H Halifax I mean, 

With Stanton in the rear, and Andy J. between ; 

The vexed labor question engages all our wit. 

And quondam mighty statesmen give all their 

thoughts to it; 
At every sort of meeting, the precedence it takes. 
Like the serpent rod of Aaron that swallowed aU the 

snakes. 



Chorus — 
Haul off your jackets, ami roll up your sleeves; 
Thrust in your sickles, and bind the golden sheaves; 
Tickle Mother Earth with the ploughshare and the 

hoe. 
And you'll solve the labor problem the surest way 
I know. 

The niggers have turned dandies — may Beelzebub 
quick take 'em — 

They will not work tor wages, and we have no power 
to make 'em ; 

The briers and the sedge-grass our fields are over- 
running. 

And though we're quite undone, our creditors keep 
dunning. 

We'd like to have an influx of Paddies and Meinherrs, 

To lease our big plantations, or tend them on the 
shares ; 

But the tide of immigration now sets another way. 

And they turn their backs on Dixie-land— coax them 
as we may. 

So haul off your jackets, &c. 

The ladies, too— dear creatures — are very much put 

toit— 
A thousand things to do, and not a wench to do it ; 
As long as dusky Dinahs can live by hook or crook, 
Their pride of 'scent forbids them to wash, or scrub, 

or cook. 
Each help-meet wants a help, and each maiden wants 

a maid ; 
But they'll " take it out in wanting," I'm very much 

afraid : 
The Bridgets are non est, in spite of all their pains, 
And the queslio vexala —vexata still remains. , 

Cliorus — 
So haul off yonr waterfalls— swing the pots about ; 
There is no way .to help it, and there's no use to 

pout; 
Rub the duds in the suds till they're whiter than 

the snow, 
And you'll solve the labor question the surest way 

I know. 



A Hymn, 

To Thee, O God '. to Thee we bring 

Our ott'ci'ing of praise. 
And join the angel choirs above 

To sing thy wondrous grace. 



9^ 



Backwoods Poems. 



Light, from the dark and deep abyss, 

Sprung up at Thy command ; 
And earth, and sun, and moon, and stars, 

Were fashioned by Thy hand. 

Thou keep'st the planets in their place ; 

Thou mak st the sun to shine ; 
The starry worlds, bright holds of light, 

Great God of Hosts, are Thine. 

Yet hast thou deigned to visit us — 

Poor creeping worms of clay ; 
Thy Son has shed His precious blood 

To wash our sins away. 

And Thou hast sent Thy Spirit down, 

To draw our hearts to Thee, 
To break the chain that Satan forged, 

And make our spirits free. 

Then unto Thee, O God of love ! 

Our songs of praise shall rise ; 
Shall till the earth with melody, 

And pierce the staiTy skies. 



October Weather. 

In this bright October weather, 
When the leaves come rustling down. 
And the gi-ass upon the heather 
In the breeze waves sere and brown, 
Ula, I am wondering whether 
You are thinking, far away, , 

Of the days we spent together 
When our lives were young and gay. 

Scattered o'er the close-cropped pastures 
Autumn flowers look to the skies- 
Indian pinks, and golden asters. 
Vervains blue as Ula's eyes. 
In the slanting sunbeams mellow, 
Glorious now the woods appear. 
Where the scarlet leaves and yellow 
Robe the fading dying year. 

Ah ! this sad October weather, 

Floating clouds, and hazy skies. 

Moaning winds, and dry brown heather. 

With my spirit harmonize. 

Falling' leaves — they are the slighted 

Hopes, of being once a part ; 

And the cruel frost that blighted — 

It is Ula— cold of heart ! 



Iiines. 

Inscribed to the memory of my little niece, Emma Flor- 
ence Bebryhill, who died Sept. 24, 1866. 



The gloomy days of rain are o'er. 
The clouds have rolled away ; 
All nature sweetly smiles to greet 
The golden Sabbath day ;— 
But there's a shadow on my heart 
Will never, never more depart. 

The fleecy clouds in the azure dome 
Like white-winged spirits glide ; 
I watch them, as I used to watch 
When tJwu wast by my side : — 
But silvery cloud and azure sky 
No more can greet thy soft blue eye. 

The mocking-birds are caroling 

In their leafy cool retreat ; 

The wild bees come with drowsy hum. 

Laden with many a sweet : — 

But song of bird and hum of bee 

Can never more be heard by thee. 

Syringas — roses— golden flags- 
Are bursting into bloom ; 
The pui'ple flowers of the clematis 
Send forth a sweet perfume ; — 
But thou hast crossed death's shadowy sea- 
There's none to cull sweet flowers for me. 



Lines on the Death of a Lady. 

No more the mother's low sweet voice shall soothe 

The sorrows of the household band ; 

No more she'll make the pillows soft and smooth 

'Neath little heads, with careful hand : 

No more, sweet words of counsel spoke in love. 

The husband hears from the faithful wife — 

Precious as manna dropping from above 

Upon the wilderness of life. 

No more the daughter's cheerful smiling face 
Shall light her parents' waning years ; 
With aching hearts they view her vacant place. 
And grief unseals the fount of tears. 
No more the sister's hand shall wipe away 
The moisture from the aching brow ; 
From the family chain a link is gone for aye- 
She's sister to the angels now. 



Backwoods Poems. 



98 



The grave— the cruel grave— has hid from sight 

The neighbor kind, the faithful friend ; 

But deeds of love in which she found delight, 

Shall ftagrance to her mem'ry lend. 

For, as there lingers still a sweet perfume 

When roses droop, and fade, and fall. 

So kindly words and deeds survive the tomb— 

The good can never perish all. 



The Spectral Army. 

The deep-toned clock strikes twelve ; 
The winds are lulled to rest ; 
And the cuspate moon, loug past her noon. 
Sinks slowly m the west. 

Like serpents on the ground 
The length'ning shadows creep : 
Each shrub assumes a phantom form 
To eyes that can not sleep ; 

That can not sleep to-night 
For the spirit's wild unrest— 
The grief for stricken mother-land 
Which weighs upon lUy breast ; 

Which weighs more heavy now. 
While all is still around, 
And the mind turns inward on itself. 
Unswayed by sight or sound. 

But hark ! upon the hills 

A rustling sound is heai-d. 

Like the noise of trees, when by the breeze 

The frost-browned leaves are stirred. 

And now a bugle-blast 
And a muffled di-um I hear ; 
And soon, dark moving lines of men 
Upon the hills appear. 

Fi'om every battle-tield, 

In solemn long array. 

At the tap of the drum, they come— they come- 

The men that wore the gray ! 

The men that wore the gray- 
That died our land to save— 
Have heard the clanking of our chains, 
And come from the silent grave. 



The flag they loved so well 

Above them floats once more ; 

And the starry cross shines bright again 

As it shone in days of yore. 

O, how my spirit yearns. 
As many a once-loved face 
Looks on me from the spectral lines 
That move with measured pace ! 

My brother, brave and kind. 

And ever to duty true, 

One moment halts, and lifts his hand 

To wave a last adieu. 

On— on— still on they come. 
Like the flow of a mighty stream ; 
And burnished guns and bayonets 
In the silvery moonlight gleam. 

The prancing steeds move by ; 
The cannon's lumbering car ; 
Caisson, and ambulance, and all 
The appurtenants of war. 

Here Stonewall Jackson rides. 

In the quaint old garb he wore. 

When he hurled his ranks against the foe 

On Shenandoah's shore. 

And Sidney Johnston there 
His gleaming sabre draws — 
The noblest man that ever died 
For freedom's holy cause. 

On a snowy steed I see. 

Robed in a sable gown, 

The martyr Polk— ble.^t man of God — 

Wearing a starry crown. 

Here ZoUicoffer mova", 

Calm as a summer morn ; 

And Patrick Cleburne— bravest son 

Of the isle where he was bom. 

The christian warrior, Hill, 
And Bee, together ride ; 
Stuart, "Virginia's chevalier. 
And Ashby by his side. 

Garuett and Hanson now 

Upon the scene appear ; 

And Barksdale waves his sword, and smiles 

As if the foe were near. 





1 


94 Baehwoods Poems. \ 


McCuUoch rushes by, 


From silver lamps the rosy light 


And Mcintosh, the brave ; 


Fell on the rich-dressed throng, 


And Hattou leads the long brigade 


As round the marble table passed 


That with him found a grave. 


The ribald jest and song, 




And with the loud and merry laugh 


John Morgan comes— let foes, 


The vaulted ceiling rung 


Fear-stricken, hold their breath ; 




And Adams spurs the steed which leaped 


What recked they of the sons of toil, 


Into the jaws of death. 


To hopeless slavery sold. 




That they might dwell in princely homes. 


The long, long spectral lines 


And count their bags of gold '. 


