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Full text of "The loom of life"

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THE OLD-FASHIONED LOOM 



THE LOOM OF LIFE 



COTTON NOE 




RICHARD G. BADGER 

THE GORHAM PRESS 
BOSTON 



Copyright 1912 by Cotton Noe 
All Rights Reserved 



The Oorham Press, Boston, U. S. A. 






To 
Mother, Wife and Sister 



M191SS0 



CONTENTS 

Proem 7 

A Skein of Silver 

The Old-Fashioned Loom 11 

The Old Old Clock 13 

The Old Spinning Wheel 14 

The Old Water Mill 16 

Waterloo 18 

In the Happy Long Ago 20 

The Old Drinking Gourd 21 

A Spool of Silk 

Solitude 25 

Love's Triumph 26 

My Guiding Star 27 

Rhymes and Roses 28 

There's Nothing Dark About Her But Her 

Hair 29 

Blind Tom 30 

A Sonnet of the Season 31 

Euterpe 32 

Scarlet Days 33 

Her Eyes Are Brown 34 

The Naturalist 35 

Dedication 36 

Nearing the Meridian 37 

Our Pilgrimage 38 



Ante Nuptial 39 

Dr. Miles Saunders 40 

A Soliloquy 41 

Gold and Gossamer 

To the Mocking Bird 45 

A Rondel 46 

The Play is O'er 47 

A Rondeau 48 

The Red Bird. .. . 49 

Sunset in Breathitt 50 

Eyes Divine 51 

Jack Frost 52 

Ad Aquilam 53 

The Ice King in the South 54 

Fettered 56 

Helen of Troy 57 

Cow Bells 58 

Hollyhocks 59 

Burns 60 

Robert Loveman 61 

Books 62 

Songs Unsung 63 

The Rainbow's End 64 

Linen and Lace 

Down Lover's Lane 67 

Beneath the Chestnut Tree 68 

Jack and Jill 70 

Natura 71 

Her Eyes 73 

The Rose of Love 74 

My Jewels 76 



A Recollection 77 

The Moonshiners 78 

Silhouettes 83 

Wade 85 

A Song 86 

The Bloom of Love 88 

My Muse 89 

A Hank of Homespun 

The School of Skinny 93 

One-Armed Joe 95 

Wes Perkins 97 

The First Mess of Greens 98 

Wes Banks 100 

Philosophy at a Banquet 102 

Anent Halley's Comet 103 



PROEM 

Warp and woof from the loom of Life — 
A fabric wrought in endless strife: — 
Lights and shadows, night and day, 
A thousand tints of gold and gray — 
Ten thousand shades in leaf and bloom, 
WARP and WOOF from Life's great Loom. 



A SKEIN OF SILVER 



THE OLD-FASHIONED LOOM 

The old log house where Margaret lived, whose 
roof had mossy grown, 

Reposed amid its clump of trees, a queen upon her 
throne. 

The landscape round smiled proudly and the 
flowers shed sweet perfume, 

When Margaret plied the shuttle of the rude old- 
fashioned loom. 

The world has grown fastidious — demands things 

ever new — 
But we could once see beauties in the rainbow's 

every hue; 
The bee could then find nectar in a common clover 

bloom, 
And simple hearts hear music in the shuttle of the 

loom. 

The picture that my memory paints is never seen 
to-day — 

The April sun of by-gone years has lost its bright- 
est ray : 

A fancy-wrought piano in a quaint, antique old 
room, 

But Margaret sang her sweetest to the music of 
the loom. 

She wore a simple home-spun dress, for Marga- 
ret's taste was plain, 

Yet life was like a song to her, with work a sweet 
refrain. 

The sunshine filled her days with joy, night's 
shadows brought no gloom, 
11 



When Margaret plied the shuttle of the old, old" 
fashioned loom. 

Her warp of life was toiling hard, but love its 
beauteous woof, 

The web she wove, a character beyond the world's 
reproof. 

O girls of wealth and beauty vain, who dress in 
rich costume, 

How sweet the shuttle's music of this rare old- 
fashioned loom. 

The world may grow fastidious in art and nature 

too, 
And say there is no beauty in the rainbow's 

every hue; 
And yet the bee finds nectar in a common clover 

bloom, 
And I still love the music of the old, old-fashioned 

loom. 



12 



THE OLD OLD CLOCK 

Dear old Old Clock, thy grave tick tock 

I heard in my childhood days, 
In the solemn night, when the fire burned bright, 

And the lamp cast feeble rays; 
When grandmother close by the mantlepiece, 
Sat dozing or knitting, or carding fleece, 

Or watching the dying blaze; 
When mother was young and her beautiful hair 

Had never a silver thread; 
When her life was fair as her love was rare, 

In the years that have swiftly sped. 

Thy grave tick tock, dear old Old Clock, 

Unchanged through the changing years, 
Still beating time in a ceaseless rhyme 

To the dirge of the rolling spheres, — 
Unmindful that she by the mantlepiece 
Is gone with her knitting and carding fleece, — 

Unmoved by our sorrowing tears — 
Brings back the days when mother's hair 

Had never a silver thread, 
And the life still fair in its beauty rare 

When the snows had crowned her head. 



13 



THE OLD SPINNING WHEEL 

A cabin ! It nestled amid the green hills 

Where grew no bramble or thistle, — 
Mid meadows melodious with music and trills 
And song that the wild-throated mocking bird 
spills 

On the air from his marvelous whistle. 
No carpets were seen on the broad puncheon 
floors, 

No paintings that wealth would reveal; 
But a statue was there that Art can not know, 
That filled the rude room with a musical glow, — 

Twas Ruth at the Old Spinning Wheel! 

Long years have passed by; its music was stilled 

At rattle and whirr of machinery. 
And the pea-fowl now screams where the mocking 

bird trilled, 
And the landscape is dead where once the heart 
thrilled 

At wildwood and picturesque scenery. 
The opera may boast the diva of song, 

To me she makes no appeal; 
To flute obligato my heart is still dumb, 
But oh ! for the song and musical hum 

Of Ruth and the Old Spinning Wheel! 

She lived but a simple, plain rustic life, 
Yet charming in sooth was her beauty. 

In her untutored heart was love ever rife, 

The seat of no conflict, no struggle or strife 
'Twixt a selfish will and duty. 

I bow at her altar of beauty and truth, 
14 



At the shrine of her heart do I kneel, 
With a prayer no mortal ever lifted above, 
Till my soul is atune with the music of love 

She sings to the Old Spinning Wheel ! 

This unlettered maiden was poor, but high-bred, 

Oh, women of fashion, far above you! 
And I thrilled at the graceful poise of her head 
And the radiant smile of my love when she said, 

"Why James, you know that I love you." 
Nymph-like her lithe form swayed as in dance, 

I awkwardly sat at the reel — 
A moment's surcease of monotonous thrum, — 
Melodious the lull in the song and the hum 

Of Ruth and the Old Spinning Wheel! 