At last have all passed by. 


Of mothers pale and pinch-faced babes. 


And the moon has dipped one silver horn 


That shivered in the cold .' 


Beneath the western sky. 






What though the sparkling wine was red 


The shadows of the trees 


With blood of brothers slain. 


Have mingled on the ground ; 


And every dainty dish had cost 


And faint and fainter on the hills 


A day of toil and pain ? 


Now grows the rustling sound. 


The band struck up a merry air. 




And the song burst forth again. 


The roll of the muffled drum 




In the distance dies away, 


" Fill up ! fill up ! —our fields are broad- 


And the veil of night conceals from sight 


Broad as the continent— 


The men that wore the gray. 


And flUed with serfs, who toil and sweat 




To pay our six per cent : 


0, gallant men in gray ! 


Whose flesh and blood were pawned to us 


Our country's hope and pride ! 


For the yellow gold we lent. 


Time can not mar the laurels green 




"Which crowned ye when ye died ! 


Fill up ! till up !— We'll drink to-night 




To the memory of the braves 


The cause for which ye bled. 


Who tell beneath the starry flag, 


Shall rise from the dust again ; 


And sleep in unknown graves— 


The God is just in whom we trust— 


Who died to set the negroes free, 


Ye have not died in vain. 


And make tlieir children slaves." 




Then shook the walls with loud huzzas. 




And music's louder swell. 




And laughter— such as that which rung 




Through the corridors of hell. 




When man— God's last and noblest work— 


The Bondholders' Feast. 


From his primal glory fell. 


" Fill up ! fill up ! and cursed be he 


But while the sound of festive mirth 


Who talks of sleep to-night ! 


Was loudest in the hall. 


We'll quaff the wine from vine-clad Rhine 


There came a spectral brawny hand. 


And old Madeira bright, 


And wrote upon the wall — 


Till stars have paled and dappled morn 


With a dagger-pen, and blood for ink- 


Reveals her amber light. 


Wrote on the frescoed wall. 


" Fill up ! fill up !— let toil-worn slaves 


No need was there for ancient seer 


Into their kennels creep. 


To read the word it wrote ; 


And with their brats and pale-faced wives 


Each reveller grew pale with fear. 


Spend night in sluggish sleep ; 


And his knees together smote, 


The men who dwell in marble halls 


And the ruby wine from vine-clad Rhine 


Will high old revel keep." 


Stopped half-way in his throat ! 



Backwoods Poems. 



95 



And silence reigned in the festive hall, 
Like the silence ot the dead, 

And the flickering lamps, as if afraid, 
A pallid radiance shed. 

As the cravens gazed with stony stare 
Upon that writing dread. 



The Boquet. 

The fair boquet you sent me 

Recalls the happy hours, 
When I, a boy, was roaming 

In the shady woodland bowers ; 
"Wlien love was all my dream — 

My muse's constant theme, 
And brain and hands were busy to tell my 
love with flowei's. 

Ah ! this delightful fragrance 

Is a talismanic key 
To unlock the golden casket, 

And set old memories free — 
Dear memories of the past — 

Of joys too sweet to last — 
Ot girls that bloomed in beauty, but did not 
bloom tor me. 

How like the hopes then cherished, 

These tiny rosebuds fair, 
Just opening their bosoms 

To the sunlight and the aii' ! 
How like my manhood's prime — 

Its fruit and harvest time— 
This rose «^^hat sheds its petals, and leaves 
the stem all bare ! 



Waiting. 

SONG FROM THE DRAMA - 
PRINCES." 



'THE THREE 



I'm waiting for you, dearest— 
You said you'd come to-day ; 
But now the sun is sinking 
Behind the mountains gray ; 
The twilight shades have gathered 
Down in the valleys deep. 
And slowly up the hill-sides 
Like dusky phantoms creep. 



I'm waiting love, I'm waiting; 

The eagle seeks the nest. 
Where his mate awaits his coming 
Upon the mountain's crest. 
The tinkhng bells come nearer — 
The flocks are homeward bound ; 
And the shadows of the elm -trees 
Have mingled on the ground. 

I'm waiting, darling, waiting ; 
The angel of the night 
Through the azure fields is walking, 
The twinkling lamps to light. 
Above tne eastern hill-tops 
The round moon rises bright. 
And bathes the fields and forests 
In floods of silver light. 

I'm waiting, oh ! I'm waiting : 
The day is past and gone, 
But still beside the gateway 
I'm waiting all alone. 
There's a rustling 'mong the bushes- 
Why beats my heart so fast ? — 
It is the well-known footstep- 
He's come— he's come at last ! 



" Let us have Peace." 

"Wo to them who cry 'peace!' 'peace!' when 
there is no peace !" 

" Let us have peace !" the eagle screams. 

As in his bloody nest 

He tears the flesh of the quivering kid 

For his clam'rous young one's feast. 

He sees the agile shepherds climb 

The rugged winding path, 

With gleaming rifles in their hands, 

And faces red with wrath. 

" Let us have peace !" I hear the eagle shriek, 

As on his breast he wipes his bloody beak. 

" Let us have peace !" exclaims the wolf, 
Crouched in his bone-paved den. 
With the mangled lamb between his jaws 
He ravished from the pen. 
The hunter's dogs are at the door- 
He hears their angry bark, 
And fiercely glare his eye-balls red, 
Through the cavern dank and dark. 
" Let us have peace !" I hear the black wolf growl. 
As he lii'.ks his bloody chops with angry scowl. • 







96 Backwoods 


Poems. 


" Let us h^ve peace !" the murderer cries, 


Praise the Lord! 


As he lifts his dagger red : 




Prone at his feet, his victim lies, 


A HYMN. 


All pale, and cold, and dead. 




The blood-avenger's on his traok. 


Praise the Lord with shout and song ; ;, 


He hears his footsteps nigh ; 


All ye saints your voices raise ; 


His bloated cheek is blanched with fear. 


Tune your harps, ye angel throng- 


And quails his blood-shot eye. 


Tune them to your Maker's praise. 


" Let us have peace '." I hear the murderer yell. 


Praise is worshijj's sweetest part : jjOH 


In tones that would appal the fiends in hell. 


Though our words are few and weak, tIBB^ 




From the fulness of the heart 


" Let us have pijace !" the pirate says, 


Shall the mouth in numbers speak. 


As slow the plundered wreck 


C/ionts— Hallelujah! praise the Lord! 


Settles beneath the yesty waves. 


Let all earth the chorus swell ! 


With corses on the deck. 


Praise the ever-blessed Word, 


A man-of-war with open ports 


For He doeth all things well. 


Bears down upon him fast ; 




And well he knows the grand old flag 


Praise Him for the wonders wrought 


That flutters at the mast. 


In creation's natal hour ; 


"Let us have peace!" I hear the pirate roar. 


Praise Him for the light He brought 


As from his blade he wipes the clotted gore. 


Out of darkness by His power. 




Stars of morning, at their birth, 




Filled the heavens with their lays ; 




Sun, and moon, and teeming earth, 
Joined in their Creator's praise. 






Praise the Lord for life and health. 


The Dappled Cloud. 


And for all that these sustain — 




Light and warmth— all nature's wealth- 


The dappled cloud with silvery wings 


Cooling breeze— and gentle rain. 


That hid the halt-round moon- 


Praise Him for the field that bends 


How much of bliss I owed to it 


With its precious golden load : 


That eve in sultry June ! 


Food and raiment— country— friends- 


The tempting lips, like berries ripe. 


Call for praises to our God. 


Were smiling close to me, 




And I longed to taste their dainty sweets— 


Praise Him for His gracious plan — 


But prudish eyes would see ! 


Angels hear it told with awe ! — 




To redeem poor fallen man 


The dappled cloud flew overhead, 


From the curses of the law. 


And hid the moon from sight. 


Jesus died— wondrous love !— 


And all around was dark awhile 


Died to save our souls from wo ; 


As black Egyptian night. 


And the Spirit from above 


'Twas but a moment, yet in it 


Came to dwell with man below I 


I lived an age of bliss : 




The fabled cup of Ganymede 




Contained no sweet like this '. 




The dappled cloud flew to the east, 


Lines, 


The moon shone out once more, 


In memory of my father, Samuel, Bebryhill, who 


And on her cheek I saw a blush 


died November 22, 1867, in the 70th year of his age. 


That was not seen before. 




0, dappled cloud with silvery wings. 


1 A year ago, my father, at this hour, 


How much I owe to thee ! — 


As closed the autumn day. 


The brightest, dearest, gieene.^it spot 


Thy spirit summoned by Almighty power 


« In the waste of memory ! 


Forsook its tenement of clay. 



Backwoods Poems. 



97 



Life's toilsome task complete, the hardened hands 
Were folded on the pulseless breast ; 
And the weary spirit found with angel bands 
Refreshment and eternal rest. 

Thou'rt gone, my father, and I'm lonely here 
On life's bleak, tempest-beaten shore : 
Thy converse sweet no more our home can ehoer— 
Thy counsel I can hear no more. 

Yet, O, if in thy radiant home above 
Blest spirits wrestle still in prayer. 
Still let me share a father's tender love — 
Still claim a father's tender care. 

Pray, O, my father, for thy erring child. 
Whose devious steps are prone to stray; 
That grace may curb my passions strong and wild, 
And keep me in the narrow way. 

Pray that thy kind and honest heart be mine, 
To guide aright my every aim ; 
That I may load a life as pure as thine, 
And leave behind as fail- a name. 



Lines. 

There is a robe of white 

Laid up in Heaven above 

For those w^ho in Christ's law delight — 

The holy law of love. 

They whom the Saviour's blood 

Hath cleansed from sin's dark stain. 

Shall stem cold Jordan's rolling flood 

And the robe of white obtain. 

There is a crown of light — 
How bright its gems appear !— 
For those who light the Christian fight 
And toil and suffer here. 
The lowly and the meek, 
Who shun temptation's snare, 
And e'er their Maker's glory seek, 
The crown of light shall wear. 

And golden harps are given 

To the redeemed throngs 

Who roam among the fields of Heaven, 

And sing celestial songs. 

And they who mourn and weep 

Along earth's rugged ways. 

The golden harp-strings there shall sweep 

In their Redeemer's praise. 



Three. 

In memory of AnnieLee, Lovie Spboles, and Willie 
Meek, daughters of John N. and Maria C. Bowen. 

Three little bodies 
Laid beneath the sod ! 
Three immortal spirits 
Taken home to God ! 

Three tender lambkins— 
Weary— wanting rest — 
Nestling in sweet slumber 
On the Shepherd's breast ! 

Three tiny rosebuds. 

By the Maker given. 

Plucked by Him who gave them — 

Blooming now in Heaven I 

Parents, do not murmur. 
At the chastening rod : 
He hath given— taken— 
Bless the name of God ! 



Tell Me Ye Winged Wiiads. 

Tell me, ye winged winds 
That in the tree-tops moan. 
Is tliere no happy place 
Where taxes are unknown I — 
No sweet Elysian vale- 
No Paradisaic spot, 
Where the wicked cease to trouble. 
And the tax-man cometh not .' 

Where is that happy land .'— 

Mid the North's perennial snows ? 

Or where the tropic fruit 

In the torrid sunbeams glows .' 

Is't some oasis green 

In Sahara's waste of sand ? 

Ye winged winds, pray tell me. 

Where is that happy land ? 

Awhile the winds are hushed, 
And then tlieir voices swell. 
Loud as the Ku-Klux whoop. 
Or " the banner cry of hell." 
And through my chamber door. 
That they have blown ajar, 
I hear them groaning— shrieking— 
Their answer—" Nary-whar !" 



98 



Backwoods Poems. 



Memories. 

Like the faint sweet fragrance that the zephyrs bring 
From the distant orchards m the early spring ; 
Like the low sad music of the home-bound bells, 
When the twilight shadows deepen in the dells ; 
Like the azure shimmer on the hill-tops seen, 
Ere the budding forests clothe themselves in green- 
Are the tender mem'ries of a sweet young face 
Time could never wholly from my mind erase. 

Like a dark deep river, stained witli blood and tears — 
Tossed in troubled billows-'seem the bygone years 
Which divide the present from the happy days 
When her girlish beauty waked my tender lays ; 
When her coming footsteps music made more sweet 
Than the rippling murmur where two streamlets meet; 
When her smiles and glances made my spirit glad, 
And her coyish coldness almost drove me mad. 

O'er that dark deep river— on that hazy shore — 
Sleep the hopes that perished — sleep to wake no more; 
But the love I cherished — cherished though m vain— 
With the early flowers comes to lite again— 
Brings me tender mem'ries of the fair young face 
Time can never — never from my heart erase — 
Mem'ries sad as bell-tones in the distance heard — 
Sweet as breath of orchards by the zephyrs stirred. 



K;aty-Did. 

O, Kate, you did, you know you did— 
The fact you can't deny — 
Let Harry squeeze your lily hand. 
And kiss you on the sly- 
Out where the red-cheeked peaches hung 
And shed their fragrance round, 
And mellow golden apples lay 
Thick scattered on the ground. 
O, Kate, you did, you know you did ! 
You needn't blush nor smile ; 
For 'mong the leafy branches hid, 
I saw you all the while. 

O, Kate, he did, you know he did, 
While the purple sunset lay 
Low in the west, and up the hill 
Climbed the twilight shadows gray— 
He pared a peach and threw the peel. 
Which fell the letter K, 



Then took' your little hand in his, 
And kissed your pout away. 
O, Kate, he did, &c. 

O, Kate, you did, you know you did, 

In the orchard linger long. 

Till the round full moon rose in the east. 

And I began my song — 

Till Harry told the old, old tale 

That maids have loved to hear. 

Since the morning stars together sang 

In creation's natal year. 

O, Kate, you did, &c. 



. Scanlan. 

Not only on the battle-field. 
Mid clang and clash of steel, 
Do noble men by gallant deeds 
Their noble souls reveal. 

Within a prison's walls, to-day, 
There beats as brave a heart 
As ever nerved a hero's arm 
To do a hero's part. 

And the Muse of History, as she pens 
The records of our times— 
The glorious deeds of the good and great, 
And bad men's hellish crimes — 

And comes to fill the immortal lists 
For the shining scroll of Fame, 
Shall write, in lines of living light. 
Brave Thomas Soanlan's name. 



TJp with the Banner! 

Up with the grand old banner, men, 

And nail it to the mast, 
Where we have sworn that it shall float 

As long as time shall last ! 
The evil days of mongrel rule, 

Thank God ! shall soon be past ! 

From California's golden sands 

To the deep wild woods of Maine, 
From the evergreens of the Southern coast 



Backwoods Poems. 



99 



To the North's lacustrine chaia, 
Four million tongues have sworn the oath — 
And have not sworn in vain ! 

Up with the grand old banner, men— 

The flag we loved of old ! 
" White Men shall k0le America !" 

Is stamped on every fold 
In letters red with martyr's blood, 

And bright as burnished gold. 

Millions of hearts shall welcome it — 
Though traitors hiss their scorn — 

As sad and weary watchers greet 
The rosy van ot morn, 

Or sages hailed the star which shone 
O'er a Saviour newly born. 

Up with the White Man's Banner, men— 

The banner of our race — 
And flaunt the motto that it bears 

In every traitor's face 
Who has sold his soul to the negro Baal 

For pelf, and power, and place ! 

Up with the flag ! On with the work 

That to our hands is given ! 
The hell-forged chains*must shivered fall. 

As if by lightning riven. 
And the huckster hordes who buy and sell, 

From the temple must be driven ! 

* The " Reconstruction Measures," including tlit^ 
' Amendments." 



I'll dream of an island far away. 

Where the young gazelles on the mountains play, 

And the bright-plumed birds in the myrtle bowers 

Sing of a love as fond as ours ; 

Where orange trees bend with their golden store, 

And snow-capped billows strew the shore 

With rare brigut shells, whose roseate dyes 

Were caught from the lips that hold my prize. 

And I will dream ot a coral cave. 
Washed by the ocean's dashing wave, 
Where we will live through all the year, 
With nought to wish and nought to fear. 
Our ibod shall be the honey-comb 
From the bowers where the wild bees roam — 
The luscious fruits of tree and vine, 
And the purple wild gi'ape's Buby wine. 

All day we'll roam the forests green. 

And view the azure mountain scene ; 

Or on the mossy banks recline. 

With thy warm soft hand still clasped in mine. 

I'll gather flowers on the mountain side 

To weave a wreath for my blushing bride ; 

I'll cull the scarlet berries fair 

To twine among her raven hair. 

Of this wild bright isle my dream shall be— 
This kingdom shared alone with thee — 
Whose snow-white strand and emerald sod 
No feet but ours have ever trod. 
And I'll win, I know, the precious prize, 
If I can but look in thy soft dark eyes ; 
For in tlieir depths there is a fire 
That will the brightest dreams inspire. 



The Wager Dream. 

Axe — " Ossian's Sere.nade.^' 

In the golden light of the summer day, 
In the stilly night, 'neath the moon's pale ray, 
Awake or asleep, I will dream with thee. 
And a kiss, my love, shall the wager be— 
A kiss as sweej as the fragrance borne 
O'er the Persian gulf in the early morn. 
By the winds that slept in the spicy gi-ove 
Wliere the bulbul sung to the rose of love. 
Chorus— Tlien come, my love, and dream with nie. 
And a nectar kiss shall the wager be ; 
Let me look awhile in thy soft dark eyes. 
And I'll win, I know, the precious piize. 