The glow of the incandescent light 

Has banished the tallow candle; 
And the ox-cart is gone at steam's rapid flight, 
But Love is too subtle, is too recondite 

For Learning or Genius to handle. 
All honor to Science, let her keep her mad pace, 

I abate not a tittle her zeal ; 
But the splendors of life can never efface 
The picture of Ruth in plain rustic grace 

Who wrought at the Old Spinning Wheel ! 



15 



THE OLD WATER MILL 

'Twas grinding day at the Old Water Mill, 

But holiday with me, 
For I knew ere I reached the foot of the hill 
And heard the voice of the happy rill, 

The miller's beautiful child was there 

That wore the tresses of sun-lit hair 
And smile of witchery; 

And the twittering swallows awhirl in the air, 
Told in their ecstacy 
That Rachel, the Golden Daffodil, 
Was blooming again by the Old Water Mill. 

Together we cross the moss-covered log 

That spans the old mill race, 
And we hear through the mists and rising fog 
The boom of the dam, the croak of the frog, 

That wakes, on the banks of the glinting stream, 

The violet tranced in her winter dream, 
Where lights and shadows lace; 

And the cowslip, like the meteor's gleam, 
Darts from her hiding-place, 
While the cataracts leap in their haste to fill 
The floats of the wheel at the Old Water Mill. 

We sit by the dam of the placid stream 

And watch the whirl and churn 
Of the pouring floods that bubble and steam 
And glitter and flash in the bright sunbeam, 
While steadily rolls the dripping wheel 
That slowly grinds the farmers' meal, 

Who restless wait their turn; 
But the lights in the miller's face reveal 
16 



Never the least concern, 
Who takes his toll, and whistles until 
The hopper is drained at the Old Water Mill. 

To-day we passed where the Old Water Mill 

Had stood in the long ago, 
But the cataracts leap no more on the hill, 
And the boom of the roaring dam is still, 

For the gleaming stream in its grief went dry, 

When the ruthless hand of Art passed by 
And laid the Old Mill low; 

And the violets, cold in death, now lie 
Wrapped in the glistening snow; 
And the biting air is crisp and chill 
Around the ruins of the Old Water Mill. 

And now we sit by the River of Time 

And gaze at the waves below, 
But its brink is covered by frost and rime, 
And we hear on the wind a muffled chime 

Proclaiming the end of a brief sojourn : 

Yet the floods of life still whirl and churn 
As the currents ebb and flow: — 

By the rolling wheel we wait our turn 
Calm, but ready to go! 
The hopper is drained, but unmoved still, 
The Miller who grinds in Time's Water Mill. 



17 



WATERLOO 

A meeting-house, no church at all, 

With stained cathedral glass, 
With lofty spire and arching hall, 

And terraced lawns of grass: 
No organ peals, no chanting choir, 

No frescoed walls that men admire 
Had this old meeting-house; 
But roses wild their petals piled 

About its sacred door, 
And locust bloom shed rich perfume, 

Upon the air, galore, 

Around the meeting-house. 

It stood upon a limpid stream 

My childhood thought divine, 
Whose waters pure did ever gleam 

Like shimmering shine of wine; 
It stood, alas! but stands no more 

Upon the bank or pebbly shore 
Of sunny Pleasant Run; 
Yet in my dreams, it often seems 

I see thee, Waterloo, 
And see the flash of beaded splash 

Upon the waters too, 

While crossing Pleasant Run. 

Yes, in my dreams, I often hear 
The songs they used to sing — 
Those solemn lays of reverent fear, 

When Christ indeed was King: 
Then sinners bowed when prayer was led 
By some poor saint the ravens fed 
At holy Waterloo. 

18 



How free from lust, the simple trust 
Of soul that worshipped there; 

How free from guile were men erstwhile 
Whose creed was song and prayer, 
The creed of Waterloo. 

The meeting days were always fair — 

God smiled on Waterloo! 
And mother rode the dark brown mare, 

And took the mule colt, too; 
For fashion then did not beguile 

A mother's heart with worldly wile, 
Ah! happy days agone! 
Oh! days no more when mothers wore 

Sunhood and riding skirt, 
And fathers dressed their Sunday best, 

A plain check-cotton-shirt, — 
Ah ! happy days agone ! 



The sunlight dances on the hills 

That shelter Waterloo; 
I see the gold of daffodils 

That bloom the meadow through — 
The hour has come, for meeting's broke, 

And now the simple country folk 
Are leaving Waterloo! 
The horses neigh; away, away! 

Away, but not for home; 
Grandma to-day, will smile and say, 

"My boy, my boy has come." 
Oh, blessed Waterloo! 



19 



IN THE HAPPY LONG AGO 

Yes, I see him, still he's sitting 

By his little cabin door ! 
Ah! but Dinah's gone! She left him 

For the shining, golden shore; 
Left old Isham where he's dreaming 

With his head bowed deep and low, 
Thinking only now of Dinah, 

And the happy long ago. 

Long the kinky wool was creamy, 

Now as white as any snow; 
And his eyes are red and dreamy, 

Thinking of the long ago. 
Massa sleeps beneath the ivy, 

Missus, where the daisies blow; 
Near them Dinah, and old Isham's 

Dreaming of the long ago; — 

Thinking of the days when Dinah 

Won old Missus' heart and praise, 
By her wondrous dainty cooking, 

And her charming well-bred ways: — 
When his own black arm was brawny — 

Swift the step that now is slow — 
When he stole the heart of Dinah, 

In the happy long ago. 

What care they for big corn shuckings? — 

Negroes versed in modern lore — 
" What a fool is poor old Isham 

Dozing by his cabin door!" 
Ah! I know why Isham's dreaming 

Where the gourd-vines twine and grow; 
He is living still with Dinah, 

In the happy long ago! 
20 



THE OLD DRINKING GOURD 

A deep alcove where clambering vine 
Enfashioned wreathes of green festoon, 
Where through the long, long afternoon 

No ray of summer's sultry shine 

E'er kissed the rustic grape-vine swing: 

High up the purpling muscadine 

Clung close to where the waters poured, 
And he saw the glint of the redbird's wing 
In the crystal wave of the mossy spring, 
As she stooped for the Old Drinking Gourd. 

The odor tint of elder bloom 

The zephyrs wafted through the spray. 