Re-Reconstruction. 

Aye, heat the iron seven times hot 

In the furnace red of hell ; 

<;all to your aid the venomed skill 

Of " all the fiends that fell," 
And forge new links for the galling chain, 
'J\) bind the prostrate South again ! 

Stir up again your .snarling pack— 
Your jackals black and white. 
That tear her lovely form by day, 
And gnaw her bones by night — 
Your snivelling thieves with carpet-bags— 
Your sneaking, whining scallawags ! 



100 Backwoods Poems. 


Tear open wide the festering wounds, 


Come back, bright dreams that cheered my lonely 


Ere they have time to heal ; 


hours, 


And by youi harsh vindictive laws 


When I, too weak to roam abroad mid trees and flow- 


Make every Southron feel 


ers, 


He is an alben with no right 


Oft spent the livelong day in Fancy's haunted bowers. 


Safe from the clutch of despot might ! 






There, Muses came and dipped my pen in flowing 


Villains, go on ; each blow you strike 


rhyme, 


To glut your hellish hate, 


And tuned my rustic harp, and taught me strains 


But welds in one all Southern hearts, 


sublime 


And State unites to State ; 


That iloated evermore adown the corridors of Time. 


And lo ! compact our Southland stands - 




A Nation fashioned by your hands ! 


For me their sweetest smiles the lips of beauty wore ; 




And wealth poured at my feet a precious golden store, 




So vast, so measureless, I could not wish for more 
The pretty hopes have perished, by Fancy fed in vain; 




A Welcome to the Immigrant. 


My future is a blank, and mem'ry brings but pain — 




What would I give to dream my boyhood's dreams 


Thrice welcome to our sunny land, 


again ! 


The hardy sons of toil 




Who have left their homes on distant sliores 
To till our fertile soil ! 






The matron grave, the blooming maid. 




The sturdy yeoman tall, 


Death of Liberty. 


The rosy romping boys and girls— 




A welcome to them all ! 


Let church-bells toll a knell 




Through all the stricken land ; 


The Switzer from the Alpine vales, 


For Liberty lies cold and dead. 


The German and the Dane ; 


Struck by a tyrant's hand : 


Norwegians, Swedes, and Briton's sons, 




And the men of vine-clad Spain ; 


Struck by his mailed hand — 


The Celt, Sclavonian, and Magyar, 


Where were the true and brave, 


The Roman and the Gaul— 


That they heeded not her cry for help, 


They're brethren of our common blood- 


Nor stretched a hand to save ? 


Thrice welcome to them all ! 






Our fathers loved her well— 


The Southland's fields shall smile once more — 


Those noble men of old, 


Shall blossom as the rose ;— 


Who would not brook a tyrant's rule, 


And white men rule the land again. 


Nor sell their souls for gold. 


In spite of all our foes. 


^ 


Then let warm hearts the exiles greet 


How would those brave men weep 


Who seek our sunny land ; 


Could they but see her now, 


And meet them all with kindly words, 


All pale and cold, with the seal of death 


And with a helping hand. 


Upon her queenly brow ; 




With temple black and bruised, 
Where the fiendish tyrant smote, 






And the purple prints of his iron clutch 


Day-Dreams. 


Upon her snowy throat ! 


borne back, sweet dreams that lilled with joy the van- 


Let weeping women come. 


ished years: 


Their hearts with sorrow bowed. 


Without your light, my life a starless night appears— 


And close her glazed glaring eyes, 


A dreary arid waste, wet only with my tears. 


.4.nd put her in her shroud. 



Backwoods Poems. 



101 



And let them dig" her. grave. 
And bury her at night, 
AVhen the pallid moon has veiled her face 
To hide the wot'ul sight. 

Forevermore unknown 
Let the burial spot abide, 
Like the grave of Israel's holy seer 
Who on Mount Nebo died. 

"We are not worthy— we 
Who heard her pleading cry, 
And let our idle rusty swords 
In their dusty scabbards lie— 

We are not worthy even 
To look upon the grave 
That holds the hallowed torm of her 
We would not die to save ! 



And yet, not all for good it reigns 

(For the world is growing worse ;) 
Error is blent with truth and turns 

The blessing to a cui-se. 
Wrong in the Press too often finds 

A willing advocate : 
Light of the world— when it is dark, 

The darkness, O, how great ! 

May this no longer be— may truth 

Be evermore its aim ; 
Only the good and true receive 

Fi'om it the meed of tame ! 
May clouds of error seldom dim 

The splendor of its light, 
And The Peess be always on the side 

Of Freedom, Truth, and Right ! 



The Press. 

[The following poem was read before the Mississippi 
Press Association at its annual Convention, held in Co- 
lumbus, June 5th and 0th, 1872.] 

Crowns ai'e but baubles, royal pomp 

A vain and empty show ; 
The sceptres are but childish toys 

That sway all things below : 
Thrones vainly lift their occupants 

Above the common clay : 
The Pbinting Pkess is monarch now— 

U rules the world to-day. 

No rivers deep, nor lakes, nor seas, 

Nor rock-ribbed mountain chains, 
Nor difference of clime or speech, 

Limit its wide domains. 
Earth is its kingdom — everywhere 

Where mind communes with mind 
Dispensing light, its rule is felt : 

Its subjects are mankind. 

No gleaming spears its throne uphold ; 

No swords its conquests spread ; 
Its fields of glory are not strewed 

With the dying and the dead. 
In peace it reigns — the peaceful arts 

Each day its rule extend ; 
And science always finds in it 

Its truest, noblest friend. 



My Boquet. 

Inscribed to Miss Zxibie F****, of Bellefontaine, Miss. 

Sweet, the perfume of these flowers ; 

All the air they till ; 
But the memoiies they bring me — 

They are sweeter still : 
Tender, dear, delightful mem'ries • 

Of the vanished years, 
That have filled my heart with gladness — 

And my eyes with tears ! 



Back— back — back — through Time's long vista 

Wings my mind it;s flight, 
[Swiftly as through realms empyreal 

Leaps the solar light ; 
Brings me back, through gathering shadows, 

Pictures of the Past — 
Scenes of beauty, hours of gladness, 

Joys too sweet to last. 

Tlirough the twilight gray are peering 

Faces fair as thine ; 
Tempting lips, as sweet, are smiling ; 

Eyes, as radiant, shine. 
Voices, too, as full of music, 

Haunt the evening air, 
And, stretched out in friendly greeting, 

Little hands as fair. 

And the olden loves come thronging 

Back to life again, 
From the cryptic burial-places 



102 Backwoods 


Poems. 


Where they long have lain : 


To the Farmers, ; 


Thronging slowly, singing lowly, 




In a sad retrain — 


Hardy tillers of the soil. 


What the epitaph of each is — 


Ruddy brown with daily toil. 


Two short words— J« ■nain ! 


Te are monarchs of this land. 




If ye'll grasp, with daring liand, 


Flowers ! flowers ! precious flowers ! 


Sceptres that ye should have borne, 


Culled by beauty's hand ! 


Regal crowns ye should have worn. 


Ye can conjure fairer visions 


In all the past. 


Than magician's wand. 


But ye drudged — a patient band— 


On your fragrant breath ye waft ma, 


Step-sons in your fatlier's land- 


From these scenes of pain, 


Drudged, that pampered pets of State 


Back, through Time's long checkered vista, 


Might grow rich, and proud and great, 


To my youth again. 


On the fruits your patient toil 




Gathered from the stubborn soil ; 




Drudged till, at last. 
Venal politicians sold 






You and yours for yellow gold 


Rally Song. 


To the " rings" that lie in wait 




For their prey in every State— 


Huzza ! on every mountain peak 


And in Babylon tbe Great ! — 


The signal flres are gleaming ; 


Till they bound your teet and hands 


In every vale, on every plain, 


With their cunning iron bands— 


The grand old iiag is streaming ! 


Fashioned bonds for you to wear- 


" U'CoNOB ! Adams !" is the cry 


Burdens made for you to bear 


That through the land is ringing ; 


Through long years of toil and care. 


Truth crushed to earth by tyrant's heel, 




Again to life is springing. 


Trusting in their ill-got power, 




Lo ! these lords above you tower. 


The Ship of State our fatliers built— 


Mocking your demand for right. 


The theme of song and story- 


As an Eastern Sultan might 


Shall ride the storm-tossed waves again. 


Mock the prayer of abject slave, 


In all her pristine glory ! 


Cringing, some poor boon to crave. 


We'll haul her from the rocks and sands. 
Whore traitor pirates ran her ; 

And patriots shall guide her helm. 
And honest men shall man her ! 


Though the bands be tough and strong 
Ye have worn through years of wrong, 
Let the mocking lords beware — 




Strength still dwells in Sampson's hair ! 


Our heritage of sacred rights— 
Our richest earthly treasure— 






The petty despots of an horn- 




No more shall crush at ijleasure ! 


A Song. 


The thieving rings no more shall prey 




On the fruits of honest labor, 


We launcli the proud old ship once more 


Nor priv'leged nabob roll in wealth 


Upon the storm-tossed sea, 


By starving out his neighbor ! 


And from her top-most mast her flag — 




Her same old flag— floats free. 


Huzza! on plains and mountain peaks 


"A Federal Union— Soveeeign States!" 


Our beacon fires are burning. 


Its shining motto reads ; 


And erring brethren by their light 


And hearts are braced with high resolves. 


Are to our ranks returning ! 


And stirred to gallant deeds. 


From North to South, from East to West, 


Huzza ! huzza ! our flag is there — 


The people shout— "O'Oonor!" 


The flag we love so well ! 


And honoring statesman pure as he. 


Huzza ! huzza \ let every tongue 


They clothe tliemselves with honor ! 


The gladsome chorus swell ! 



Backwoods Poems. 



103 



Huzza ! our ship no longer lies 

Dry-rotting near the shore : 
Her sails have caught the stitt' salt breeze— 

She rides the waves once more ! 
Let black clouds burst in tempest tierce, 

And lash the foaming sea ; 
Not a heart sliall quail, while in the gale 
Our beacon flag floats free. 

Huzza I huzza ! our flag is there — 

The flag we love so well ! 
Huzza ! huzza ! let every tongue 
The gladsome chorus swell ! 



Lines 



Inscribed to the memory of my mother, Mrs. Mabga- 
RET Berryhill, who died February 22, 1873. 

I'm sitting by the hearth, mother, 

In the old homestead gray ; 
Low in the west is faintly seen 

The light of parting day ; 
The twilight shades are gathering 

In the corners of the room ; 
And the hollow moan of the autumn wind 
Adds to my spirit's gloom. 

For I am all alone, mother — 
No loved one's form is near ; 

Of all who, in the long ago, 
Were wont to gather here 

When the labors of the day were o'er 
And hands from toil were free, 

Not one is left in the dear old home- 
Not one is left but me. 

They left us one by one, mother— 

Our happy household band— 
Some for new homes amid new scenes- 
Some for the spirit land- 
Till only thou and 1 remained, 

And thon—lhou leftst me too — 
Leftst me alone in the wide, wide world. 
Life's journey to pursue. 

Oh ! it is hard to live, mother. 
With none to care for me— 

With none to care if sick or well- 
Alive or dead— I be ; 

No hands to cool my fevered brow. 
Or to make my pillow smooth. 

No voice to cheer me at my tasks, 
And all my sorrows soothe. 



Dost thou still care for me, mother, 

Thy helpless, wayward son. 
Now thou hast found the peaceful shore. 

And the work of life is done ? 
Does a mother's love with the body die — 

Die, nevermore to wake ' 
Or are its golden cords too strong 

For the hand of death to break ? 

I will not wish that love, mother, 

Beyond the grave should last — 
That the sainted spirit, freed from clay. 

Be fettered with the past. 
For well I know that I have proved 

Unworthy of thy love. 
And I would not that my walk below 

Should mar thy peace above. 



Bereaved. 

She came with April's gentle showers — 

Our gold-haired darling child— 
AVlien 'neath the liquid azure skies 

The flowers in beauty smiled ; 
AVhen fragrance filled the balmy air, 

Wlien verdure clothed the plain. 
And bright-plumed birds on leafy boughs 

Poured forth their sweet re&ain. 

But when the trees their leaves had lost, 

Kissed by the frosty air, 
And wailing winds played dirges wild 

.'Vmong their branches bare; 
When all the flowers were dead, and clouds 

Obscured the azure dome. 
From Paradise the angels came 

And took our darling home. 



Winter Flowers. 

(iather me flowers— beautiful flowers- 
Budding and blooming in the winter hours ; 
Glowing with life while the trees are bare ; 
Freighting with fragrance the chilly air; 
Joyous and smiling 'neath a clouded sky ; 
Beautiful and bright as a maiden's eye I 



104 



Backwoods Poems. 



Dear as the inem'ries of vanished years 
When trouble has frozen the fount ot tears ; 
Sweet as the voice of friendship when woe 
Saddens the heart and extinguishes its glow ; 
Bright as the hopes that linger for aye, 
Are the flowers that bloom 'ueath a winter sky. 



Night's First Sleep. 

Soft as falls the midnight dew 
On the tender violets blue, 
As they lay their drooping heads 
On theii' fragrant leafy beds, 
Night's first sleep descends and lies 
On my half-closed weary eyes. 

Laden with the rich perfumes 
(iathered from the orchard blooms. 
Evening's humid zephyrs glide 
Through the window at my side, 
Cool my brow, and bring to me 
Kisses sweet, and dreams of thee ! 



Independence. 

Air — ^^ Hail Columbia.^" 

Hail ye Patrons — sons of toil ! 

Hail ye tillers of the soil ! 

Who guide the plows and wield the hoes. 

And when your yearly task is done, 

Enjoy the fruits your labor won ! 

Let Independence be the goal 

Animating every soul, 

Nerving every Patron's arm 

For the labors of the farm, 

Bracing every Patron's heart 

To perform a Patron's part, 

In the war with chartered "rings"— 

In the war with " money kings." 

Long enough ye wore their chains ; 
Long enough your toil-worn gains 
Had filled the coffers of your toes— 
The pampered pets of venal power — 
The gold-winged insects of an hour. 
Now Independence is the boast 
Of the Patron's mighty host ; 
Every flag tliat motto bears— 



Every breast that motto wears. 
" Independence !" glorious word ! 
Once our fathers' hearts it stirred ; 
Now it shall our watchword be — 
Watchword of the farmers freei 



I 



" Deterior." 

A PARODY. 

The shades of night were falling fast 
As along a muddy road there passed 
A negro, with a bob-tailed lice, 
Who bore a flag with the strange device— 
" Deterior !" 

His shoes were out at heels and toes ; 
A hundred rents gaped thro' his clothes; 
And wildly rolled his big white eye, 
As from his lips escaped the cry— 
" Deterior!" 

The flag he bore was so besmeared 
That scarce the stars and stripes appeared ; 
But bright as sign o'er tinker's door 
The talismanic word it bore — 
"Deterior !" 

His way led down a long descent, 
Which muddier grew as on he went : 
With shambling gait he trudged along. 
One word the burden of his song — 
" Deterior !" 

He saw the worm-fence rotting down ; 
He saw the fields of sedge-grass brown ; 
Below, the swamp's dark waters shone, 
And his thick lips mumbled, with a groan - 
" Deterior !" 

" Pass not the swamp !" an old man said — 
The wool was white upon his head — 
" The mire is deep— the sloughs are wide !" 
But thus the tipsy voice replied— 
" Deterior !" 

"Stay!" cried a dusky wench, "oh! stay! 
Abide with us till dawn of day !" 
But he only grinned and shook his head, 
And muttered— as he onward sped— 
" Deterior !" 



Backwoods Poems. 105 


" Beware the black wolf in the brake ! 


The Union that our fathers made — 


Beware the spotted water-snake !" 


Unbroken may it be. 


A negro on the wood-pile cried: 


While crowned with clouds our mountains stand— 


A voice far down the hill replied — 


Our rivers seek tiie sea ! 


" Deterior !" 






And may our sisterhood of States 


A carpet-bagger passed that way 


Move on without a jar. 


A hunting votes, at break of day, 


As roll the stellar systems round 


And in the mud began to swear : 


Creation's axis star. 


A voice cried through the startled air — 




" Deterior !" 


And evcniiore, as millions bow 




At Freedom's sacred shrine. 


Neck-deep in mud the negro stood 


O, may they tind Thy presence there, 


In a tangled growth of underwood : 


And own its glory Thine ! 


One hand held up the bob-tailed tice. 




And one the flag with the strange device— 




" Deterior I'' 
As deeper sunk the dusky wight, 






Till e'en his wool was hid from sight, 


Under the Violets. 


From the mii-y deep there came a yell 




Like wail of spirit plunged in hell — 


Inscribed to my old friend, A. B. Hill, of Texas, Mich. 


" Deterior I" 






Under the violets Lelia lies— 




Violets blue as the soft sweet eyes, 




Veiled by lids white as the winter snow 
Sleeping in death in the ground below. 




Thanksgiving Hymn. 


Ah ! she once loved the blue violets well ; 


For Thursday, November, 26th, 1874. 