Was fresh as dew at dawn of day, 

Caught in the geometric loom, 

Arachne plies with subtle hand: 

A pigeon bathed his snowy plume, 

A fading speck the vulture soared; 

And a tide swept in across the sand 

As they stood on the brink of the golden 

strand 

And drank from the Old Drinking Gourd. 
***** 

A palace wrought of art sublime 

Where antique paintings haunt the walls, 
And gilded foot as silent falls 
In depths of plush, as flight of time, 

And liquid music softer blows 
Than Hymen's mellow golden chime: 
They plighted troth beneath the sword 

Of the knight that wore the blood red rose; 
But they drank of the cup that never flows 
From the bowl of the Old Drinking Gourd. 
21 



Now sunset spills his scarlet dyes 
Through fleecy rifts of snowy cloud, 
And night puts on her ebon shroud, 

And stars look out of wintry skies: 
Still spacious halls with revels ring 

Where chivalry with beauty vies, 
And red-wine flows at festive board. 
But oh! for the cove where the redbirds 
sing 

By the crystal wave of the mossy spring, 
And a draught from the Old Drinking Gourd. 



22 



A SPOOL OF SILK 



SOLITUDE 

To live alone where man nor beast e'er stood, 
Ten-thousand miles beyond the site of home; 
To walk at night the catacombs of Rome, 

Or dwell within some deep death-haunted wood; 

To feel like Bonaparte with power endued, 

Yet doomed to sleep beneath the starry dome, 
And listen to the ocean chafe and foam, — 

Not this, not all of these, is solitude. 

But oh, to be alone within the hive 

Of teeming life, where thousands live and move 
And have their shallow beings, — there to strive 

With doubt and faith, and feel the soul expand 
Beyond the utmost reach of those we love, 

And know that they can never understand. 



25 



LOVES TRIUMPH 

To Hart's Triumph of Chastity 
(destroyed by fire) 

Ah, shattered form, ihy beauty, chaste as frost, 

Once held in thrall the heart of lord and swain. 

While Cupid sped his strongest shafts in vain 
Thou didst not dream the price thy triumph cost, 
Or know thy charm would be forever lost, 

When Time with jealous wind or flood should 
stain 

Thy snowy brow in grime, or part in twain 
Thy marble heart in fervent holocaust! 

Thy spell is gone; but oh, the maid whose heart 
Was riven by the little wing-ed god 

That dipped his arrow in the scarlet stream 
Of my own life, shall triumph over Art 

And Time, — my love, whose ardent pulsing 
blood 
Shall quicken other lives and reign supreme! 



26 



MY GUIDING STAR 

Adrift alone on life's bleak ocean waste, 

Through starless nights and dreary sunless 

days; 
Wherever currents led o'er pathless maze, 

I plied the oars of aimless toil, and faced 

Defeat impatiently, nor ever traced 
One ray of hope along the murky haze 
Of life's horizon, till I caught the blaze 

Of one lone star, whose light was virgin-chaste. 

But now I sail through seas where fortune smiles, 
And not a cloud the brilliant sky doth mar ; 
For, ever twinkling near that blazing light, 
A little orb my every care beguiles : 

My radiant wife is that lone guiding star, 
My laughing blue-eyed boy its satellite ! 



27 



AFTER READING 

SAMUEL MINTURN PECK'S 

RHYMES AND ROSES 

The drowsy drone of honey-laden bees, 

The poppied breath of gardens blooming fair, 
The scent of elder blossoms, sweet and rare, 

Come stealing in on balmy southern breeze; 

And dying lays, whose long lost melodies 
Still haunt old storied ruins everywhere, 
Are dimly floating through the fragrant air — 

I dream beneath the blooming apple trees : 

A merry orchestra of nymphs and fays 

Has gathered in the pine-tree's elfin shade, 
With naid shell and fairy reed and string, 
While Mint urn Peck the magic baton sways. 
And when the band his "Rhymes and Roses" 
played, 
The dryads' voices made the woodlands ring! 



28 



THERE'S NOTHING 
DARK ABOUT HER BUT HER HAIR 

There's nothing dark about her but her hair! 
Her liquid eyes, as blue as Grecian seas, 
Affect me, like a moonlit southern breeze, 

From off the fields of sweet magnolias rare; 
Her sympathetic soul is pure and fair 
And spotless as the petals of a rose: 
Her gown is like a drift of northern snows — 

There's nothing dark about her but her hair! 

But oh, her hair, ye priests, ye gods, her hair! 
Those silken strands of raveled midnight wove 
Into a Cupid's mesh, a net of love ! 

Ah, I confess that I'm entangled there! 
But Susan's life's as spotless as a dove, — 

There's nothing dark about her but her hair. 



BLIND TOM 

Oh, happy, sad, mysterious, wondrous soul ! 

Imprisoned in a living dungeon deep 

The fates have bound thee; but they can not 
keep 
For ay that spirit in their dark control 
Who hear'st the music of the spheres that roll 

Through silent time ; those beauteous orbs that 
sweep 

Through space and glitter in the boundless deep, 
Will yet thy blind, benighted life console. 

What sin didst thou commit, or whom offend? 
That doomed thee to a carnal cell so gross 
That scarce a hint of what thou really art 
Has ever reached the world, — who couldst trans- 
cend 
In matchless music, purged of all thy dross, 
The great Beethoven or divine Mozart. 



30 



A SONNET OF THE SEASON 

The carol in my heart I send to you: 

It comes from out the depths of brooding time 

To cheer and bless in every place and clime ; 
To purge the false, to chasten and subdue; 
To lift the drooping life, inspire the true 

To nobler deeds and thoughts of love sublime. 

This anthem — which I sing in sonnet rhyme — 
Judean shepherds heard and angels knew ! 

And now we fear no longer war's alarms, 

For red-eyed Mars has fled at last our home : 

Christ took the little children in his arms 

And blessed them, saying, Suffer them to come 

To me that all the sons of men may find 

My kingdom here within the child-like mind. 



31 



EUTERPE 

O lyric muse, thou didst not tune alone 
The lyre that loving Orpheus smote 
With subtle touch and struck the golden note 

That pierced dread Pluto's heart of stone, 

And won again Eurydice his own; 

Nor yet Erate's lute, nor Sappho's throat 
That thrilled the ear in Grecian isles remote, 

Where Homer sang, and Art had built her throne : 

But thou, Euterpe, touched blind Milton's tongue, 
And swept the thousand chords of Shakespeare's 
soul ; 
Woke Byron from his hours of idle dream, 
And then he sang mankind a deathless song. 
But thou at last didst reach the lyric goal 
Of art in Tennsyon's immortal theme. 



32 



SCARLET DAYS 
To F. W. B. Family. 

Those scarlet days come back to me to-night 
Across the span of many happy years — 
Dreams, haunted by the music of the spheres, 

And glowing skies of gold and chrysolite. 

The world of science bursting on my sight, 
And words of wisdom falling on my ears, 

The rhythmic thought of poets, priests, and seers. 

Wrought in my life a spell of wild delight. 

Not all : three figures — Faith and Hope and Love — 

I see them still through years of mist and haze — 

Hope crowned with light, and Faith of godly 

ken; 

And Love was like a meek unconscious dove. 

Dear God, although I count those scarlet days, 

To-night I would not have them back again. 



33 



HER EYES ARE BROWN 

Her eyes are brown, oh, Edith's eyes are brown! 
I will not boast the midnight of her hair, 
Nor yet because her radiant cheek is fair, 

And like the touch of autumn's thistle down; 

I will not swear I have not seen her frown ; 
She may be rich and proud and debonair, 
For aught I know, I'm sure I do not care: 

But oh, her eyes, her eyes are Edith's crown ! 

I've gazed upon the stars of northern skies, 

And breathed the perfume of the southern 

breeze; 
I've listened to the boom of far-off seas 
On mystic shores; I've seen the full moon rise 
Through branch and bloom of old magnolia 
trees ! 
There's nothing like the thrill of Edith's eyes! 



34 



THE NATURALIST 

The shouts of happy boys he does not hear, 

Nor knows that wretched men must toil for 

bread; 
The tragedy of life he has not read, 

Or deems it but the comedy of fear : 

He never lifts his eyes above the ground 
To gaze upon the glittering world of stars ; 
The poet's richest music only mars 

The rasping of the locust's strident sound. 

And yet I've never seen a wilder light 

Glow in the beauteous eyes of dawning love, 

Than flashes from this strange man's soul at sight 
Of some rare flower he finds in mountain cove: 

Mere fungus, or the poisonous, dank mushroom, 

Enchants him more than rich magnolia bloom ! 



35 



DEDICATION 

(To H. H. T.) 

O soul responsive to the subtlest thought 
That flashes o'er the mind's electric wire, 
Or ever swept the strings of fancy's lyre 

To music learned in schools where Shakespeare 
taught : 

O thou who knowest the springs whence Sappho 
caught 
Love's brimming cup that did her song inspire, 
Yet dost my plain, unlettered muse admire, 

Who lived in better days when maidens wrought — 

To thee, I dedicate my fondest rhymes 

In memory of happy days of yore, 
Together on the Cumberland, where Ruth, 
The charming rustic maid of olden times 

First won our love, less for her lack of lore, 
Than for her sweet simplicity and truth. 



36 



NEARING THE MERIDIAN 

(To M. E. W.) 

I dream to-night of happy childhood days; 

I see two humble homes and thrill with joy; 

The years come back when I was but a boy, 
And you had ringlets for the gods to praise : 
The old Old Swing, the fields of golden maize ; 

The moving pictures in the clouds above; 

The mating birds, their nests, their songs of 
love — 
All this, dear Lord, through years of mist and 
haze! 

And then I turn and look beyond the Shade, 
And those who wrought for us are waiting there : 
Our mothers with their crowns of silver hair, 

And radiant smiles of love that will not fade; 
Our fathers with the keys to all the creeds 
Are there still strong in faith and pure in deeds. 



37 



OUR PILGRIMAGE 

(To the Canterbury Club) 

The merry band that started long ago 

Upon their journey to a-Becket's saintly shrine, 
Were happy that a poet's pen divine 

Inspired by all a genial wit can know, 

Or sympathetic human heart bestow, 
Recorded in immortal rhythmic line, 
As sweet as breath of old Provencal wine, 

Their pilgrim tales and songs of joy and woe. 

We start to-night upon our pilgrimage, 

Who worship at a holier shrine than they — 
The living temple of the sacred muse : 
May she who is our patron saint infuse, 
Illume our souls ; and raise some Pen, I pray, 
To leave the world a noble heritage. 



ANTE NUPTIAL 

{To a Physician engaged to a Nurse) 

When young Dan Cupid dipped his fiery shaft 
Deep in the liquid blue of Psyche's eyes, 
Then took three strands of raveled midnight 
skies 

And strung his silver bow with these, and laughed, 

Thy doom, O son of Esculapius' craft, 
Was sealed: — the fatalest dart that flies 
Is Eros' bolt, and surest of its prize — 

And now, physician, take thy healing draft. 

Ah, no: it is not unto death, but life, 

That thou art sick, although pierced through the 
heart ! 

Wondrous disease that no physician's art 
Can heal, that will not yield to surgeon's knife, — 

A blessed wound that ever must grow worse. 

How fortunate, O man, that she's a nurse ! 



39 



DR. MILES SAUNDERS 

He held the key to every mystic door 

Of Egypt's shrine; he knew the sacred rite 
Of druid, sage and seer; and loved the light 

Of Babylonian and Assyrian lore: 

He saw old Enoch when he walked with God; 
He watched Elijah smite the prophets dead; 
He knew the Israelites whom Moses led; 

And looked upon the bloom of Aaron's rod ! 

And yet this man who gazed on gods and kings, 
And saw and felt whatever mortal can, 
Was like his Christ, the lowly Son of Man, 

A tender minister in humble things. 
He had a royal mind, a priestly ken; 

But best of all he loved and helped young men. 



40 



A SOLILOQUY 

{To F. K. G.) 

The beauteous sun sank to an awful gloom; 

The stars came out and mocked at my despair; 

The flowers that thronged the wayside smiling 
fair, 
Had lost the subtle charm of scent and bloom : 
The world was dull and vapid as the tomb. 

I watched a myriad lovers, pair by pair, 

And heard their shouts of joy burst on the air, 
Until my heart grew callous at its doom. 

When ten and seven weary cycles passed, 
The pent-up sunshine of a thousand years 
Burst on the scene and filled the hills and 

vales 
With light and love and song and fairy tales, 
And dried the very source and fount of tears. 
Ye gods, the light of love, at last, at last ! 



41 



GOLD AND GOSSAMER 



TO THE MOCKING BIRD 

Whence is thy song, 

Voluptuous soul of the amorous South! 
Oh ? whence the wind, the rain, the drouth; 
The dews of eve ; the mists of morn ; 
The bloom of rose; the thistle's thorn; 
Whence light of love; whence dark of scorn; 
Whence joy; whence grief; Death, born of 

wrong — 
Ah! whence is life ten-thousand passions throng?- — 
Thence is thy song ! 

Thou singest the rage of jealous Moor, 

The passionate love of Juliet; 

Thy villainous art can weave a net 

With shreds of song, that never yet 
Hath lover escaped, however noble and pure. 

Ophelia's broken heart is thine, 
And Desdemona's, true and good; 
Thou paintest the damn-ed spot of blood 

That will not not out in stain or line ! 
Oh Lear! Oh Fool! Oh Witch! Macbeth! 
And wondrous Hamlet in a breath! 

Who knows thy heart? thy song? thy words? 

Thou Shakespeare in the realm of birds ! 



45 



A RONDEL 

October, queen of autumn days, 

With green and crimson leaves is crowned; 

Her russet cheeks are sun-embrowned, 
Her hair all golden in the haze : 

She sits upon a throne ablaze, 

Her limbs with royal robes are gowned — 
October, queen of autumn days, 

With green and crimson leaves encrowned* 

But now o'erwhelmed in sad amaze 
She hears a far-off rising sound; 
The hills and booming seas resound; 

The plaintive wind her requiem plays — 

October, queen of autumn days. 