Hunted them oft in the shadowy dell. 




By the gnarled roots of the ancient oaks. 


From North and South we come to bow 


Tenanted once by the fairy folks. 


Before our fathers' God ; 


Or on the banks of the gurgling stream. 


To own the sins that woke His ire, 


AVhere through the water the white pebbles gleam ; 


And kiss His chastening rod. 


Plucked them with rosy-tipped lingers fair- 




Wove them in wreaths for her golden hair — 


The temple which our fathers built 


Walked in them— trampled them— till Iier bare feet, 


A blackened ruin stands ; 


Dripped with the dew, and the fragrance sweet. 


And blood is on the threshold — shed 




By fratricidal hands. 


Year after, year shall the spring time come ; 




Birds shall be singing, and wild bees hum ; 


With chastened hearts we come to build 


Sunshine, and dew, and pattering rain. 


The broken walls again : 


Wake the blue violets to life again ; 


0, may the pard'ning love of God 


They shall be blooming as fair as of yore — 


Erase the bloody stain ! 


,S'/ie shall be sleeping and pluck them no more. 


May Love cement the stones we lay. 


Lelia, Lelia, darling child, 


By square and plummet tried ; 


Oft have I wished in my sorrow wild. 


And Faith and Hope within the walls 


That, in the world where the spirits are, 


Forevermore abide ! 


Sometimes the gates would be left ajar. 




WouUl'st thou not, darling one, steal away 


Look down, our fathers' God, look down 


From thy bright home in the sky some day. 


Upon the work we do ; 


As thou wast wont from the elm-shaded yard, 


Bless— bless us all to-day, while we 


When the big wicket was left unbarred f 


The covenant renew ! 


Wouldst thou not come when the shadows creep 



106 



BaoJcwoods Poems. 



Up the long slope from the valley deep 1 
Wouldst thou not come, love, and walk unseen 
Under the elms so darkly green — 
Wander with me in the valley below 
Where the stream glides, and the violets grow, 
Freighting the air with a fragrance sweet 
As that which clung to thy little feet '. 

Lelia, Lelia, wilt thou come 
Back to the sorrowing ones at home, 
Bringing fresh flowers in thy lily-white hand — 
Amaranth flowers from the spirit-land — 
Clad in the robes of that world so fair — 
Wearing its stars in thy golden hair .' 
We could not see thee— from mortal eyes 
Spirits are hid — but the holy ties 
Linking the dead with the mourners here, 
Surely would tell us wlien thou art near— 
Surely would thrill us as lute-strings thrill 
Touched by the zephyrs with a delicate skill, 
Filling the air with a low sweet strain — 
Heard once on earth, and heard never again. 



A Life in a Rural Cot. 

A life in a rural cot — 
A home 'mid the lofty trees. 
In some sweet secluded spot, 
Where the honey-seeking bees 
Hum among the fragrant flow'rs . 
Through the golden April days. 
And among the leafy bow'rs 
Wild birds pour their tuneful lays' 

Once moi-e 'mid the waving corn 
I'm guiding the keen-edged plow. 
While the fragrant breath of morn 
Plays upon my sun-burnt brow. 
Like a shimmering purple veil, 
Flecked with blue, and green, and gold. 
Lies the mist on hill and dale. 
And upon the grass-grown wold. 

Who— who would exchange this life — 
This life in the fresh pure air. 
White-washed cot, and smiling wife, 
Eosy children plump and fair, 
For a home in crowded mart 
Where the Kings of Commerce live. 
Though adorned with all that art 
Can of gorgeous splendor give ? 



It Matters Not. 

It matters not --it matters not, 

Though stranger hands. 

In distant lands. 

May bury me 

In some wild, lone, and dreary spot 

Beneath the sands 

That skirt the dark blue, rolling sea ; 

Or on the bleak 

Bare mountain peak. 

Where chilling winds forever blow. 

And lichens cling 

To the rocks that fling 

Their shadows on the vale below. 

It matters not — it matters not. 

Where I am laid — 

In the forest's shade 

Or 'neath the plain 

Where Summer pours her sunbeams hot. 

And ne'er a blade 

Of grass is kissed by gentle rain ; 

In the black loam dank 

On the river bank. 

Where the trees are clasped by clamb'ring vines. 

Or where all day 

The sad winds play 

Soft dirges 'mong the long-leaved pines. 

It matters not— it matters not. 

When the spirit's fled. 

Where rests the dead 

Decaying shell — 

'Mong the graves unmarked in the pauper's lot, 

Or in marble bed. 

Where sculptured shafts life's hist'ries tell. 

With a wing as light 

'Twill wing its flight — 

The spirit from its prison flo ivn ; 

And in that day — 

That Great Last Day— 

The Son of God will find His own. 



Within the Gate. 

Hail, happy day ! when Patrons meet 
To spend the hours in converse sweet. 
When each his brother's joy may share. 
And each his brother's burden bear 
Within the gate. 



Backwoods Poems. 



107 



While toil-worn hands from labor rest, 
Let care be banished from the breast ; 
Let strife and envy ne'er be found, 
But peace and love, and joy abound 
Within the gate. 

No stately pomp can hither come : 
Like children round the hearth of home, 
From stiff precision we are free :— 
Brothers and sisters all are we 
Within the gate. 

When the sun of life has sunken low, 
And thoughts, like shadows, backward go. 
The greenest spots in mem'ry's waste 
Shall be the hours that we have passed 
Within the gate. 

And when the Master's work is done. 
And the fleeting sands of life are run, 
O, may we find eternal rest 
In the radiant mansions of the blest 
Within the gate ! 



Decoration Day. 

Read at the annual decoration of the Soldiers' Graves 
at Bellefontaine grave yard, April 26, 1871. 

The sentry oaks a vigil keep 

About the hallowed ground ; 

The winds sing dirges 'mong the pines 

That weep their fragrance round — 

Sing solemn dirges for the dead — 

For the dead their fragrance weep — 

For the men in gray that we mourn to-day 

A ceaseless vigil keep. 

For the loved ones gone who wore the gray, • 

Daughters of Southland, bring 

Bright evergreens— type of our faith !— 

And the choicest flowers of Spring — 

Sweet flowers to decorate their graves — 

Bright evergreens to lay 

On the sod that rests on the mouldering breasts 

Ot the men who wore the gray. 

No towering shaft in the coming years. 

Their humble names may bear ; 

Historian's pen and poet's lyre 

Their deeds may ne'er declare. 

But their names are writ on loving hearts 



And e'er when Spring appears, 

Her fairest blooms shall deck their tombs 

Through all the coming years. 

For when we sleep with the men in gray, 
And our dust with dust shall blend. 
The holy duty that we owe 
To our children shall descend. 
And though their chains may heavier be 
Than those we wear to-day. 
They'll ne'er forget the sacred debt 
They owe the men in gray. 



A, Heart History, 

1 loved. I know not when, nor how, nor why 
My love began. A pretty little bud 
Just coming into bloom of womanhood, 
I little saw in her when first we met 
To wake a thought of love. But then her smile 
Was wondrous sweet, and in my dwelling place, 
In the cold shadow ot a ruined hope, 
It fell upon my spirit hke a gleam 
Of April sunshine in a gloomy dell. 
We often met— too oft alas ! for me : — 
And soon I longed for that sweet smile, as long 
The thirsty plants for night's refreshing dew. 
'Twould haunt me everywhere. The cooing tones 
Of her sweet voice would linger in my ear. 
Like angel-music heard in midnight dreams. 
I sought her presence oft— and yet was I 
In that sweet presence dumb. To see her smile. 
To hear her voice — these were enough for me. 
My friends and monitors -my precious books- 
Grew wearisome and hateful in my sight. 
I shunned the face of man : I longed to be 
Alone, that I might think— and think of her. 
My cunning passion wound its silken web 
Around my every thought, before I knew 
That she was aught to me except a child — 
A pretty child with very winning ways. 

I learned at last tlie secret which my heart 
Had kept from me so long— I loved— I hoped ; 
My fancy built fair castles in the air. 
Illumed them with the rosy light of love, 
And crowned her queen and mistress of them all. 
It could not last — my wild, sweet dream of love 
And happiness. Too soon, alas ! I learned 
The bitter truth— my love was all in vain. 
My airy castles all came toppling down. 
And all the pretty hopes my heart sent forth, 



108 



Backwoods Poems. 



Bleeding and broken-winged, came fluttering back, 

With plaintive cry, and died before my eyes. 

I sought once more the dark, cold shadow where. 

For weary years, my dwelling place had been. 

Alas ! 'twas colder —darker — than before 

The sunlight of her presence on me fell. 

One hope was left me, ami I caught at it, 

As drowning men will catch at floating straws, 

And it alone made life endurable. 

I would forget ; I'd tear her from my mind. 

And leave not e'en a trace resembling her. 

I thought that it would be an easy task : 

I knew the mighty strength of human will, 

How it can pluck the giant mountains up 

That block our path, and cast them in the ssa. 

It was a futile hope : I had not learned 

With what tenacious grasp despairing love 

Clings to the heart, when hope is wrecked and lost 

On life's uneven sea With all its strength. 

My will was tar too weak to set me tree. 

Her dear ideal was so interwrought 

With all the mem'ries of the recent past, 

That I could not pursue a train of thought, 

Linked by suggestion in a golden chain. 

But it was sure to end in thoughts of her. 

If I but chanced to see a half-blowa rose, 

Or caught its fragrant breath, I'd think of her. 

" 'Twas one like this she gave me," I would muse, 

"That lovely morning when she smiled so sweet." 

Or if the eve was bright, and in the west 

The purple sunset lingered, loth to go, 

" 'Twas on an eve like this," I'd sighing say, 

"That I sat by her gazing in her eyes." 

Or, if the day was dark, and gloomy clouds 

O'erspread the heavens like a funeral pall, 

"Alas! " I'd say, "this dark and dreary day 

Is like the life of him who loves in vain." 

I never took my harp to seek relief 

From (veary thought in music's soothing strains. 

But my rebellious fingers touched the notes 

Of some old tune she used to love to near. 

I saw her eyes in all the twinkling stars 

That looked down on me from the spangled vault ; 

I heard her voice in every turtle's coo — 

Her silvery laugh in every mock-bird's song. 

And thus the shadow of my hopeless love. 
Like a grim ghost, pursued me everywhere, 
And mocked me, till I longed to hide from it. 
E'en in the dark, cold precincts of the grave. 

I'd read somewhere in mythologic lore 
About a stream that through Elysium ran. 
Called Lethe by the Greeks. Upon its banks 



The spirits from the upper world would pause 
To rest awhile their weary aching limbs, 
And view the prospect fair which lay beyond. 
To quench their thirst, they quatfed the water clear 
Which glided at their feet. Straitway the past. 
With all its gloomy train of loves and hates. 
And carking cares, and hopes not realized. 
Would vanish from their minds, and heaven begin. 
One long dark night, when every eye save mine 
Was closed in sleep, I thought me of this stream — 
That if some spirit from the shadowy world 
Would bring of it a brimming cup to me. 
How glad I'd drain it to the very dregs. 
While musing thus I fell into a sleep, 
And in the misty land of dreams that lies 
Midway 'twixt lite and death— a neutral ground 
For living men and ghosts to wander in — 
I found my wish fulfilled. 

There came to me 
A man of reverend mien, whose flowing beard 
Lay like a wintry snow-drift on his breast. 
His robes were loose and of that quaint old style 
We see in pictures of the ancient Greeks. 
He brought with him, and on the table set, 
A golden cup of cunning workmanship, 
And fixing on my face his stony eyes. 
He murmured, though his lips moved not, the word 
" Lethe!" — no more— and vanished from my sight. 

'Twas in my reach at last — forgetfulness— 

Rest from the thoughts which preyed like vultures 

fierce 
Upon my heaj-t. 1 trembled at the thought, 
And in a transport seized the brimming cup ; 
But ere it pressed my lips, Love stayed my hand, 
And bade me think. How could I give her up ? 
How rase from mem'ry's page that picture sweet 
Which had become with me the glowing type 
Of every beauty and of every grace 1 
For I knew not the dawn was beautiful. 
Until I found 'twas like her blushing cheeks. 
Nor ever gazed with pleasure on the sky. 
At midnight hour, until I found its hues 
Had all been borrowed from her dark gray eyes. 
And then her bright ideal image rose 
Before me, more distinct and true to life 
Than that which art has taught the sun to paint. 
Her dark-brown hair hung loose ; one truant tress 
Had quit its place behind her pearly ear 
To dally with and kiss her rounded cheek. 
A shade of sadness, like a summer cloud, 
Lay on her broad fair brow, and in her eyes 
There was a tender half-beseeching look ; 



Bachwoods Poems. 



109 



But still the smile which won my heart at first 
Played like a suu-beam on her little mouth. 
I could not give her up. My trembling hand 
Set down the cup ; I would not drink the drauarht. 

Then Pride was roused : "Why worship still the 

chai-ms 
That never can be mine 1 Those sott gray eyes 
With tender love-look ne'er shall gaze in mine. 
Another's lips shall snatch in kisses sweet 
The nectar of that little dimpled mouth ; 
Another's fingers toy, in dalliance fond, 
With the soft tresses of her dark-brown hair ; 
While on that other's breast her forehead fair — 
The thought was madness, and I seized the cup, 
Intent to quench the hell within my soul. 

Again my hand was stayed by pleading Love. 

Could I resign the mem'ries of the hours 

I spent with her when love was ted by hope — 

Oases in the weary waste of life. 

Where thought was wont to pause and linger long .' 

Must I forego the dreams — the golden dreams — 

Which fancy wove in spite of ruined hope. 

To cheer me in my shadow dark and cold ? 

The voice of wounded pride would not be hushed : 
Of what avail are these fond mem'ries now 1 
They only serve to mock my misery. 
As thoughts of dainty banquets once enjoyed 
Increase the pangs the standing pilgiim feels. 
And idle dreams — why blindly cling to them — 
Dreams that I know can ne'er be realized .' 
As well pursue, in hope to quench my thirst. 
The spectral fountains in the desert seen, 
As hope for aught of happiness from them. 
I'll drink the cup ; my love shall be forgot, 
With Its long train of hopes and waking dreams, 
On which the cruel hand of fate has writ, 
In lines of Are. the two sad words — in vain. 

But Love still plead for life in plaintive tones. 

I should not call my hopeless passion vain ; 

Though mad desire may gnaw its clanking chains. 

And curse the prize which lies beyond its reach, 

True love will always yield its own reward : 

As flowers bruised theii' sweetest perfumes yield, 

As grapes are crushed ere we obtain the wine, 

So hearts that bleed with hopeless love inspire 

The sweetest music of the poet's lyre. 

But Pride, still furious, drowned the voice of Love. 

And wovild I coin my heart-blood into gems, 

And barter them to an unfeeling world 

For worthless gold, or still more worthless fame ? 



What boots it to the shell-tish racked with pain 
That beauty's brow some day shall wear the pearl 
That forms around the cause of all its woe ? 
I seized the cup— the brim had touched my lips, 
When Love— sweet ijleader — urged its cause again. 

O, not for gold, nor for the bauble, fame, 

Uoth touch the poet true his trembling lyre, 

When he awakes the strains which float for aye 

Adown the long dim coiTdiors of time. 

He hath a mission here, to whom is given 

The priceless pearl— the heavenly gift of song. 

To fit him for his high and holy task, 

'Tis needful that lie suffer. There are founts 

Of feeling locked in every human breast. 

The spear must pierce ere they can be revealed. 

Who hath not suffered is but half a man ; 

Who hath not loved is not a man at all. 

The body — limbs — may their full growth attain — 

The soul is but a dwarf in stature still. ■ 

The child of song, to whom the gift is given 

Of playing on a harp of human hearts, 

Must drain the brimming cup of human woes 

Ere he can touch with skill the hidden strings. 

And I — I will not murmvir, though I am 

But a poor step-child of the heaven-born Muse. 

I will not murmur, though I've loved in vain ; 

For hopeless love hath taught me secrets deep — 

Heart secrets that I wouid not else have learned. 

And sorrow for my pretty hopes that died 

Hath called, sometimes, from my rude half-strung 

hai-p J(, 

A strain of love and woe— a simple strain — 
Wliich may, perchance, when I am dead and gone. 
Impart sad pleasure to a brother's heart, 
Suffering, like mine, from unrequited love. 

And thou, the darling of my every thought, 
Be thou the angel of my day-dreams still : 
My love for thee has stood the fiery test ; 
The dross— the earthly taint — has been consumed ; 
The gold — the pure fine gold— is left me still. 
Though we may meet no more, thou still art mine — 
Mine, as the sky that o'er me hangs is miue — 
Mine, as the star with silvery ray is mine — 
Mine, as the landscape clothed in goldeh light, 
The forest robed in green, the rippling stream, 
The breath of flowew, the song of birds, are mine. 
Yes, cruel Fate, that blightedst all the hopes 
Which budded m my youth, I mock thee now. 
My love is not in vain ; she stiU is mine — 
My spirit's bride that never can grow old. 
The touch of Time shall mar all earthly things; 
His iron hand shall write, in shrivelling seams. 







110 Baohwoods Poems. j 


"Passing away" on beauty's snowy brow; 


Out in the apple tree. 