46 



THE PLAY IS O'ER 

The play is o'er! Great Wolsey's dead — 
That scarlet power once England's dread; 
And lustful Henry's brutal sin 
Hath slain the noble Catharine, — 
More stainless wife was never wed. 

Anne Boleyn shares the royal bed 
And wears upon her graceless head 

The good queen's crown without chagrin- 
The play is o'er! 

A few brief months have swiftly sped, 
The faithless consort's blood is shed. 

What means the mighty noise within? 

The trumpet's blare, the cymbal's din? 
Jane Seymour's to the altar led, — 
The play is o'er! 



47 



A RONDEAU 

His heart was pure : he loved the child 
That dwelt among untrodden ways 
And dared to lift his voice in praise 

Of humblest wight in highlands wild. 

Poor, wretched man by sin defiled, 
He sang in sympathetic lays — 
His heart was pure. 

The blithe cuckoo and daisy mild, 
The daffodils, like elfin fays, 
The mystery of sunset haze 

O'er barren moors, his pen beguiled — 
His heart was pure. 



48 



THE RED BIRD 

Animated, flashing, flame of scarlet, 
Teasing, tantalizing, madcap varlet, 
Glooming, glinting through the boughs, 
Making, breaking lover's vows; 
Dashing leader of the choir, 
Standing on the topmost spire, 
Scintillating song and fire, 

Calls me: Come up — come up — higher, higher, 
higher! 

Daytime meteor trailing light, 
Like a shooting star at night — 
Just a moment of delight, 

Followed by a mad desire : 
But the flaming flash of scarlet, 
Tantalizing madcap varlet, 
Hiding from my aching sight — 

This time just a little nigher — 
Laughing from his le fy height, 

Mocks me: Come up— come up — higher, higher, 
higher! 



49 



SUNSET IN BREATHITT 

Through purple haze of evening mountain mist, 
A spiral thread of dark blue smoke arose 
From hidden cove and rugged steep defile; 
While like a ball of blood o'er some far magic 
isle, 
The sun a moment hung in deep repose, 
Above a placid sea of amethyst, 
In mystic prophecy of death and doom, — 
Then dropped and splashed the skv with crimson 
spray and spume! 



50 



EYES DIVINE 

His eyes divine were shot with light 
Like flashes in a northern night, 

Magnetic gleam that wrought a spell 
On whom its star-like shimmer fell — 
A spell of wonder and delight; — 

Enchantment such as gods excite 
With glowing depths of chrysolite, 
Or blooming beds of asphodel — 
His eyes divine! 

In metaphysics recondite, 
In realms of verse by royal right 
Of Genevieve and Christabel 
The first upon the mystic shell; 
And yet his greatest charm and might 
Were eyes divine! 



51 



JACK FROST 

In a pixy chariot, drawn, 

Not by deer, but elfin fawn, 

Thou hast come, Jack Frost and gone. 

Silently, unheralded, 

O'er the earth thy chariot sped; 

Dear Jack Frost, where hast thou fled? 

Thou the child 's and poet's friend, 
Brings 't us blessings without end, 
Joys the world can not transcend. 

Naught but beauty now r remains- 
Flowers, ferns and fairy fanes, 
Wrought upon the window panes; 

Fields and forests all aglow, — 
Colors only thou dost know : 
How the heart doth overflow! 

Purple clusters thine and mine, 
Winter-wild and muscadine, 
Bursting with the wine of vine ! 

Haws, persimmons, berries red, 
Nuts the earth have overspread — 
Dear Jack Frost, why hast thou fled? 

Old Chris we hail w T ith all his boast, 

His jolly fun and merry cost, 

But oh, we love Jack Frost, Jack Frost! 



52 



AD AQUILAM 

"Bird of the broad and sweeping wing," 
bird of whom the poets sing, 
emblem of the noblest thing 

Of which mankind can boast! 
Didst thou but know thy image decked 
That which commands the world's respect, 
And makes kings kneel as slaves abject 

To it, their god, almost: 
Then thou wouldst soar to greater height 
Than e'er attained by birds of flight, 
To show the eagle's power and might, 

With wings unfurled and stiff; 
And at that dizzy height survey 
The sea and land without dismay, 

Till weary, sink at close of day 

Upon thy mountain cliff: 

And there secure from all the world, 
Nestle, with plumed wings closely furled 
That sustained thee and o'er earth whirled 

Thee with a haughty air. 
Ambitions would disturb thy dreams, 
The night air shudder with thy screams, 
And like the human soul that teems 

With vain-glorious care, 
Thy heart would ache, thy soul would long, 
To move the world, to sway the throng, 
Or be the hero of the song 

Of some great epi • pen. 
'Tis well, O bird that thou art free 
To soar the air, 'tis well with thee, 
'Tis well that thou hast eyes to see, 

But not the human ken. 
53 



THE ICE-KING IN THE SOUTH 

He came, proud monarch of the Land of Snows, 
Triumphant, in his argent chariot, decked 

With jewels mined in regions of the polar zones ! 
He came! his fifty snow steeds were swift 
As howling north-winds, and their flowing manes 

Were flecked with diamonds brighter than 
Brazillian stones! 
He came! To celebrate his triumph, first 
He spread a fleecy mantle o'er the earth — 

A frozen shroud symbolic of the Death he 
wrought. 
And then to every pendent branch he hung 
A glittering sword, — the tyrant's right to rule, — 

Demanding greater homage than ever warrior 
sought. 

More brilliant pageant than the Ice-King's in 
The Land of Flowers, never graced return 

Of oriental monarch from victorious wars. 
But oh ! beneath the sparkle and the gleam 
Of crystal beauty beats an icy heart, 

And a sullen silence his splendid triumph mars ; 
The waterfalls that leap from jutting ledge 
In happy song, are speechless as the tomb, 

And every melody that haunts the woods and 
streams 
Has vanished from the earth, and Nature's voice 
That erstwhile woke the matin in the mead 

Is silent now as music of forgotten dreams. 

Back to thy home in the icy Land of Snows, 
O tyrant czar! No cringing southern heart 
Pays honor to thy rich magnificence and power. 
54 



Back with thy splendor and thy glistening gems! 
This is the land where every freeman bows 

But to the Queen alone, whose sceptre is the 
flower. 
Back, that our sovereign may usher in 
The reign of love with sunshine and with song, 

And drive away the gloom from every southern 
hearth. 
Back rude invader ! to Siberian climes ! 
And let our royal daughter, Spring, return 

To fill with happiness and beauty all the earth. 



55 



FETTERED 

Within the tented dome where pheasant rare, 
With brilliant plumage caught the public gaze, 
Or magpie won applause by vulgar phrase 

Picked up from idle crowd that thronged the fair, 

A pensive nightingale, unnoticed there, 

In silence sat and heard men's lavish praise 
Of these, yet all unmindful dreamed of lays 

In freedom she might pour upon the air. 