But she shall be to me forever young, 


The song so sweet to other ears, 


And beautiful and bright, as when her smile 


But oh, so sad to me ! 


Made sunlight in the shadow where I dwelt. 






My home ! How yearns my heart for thee, 


The golden cup dropped from my hand ; the shades 


"When Spring-time's purple haze. 


Of dreamland passed away— and I awoke. 


The budding trees, and breath of flowers. 




Recall the vanished days ! 




"What memories like ivy cling 




Around thy old gray walls. 






Or roam like viewless spirits through 




Thy bare deserted halls ! 


My Old Home. 




Now "Winter drear has passed away. 
And gentle Spring has come. 






I wonder if the grass grows green 




Around my dear old home. 




I wonder if the lilac blooms 


My Muse. 


Beside the garden gate, 




And if the brown wren on the roof 


My rustic muse in buckskin shoes. 


Sings to its brooding mate. 


That erst wast wont to roam 




Through sylvan shades and bush-grown dells 


I wonder if the soft west wind 


Around my boyhood's home, 


Comes laden with perfumes 


And there didst teach me numbers sweet, 


It gathered as it paused to kiss 


And tune my halt-strung lyre — 


The fragrant orchard blooms. 


"Why wilt thou not return to me ? 


I wonder if the old rose bush 


"Why not my song inspire 1 


Its crimson glory wears, 




And if the clambering clematis 


Do dusty streets and red brick walls 


Its purple clusters bears. 


Affright thy timid eye ? 




Art thou afraid of brazen bells 


I wonder if the yard is strown 


That clang in steeples high ? 


"With petals snowy white 


Of engine's shriek on boat or car, 


The lithe syringa scatters round 


The noise and jam of trade. 


"When swayed by zephyrs light ; 


And throngs of men and women fair, 


If by the fence the poplars stand 


That drive or promenade ? 


Like tapering steeples tall, 




And cast their shimmering shadows down 


, And hast thou sought, like tim'rous fawn. 


On chimney, roof and wall. 


The wild- wood's deep retreat, 




"Wherfi feathered choirs in brush and tree 


I wonder if the mocking-birds 


Pour forth their anthems sweet. 


Still in their old retreat— 


And nature writes with grass and ilowers 


The thick-branched cedars— build their nests 


Bright poems on the ground. 


And pour their warbles sweet : 


And winds that sway the fragrant pines 


If still my loved mimosa lifts - 


Give out a rhymthmic sound .' 


Sweet charity to show — 




Its overhanging boughs to let 


Come back, O, dear loved-muse, come back. 


The less crape-myrtle grow. 


And tune my lyre again. 




"Whose strings discordant at my touch 


I wonder if the tall gums wear 


Give back no dulcet strain. "" 


Their bright green vernal suit : 


For many a thought and many a theme 


And if the lagging "Winter spared 


My heart has treasured long, 


The mulbeiTy's nescent fruit. 


Await thy magic touch to be 


I wonder if the red-bird sings, 


Transmuted into song. 



Backwoods Poems. 



Ill 



Grone. 

" Gone !" — 
Hark ! from the steeple tall and lone 
Floats the monosyllabic tone ! — 

" Gone !" 
Another life gone out on earth ! 
In the world beyond, another bii-th ! 

"Gone!" 

"Gone!" 
List ! bow the stilly air doth moan, 
That wafteth down the monotone ! — 

" Gone !"— 
And every bell in beUry high 
Responds with deep sonorous sigh ! — 

" Gone !" 

" Gone !" — 
StiU brazen lips and iron tongue 
The solemn, sad refrain prolong ! 

" Gone !" — 
And thoughts as sad and solemn creep 
Across the soul, like shadows deep ! — 

" Gone !" 

"Gone !"— 
For ME, some day from steeple lone 
Shall float this mournful monotone ! 

"Gone !" 
My sands run out 1 — my labor done ! 
The crown of Ute or lost or won ! — 

" Gone !" 



The Shepherd's Horn. 

SONG. 

When through the gaps with footsteps light 
Slow steals the gray-clad, dewy morn, 
Perched on the craggy Alpine height. 
The shepherd sounds his mellow horn. 
Sound the horn ! Sonnd the horn ! 
To welcome in the coming mom ; 
Sound the horn ! Sound the horn ! 
To greet the pensive gray-eyed morn I 

Now bleating flocks of goats and sheep 
In the narrow winding paths are seen. 
Climbing the jagged mountain steep. 
To search in nooks tor herbage green. 
Sound the horn ! Sound the horn ! 



To welcome in the coming mom ! 
Sound the horn, the mellow horn. 
To gi-eet the blushing rosy mom ! 

From rock-ribbed peaks where eagles dwell, 
And the hunter seeks the chamois' track — 
From sloping lawn and winding dell — 
A hundred horns give answer back. 
Sound the horn ! Sound the horn ! 
To welcome in the coming morn ; 
Sound the horn, the mellow horn. 
To greet the smiling gold-haired morn ! 



Stand Fast. 

Stand fast ! tho' round thee black 
The tempest cloud be lowering, 

And cravens white with fear 
Before its wrath be cowering. 

Stand fast ! though overhead 
The lightnings red be flashing, 

And 'gainst the rock-girt shore 
The raging waves be dashing. 

Stand fast ! though hell send forth 

Its legions to assail thee : 
The rock of truth beneath 

Thy feet, shall never tail thee. 

Stand fast ! tho' siren notes 
And landscapes robed in beauty 

May tempt thee from thy post. 
The bleak lone post of duty. 

Stand fast ! still keep the faith 
In youth and manhood cherished, 

Though, one by one, the hopes 
Ambition nursed have perished. 

Stand fast ! tho' for thy faith 

The fickle crowd around thee. 
To mark their hate and scorn. 

With piercing thorns have crowned thee. 

Stand fast ! in God's good time 
The dark cloud shall be rifted. 

The crown of thorns removed, 
And all thy burden lifted. 



112 



Baohwoods Poems. 



To Jefferson Davis. 

Come back, beloved chief, come back ! 

All hearts for thee are yearning' ; 

As loud the notes of triumph swell. 

All thoughts to thee are turning. 

Thou sharedst our dang'ers and our toils— 

Our days of grief and sadness : 

Come back, beloved chief, come back. 

And share our days of gladness. 

The thick black cloud that o'er us hung-. 

And hid the face of heaven. 

In scattered racks has passed away. 

As if by tempest driven. 

Our night of agony is o'er — 

Our soul's long crucifixion ; 

And Heaven — the withering curse revoked- 

Bestows a benediction. 

Come, help iis build tlie walls again, 
By adversaries broken ; 
From thee each builder would receive 
A word, a sign, a token. 
Stand on the walls, and try our work 
By the plummet-line of duty. 
Until our temple stands again 
In all its olden beauty. 
1875. 



Unfinished. 

Had I the skill which makes the canvas glow 

"With life immortal as the soul of man, 

I'd paint a picture of my life, that all might know 

"What I've accomplished in my little span. 

My Little span say I ? It may expand 

Beyond the four-score years and ten whose snows 

Blanched three ancestral heads before the hand 

Of death was gently on them laid. "Who knows .' 



It matters not, if it be long or brief ; 
'Tis fixed — my past foreshows my future's law : 
"When Time distreins, he finds each standing sheaf 
The absconding Tear has left, is chaff and straw. 

A picture parable — or I jhould say 

A group of picture parables— should be 

My pencil's theme ; where each, in its own way. 

Should tell what life's hard tasks have earned for me. 

Multa in unu — each should stand apart. 

But one same shadow all should blend in one — 

Sad hist'ries writ upon my brain and heart. 

Of tasks unfinished in high hope begun. 

A monument should in the centre stand— 
A broad-based frustum built of granite gray : 
In shape, I ween, 'twere like the tower grand 
Half-reared at Babel in the olden day. 

Four mouldering walls ! — A woodman here his cot 
Of rough-hewed logs began to build one year : 
But changeful mind— or death — I know not what — 
Cut short the work, and leaves these ruins here. 

"Witli branches bare outstretched, a girdled oak 
Clings with gnarled roots unto a sterile coast. 
A limbless pine that died of thunderstroke. 
Stands in the distance like a sheeted gho.st. 

Foui' zig-zag lines of rotting fence inclose 
A patch of gTound :— here bare as sheep new-shorn ; 
Here scarred with gashes red ; and here the rows 
Thick set with stunted stalks of Indian corn. 
The twisted blades have lost their glossy green ; 
The tassels on the stems stand stitf and sere ; 
And on the sapless stalks no silk is seen, 
To mark the nestling place of nascent ear. 

My canvas is not full : a vacant space 
Remains untouched. To fill it were not meet. 
I'll leave it so— like all that bears a trace of me 
On earth — unfinished— incomplete I 



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