56 



HELEN OF TROY 

Helen of Troy, thy face was fair, 
And fair thy radiant golden hair, 
Thy form, in every molded part, 
But not thy false and fickle heart, 
Helen of Troy. 

Betrayed by Aphrodite's wiles, 
Oenone's life lost all its smiles, 
And tasted sorrow to the lees, 
When Paris sailed for sunset seas, 
Where reigned the queen of all the isles. 

Thy beauty, poignant as a dart, 
Drave god-like men to wild despair, 
And lit the skies with lurid glare : 
But oh, thy false and fickle heart, 
Helen of Troy! 



57 



COW BELLS 

Oh, the distant muffled tinkling 

Of the cow bells in the vale, 
When the dawning stars are twinkling 
And the silent dews are sprinkling 

Fresh the daisies in the dale. 
How they flood the soul with music 

Sad as song of nightingale — 
Tinkling melodies of magic, 
Vague, uncertain, longing, tragic, — 

Just the cow bells in the vale ! 



58 



HOLLYHOCKS 

It may not be quite orthodox 

To say so in society, 
And yet I think the hollyhocks, 

Of every known variety, 
That bloom and bless the humble home, 

Are sisters sweet of charity, — 
Fair nuns that wear a beauteous cowl, — 
God's priestesses unto the soul 
That lives in righteous poverty. 



59 



BURNS 

Acrostic 

Warm-hearted bard, in thee I find 
Infinite soul, irradiant mind; 
Long-suffering worth and love refined 

Lent thee their ken. 
In Robert Burns the heart enshrined 

E'en mice and men. 



60 



ROBERT LOVEMAN 

He knows Will Shakespeare's human heart 

And feels his godlike brain; 
And sings his soul a kindred part 

In rondeau and quatrain. 



61 



BOOKS 

"Tis early morn and on the green 

The children are at play; 
The sunlight falls in sparkling sheen, 

Their hearts are blithe and gay: 
A shadow flits across the scene — 

The hour has come that sadness brings, 

The master rings, the master rings, 
'Tis books! 

'Tis late at eve, and o'er the green 

The weary toilers pass; 
The shadows fall, the sky's serene, 

And dew is on the grass : 
A light breaks in upon the scene — 

The hour has come that gladness brings, 

The Master rings, the Master rings, 
'Tis books! 



SONGS UNSUNG 

Unvoic-ed songs that always die 

On the strings of the harp that gives them birth, 
The flutter of hope, a breath, a sigh, 
The song nor asks nor gives a why — 

The poet's song he deems most worth. 



The silent music of the heart is sweet 

To listen to. The slow and measured beat 

Of the imprisoned soul that finds a voice 

In melodious sound oxt may rejoice 

Us much; but that which sometimes plays on 

strings 
Too fine to sympathize with words e'er sings 
The sweetest melodies, though never heard 
Except by ear of him whose soul is stirred. 



63 



THE RAINBOW'S END 

In childhood's fairy hour I watched a bow 
The Titian Sun had painted in the skies, 
And marveled at its wondrous hues and dyes, 

And held my breath in silence at its glow; 

"The hand of God," I cried, "Divine, I know'" 
And at the thought the tears stood in my eyes. 
But when I heard that awful pack of lies 

About the pot of gold, I said, " 'S that so!" 



64 



LINEN AND LACE 



DOWN LOVER'S LANE 

Down Lover's Lane the creamy spray 
Of elder blooms enchants the way, 
And dappled shadows sport and play, 

Down Lover's Lane! 
Here happy redbirds glint and gloom, 
The wildrose sheds a sweet perfume, 
But death oft lurks in leaf and bloom, 

Down Lover's Lane. 



67 



BENEATH THE CHESTNUT TREE 

Long years ago in childhood's hour, 
Beneath an old Beech Tree, 

A sweeter and a daintier flower 
Than ever graced a lea. 

Unfolded all its beauteous bloom 

And shed its rich and rare perfume 
Alone, alone for me. 

The dewdrop sparkling on the rose 

Is fresh and fair to see; 
I love the lily when it blows 

And rocks the cradled bee; 
But fairer than the diamond dew 
Or lily, was the flower that grew 

Beneath the old Beech Tree. 

Rose-petaled with a golden fringe, 

And calyx to agree; 
A dash of sea-foam and a tinge 

Of sky in harmony; 
The subtile perfume sunny smiles, 
And sunnier love, though but a child's, 

Beneath an old Beech Tree. 

One morn I sought the cooling shade 
With heart as light and free 

As snowy whitecap ever played 
Upon the bounding sea; 

But she, the fairy child, was gone, — 

The flower that grew for me alone — 
Beneath the old Beech Tree. 

The brooks still ran the hills among 

And babbled on in glee; 
The birds still mated, loved and sung 
68 



In tuneful melody : 
But all the soul of song was lost; 
My flower had withered with the frost 

Beneath the old Beech Tree. 

The years ran on in golden sands 

For lovers rapidly; 
The flowers waved their magic wands 

And smiled still joyously: 
But love's enchanting power was gone 
For me whom Death had left alone 

Beneath the old Beech Tree. 

****** 

The moonlight sifting through the leaves 

Fell soft and silvery, 
As threads that sly Arachne weaves 

With artful modesty; 
It fell and wove a mystic veil 
About her face; my cheek grew pale 

Beneath the Chestnut Tree. 

A breathless moment, all was still; 

A deep solemnity 
Hung over earth, — and then a thrill 

Of love and mystery — 
An odor of a rare perfume, 
The sweetest flower that e'er did bloom 

Beneath the Chestnut Tree! 

The brooks now run the hills among 

And babble on in glee; 
For love brought back the soul of song 

Beneath the Chestnut Tree; — 
Brought back, while moonlit breezes blew 
The sweetest flower that ever grew, 

Alone, alone for me. 
69 



JACK AND JILL 

We played beside the little rill 

That flows to larger river; 
We heard the mating mock-birds trill, 
The robins piped upon the hill, 

And Cupid strung his little bow and filled his 
little quiver: 
Then she, we played, was little Jill, 

And I was Jack, her lover. 

But floating down the little stream 

Toward the larger river, 
The rippling of the waves did seem 
The fading music of a dream, 

For Cupid broke his silver bow and lost his 
golden quiver; 
And Jill forgot the hour supreme 

When I was Jack, her lover. 



70 



NATURA 

beauteous maid, my heart is thine; 
I lay its dearest offering at thy feet; 

1 burn its sweetest incense on thy shrine, 
For thou, sweet maid, art all divine, 

For worship thou art meet. 

Let those who never felt the glow 

That summer suns have spread o'er flowery 
meads, 
Whose hearts have never thrilled at arch-ed 

bow, 
Or when the cascade's crystal flow 
Is sparkling into beads, 

Deny thy charms. To me thy smile 

Is sweeter boon than untried worlds can 
yield; 
No creed of priests can ever lure me while 
Thy wondrous love so free from guile, 
Is every where revealed. 

The severing clouds at early dawn 
Blush red as roses bursting into bloom 

At thy deft touch; and on the dewy lawn 

The drapery of night withdrawn 
I find no hint of gloom. 

And when at noon the streets I quit 

For dappled shade or thickest leafy bower, 
Then, blushing, thou dost come with me to 

sit 
And read the poems thou hast writ 
In leaf and tint of flower. 
71 



At evening walking arm in arm 

With thee through glen or by the river's 
brink, 
I watch the shades descend o'er distant farm 
And still the world has lost no charm 

That soul can wish or think. 

The loom of fancy never wove 

Beneath the starlit skies of southern seas 
A dream of beauty thy enchanting love 
On hill or stream or sheltered cove, 

Or on the open leas 

Has not supplied; and thou, sweet maid, 
Dost never weary, but from day to day, 

And season unto season, every shade 

In sky or cloud is new inlaid 
With colors soft or gay. 

Yon mountain late enrobed in snow 

Thou clothest now in dress of shimmering 
green ; 

Ere long another garb wilt thou bestow 

Upon her, lest thy lover grow 
Aweary of the scene. 

And when the sheen of summer sky 

Shall fade into October's sombre gray, 
And Autumn's gayest flowers a-withered lie, 
For me yon mountain thou wilt tie 
Into a rare bouquet. 



72 



HER EYES 

I dare not look again ! 

In those vast depths of infinite blue 
There are visions of joy and love as true 
As ever haunted a poet's ken. 
This sordid earth's my lot; 
Those dreams must be forgot — 
I dare not look again. 

I dare not look again ! 

Those dreams must be forgot 

The infinite blue, with its love so true 
And the visions I dare not pen. 

This sordid earth's my lot. 
Heavens ! might I but look again ! 



73 



THE ROSE OF LOVE 

The flowers closed their autumn bloom 

Awhile the bleak winds blew, 
And meekly bowing to their doom 
They lay in shroud of frozen gloom 

The whole long winter through. 

There's ever been the same sad tale 

To tell of Nature's loves; 
Her artful methods never fail 
To win the hearts they once assail, 

Though she inconstant proves. 

Last spring I heard the whisperings low 

To modest Daffodil 
That won her smile ere yet the snow 
Had melted and begun its flow 

Adown the little rill. 

And soon her soft caresses proved 

Too much for Meadow Rue; 
And next Anemone was moved; 
Spring Beauty whom the nymphs had loved 

In shady woods to woo. 

But some less trustful, still were slow 

To yield their loves' perfume, 
Till, melted by the summer's glow, 
They let their pent-up passions flow 

Through many colored bloom. 

But Nature soon withdrew her smile: 
I saw their petals pale 

74 



And droop, now conscious of the guile 
Their fickle lover used the while 

She wooed them in the vale. 

****** 

All winter I had breathed upon 

The clos-ed bud of love; 
Its milk-white petals, one by one 
At last unfolded in the sun 

My heart had longed to prove. 

And when it reached its full broad blow 

It shed a fragrance sweet 
From out its bosom lilied snow, — 
And incense that the gods I know 

Had smiled with joy to greet. 

****** 

And Nature now begins again 

Her courtship with the flowers; 
She chants in groves her minstrel strain, 
She smiles, and frowns, and weeps in rain 
Of gentle April showers. 

And while she tries with song of thrush 

Once more those hearts to move, 
I've seen her oft relentless crush, — 
My bud still blooms forever fresh — 
It is the Rose of Love! 



75 



MY JEWELS 

His little Blue Dress is hidden away 
From the eyes of the vulgar world,— 

And the dear little Shoes, — more precious are 
they 
Than silver or gold empearled — 

Jewels that lure like the stars above, 

Hidden from all but the eyes of love. 

I watched him oft with a mother's heart 
As he played with his dear little toys; 

But now he is gone, and I sit apart 

And muse of those vanished joys; — 
Dream of his eyes and his beautiful hair, 
And thrill with the love of a sweet despair. 

The gaze of the vulgar world today 
Would only my jewels abuse; 
And this is the reason I hid them away, — 
The little Blue Dress and the Shoes: 
And I pray that in death my eyes may caress 
The dear little Shoes and the little Blue Dress. 



76 



A RECOLLECTION 

Clouds of sorrow cannot hide 
Gleams of sunshine gilding hours 
Of happy memory, sweet as flowers 

Ever blooming by the wayside, 
Thronged with thorn and thistle. 

Reapers binding sheaves of plenty, 

Think the golden dreams of twenty 
Thrill them deepest; and the whistle 

Of some lone love-dreaming bird 
In the meadow, wakes to memory 
Notes now hushed, but sweeter than the 

Ear of mortal ever heard. 

'Neath the cliffs near by the river 
Long cymes of honey-suckle grew, 
Odorous in the air; and the violet, too, 
Entangling with the phlox, and ever 

Entessellated beds of petal'd mosaic 
Stretching out before us, rich 
As the drapery of a dream in which 

The toil of life was not prosaic. 
Neither can the hungry ear 
Enfashion music softer, sweeter, 
Drawn from lyre, than the meter- 
Rippling cascade trinkling near. 



77 



THE MOONSHINERS 

Where the trailing arbutus filled the cove 
With a perfume as sweet as the breath of love, 
And the mountain ivy's astral bloom 
Made radiant light of the darkest gloom, 
A maiden dwelt as stainless the while 
As the bay tree's bloom in the steep defile; 
And she loved a youth with a heart as true 
As ever has beaten for me or you. 

Soon summer passed and the autumn came 
With its goldenrod and its sumac flame, 
With its tinge of frost and its blood-red blush 
That made every shrub a burning bush. 
Then love became passion for maiden and youth; 
All vision had vanished and life was now truth ; 
And they heard a voice in the flaming tree 
Which told them that marriage was nature's 
decree. 

When the spring beauties came and winter had 

fled 
Sue Winn and Josh Bell were happily wed; 
And the cowslips that bloomed in the side of the 

glen 
Were fragrant as roses in the gardens of men. 
Their home was a cabin, the mountain above 
Was rugged and rough, and their fortune was love: 
But a cabin with love and vigor and health 
Is better than sin in a palace of wealth. 

The seasons passed by and a few brief years 
Brought bountiful crops to these mountaineers; 
78 



And their children that played round the great 

hollyhocks 
Wore the sunniest curls and the cleanest of frocks; 
And old-fashioned sunflowers smiled at their door 
Midst beautiful pinks and pansies galore; 
And the mountain redbirds flashed and flew 
Around the rude cabin of Josh and Sue. 

Ah, little you know, ye daughters of Jove, 
The sweetness of poverty wedded to love; 
Untrammeled by fashion, unsated by sin, 
With the feeling that life and the dewdrop are kin. 
Ah, little you know who dwell among men 
The freedom and freshness of mountain and glen, 
Where the Diva of Nature gives her grand matinee 
In the opera of Love from a rich elder spray ! 

Yet the earth holds few spots where the winds 

never blow, 
And summer's not followed by the bleak winter 

snow : 
But the harvest will fail both the rich and the 

poor 
In the deep fertile valley, on the thin heathy moor. 
Thus Susan grew ill and Joshua found 
His corn crop was short, his wheat was unsound, 
That drouth and disease had stricken his home 
With a hand that poverty couldn't overcome. 

Ah, little you care who dwell high above 
For the hardships of poverty wedded to love; 
Whose awful temptations you never can know, 
When the unfeeling winds of adversity blow; 
When the loved one is lying all helpless abed, 
79 



And children are crying and begging for bread. 

Yes, little you dream, ye rich sons of Jove 

Of the trials of love in a rough mountain cove. 

Josh Bell battled bravely, and fought sin and 

wrong 
And the mighty temptation with a heart true and 

strong; 
But Susan grew weaker, till bright bloomed the 

rose 
That ever the blanched cheek of consumption 

shows. 
"I must save her," he cried, "Oh, God, let the 

cost 
Be my life; if she dies, I am lost, I am lost!" 
And Joshua Bell smote his breast with a blow 
That only the frenzy of a lover can know. 

At a deep hour of night when the hoot of the owl 
Made the dark glen as lonesome as haunt of a cowl, 
Josh Bell left his cabin for a cave in the hill, 
And began the erection of a small mountain still. 
For weeks here he labored at midnight alone, 
With a firm resolution and a heart like a stone : 
Then his own golden corn he had gathered in sheaf, 
He now husked in darkness and stole like a thief. 

Ah, Joshua Bell, the world does not know 
The depth of thy grief, the weight of thy woe, — 
The conflict of conscience and love in thy breast, 
The struggle of duty and shame unconfessed. 
Thy act is a crime in the eyes of the law, 
No matter the motive, it weighs not a straw; 
No matter the liquid distilled be as dew 
That drips from the stem and chalice of rue. 
80 



But the comforts of life that lessen the pain 

Of those whom we love, ease conscience and brain; 

And Josh half forgot the cave in the hill, 

And the white sparkling liquor that flowed from the 

still, 
When Sue smiled and said, "By thy great sacrifice 
Of unceasing toil and love without price, 
I am better to-day; with return of the spring 
We can labor together where the brown thrushes 

sing." 

Thus Josh kept his secret, and the daffodils came 
That bloom but for those unworthy of blame; 
And Sue never knew that the gold and the gain 
Was purchased with liquor distilled from their 

grain. 
But the sleuth-hounds of law found the cave in 

the hill 
At a late hour of night and raided the still; 
Then surrounded the cabin, and woke Josh and 

Sue 
And demanded surrender of the moonshiners, too. 

With Winchester rifle Josh leaped from his couch, 
"I'll never surrender, nor cower, nor crouch 
To cowardly villains that plunder the poor, 
In the guise of the law; who crosses my door, 
Had best make his peace with the angels above; 
By my life I'll protect the darlings I love. " 
Like a lion at bay, the flash of his eye, 
Told the brave mountaineer would shield them or 
die. 

But the torch of the raiders lit a red flame that 
stung 

81 



The stout hearted Josh like a vile adder's tongue, 

Till he rushed from his cabin in madness and swore 

He would save Sue and children or sleep never- 
more. 

But a flash from a rifle sent a ball through his 
brain, 

And Joshua Bell never breathed once again. 

And his loved ones perished in the flame and the 
smoke 

Of his own little cabin he had hewn from the oak. 

When the morning has climbed up the high 

eastern hill 
And the sunlight is dancing on ripple of rill, 
The coroner summons a jury and feigns 
An inquest of law o'er the ghastly remains. 
The verdict is heard with whoop and hurrah : 
"These moonshiners died at the hands of the law; 
Let all men beware," the coroner cried, 
"The murder of outlaws is just homicide. " 



82 



SILHOUETTES 

The flickering carbon threw a stream 
Of bluish light over the sleety street. 
Men and women everywhere were hurrying home- 
ward, 
Shivering for the comfort that was gleaming 
Through many a window from blazing hearths 

within. 
The freezing rain was biting like an adder. 
Down the icy thoroughfare, 
Muffled deep in furs and ulster, 
Madly rushed the Wall-street banker, 
Plunging through the storm and shadow, 
Impatient for the shelter of his mansion. 
No wonder that he heeded not the darkling figure 
Of a little homeless waif that crouched 
Beneath the jutting frieze and cornice 
Of a rich Corinthian window; — 
No wonder, for the night was bitter, 
And his mansion yet two blocks away ! 
No wonder either that the wanderer 
Neither saw nor heard the banker, 
Though his tread was swift and heavy, 
For a mighty storm was raging ! 
Yet above the noise and howling 
Of the wind and rain and tempest, 
The outcast heard the shoeless footfall 
Of a little homeless brother, 
Lost amid the blinding shadows. 
And soon they slept, secure and thankful, 
Though the maddening storm grew fiercer, — 
Slept, but dreamed: 
The window rose a richer mansion 
Than ever sheltered Wall-street banker — 



A castle wrought of childish fancy, 
More beauteous than the pen of romance 
Has pictured of the days of chivalry. 
But their little dreaming childhood, 
Painted no baronial robber, 
Saw no haughty plumed tiara, 
Heard no clank in Norman donjon. 
In the palace, dream-constructed, 
Where the little waifs lay nestled 
In each other's arms fraternal, 
Love had built a shining altar, 
War had laid aside his armor, 
And the knights that there assembled 
Were their little homeless brothers, 
Gathered from the ranks of sorrow, 
Orphans, outcasts, gamin, wanderers, 



84 



WADE 

Out of the infinite depths of love, 

Floated a spirit song, 
Plaintive and sad as coo of dove, 
Burdened for sin and wrong- 
So tender and sweet the melody, 
None heard that song but he. 

Out of the days of childhood joys, 

Faded the smile of light; 
The sun that dazzled other boys, 
For him was never bright : 
The birds sang sweet on every tree- 
All heard their songs but he. 

Out of the realms of infinite light, 

A song of infinite glee; 
The faded smile of joy grew bright, 
"Mother is waiting for thee." 
So tender and sweet the melody, 
None heard that song but he. 



85 



A SONG 

In the mountains of Kentucky, 

Where the ivy's astral bloom 
And the laurel's waxen petals 

Shed a rich and rare perfume; 
Where the purple rhododendron 

And the wild forget-me-not 
Bloom in amorous profusion 

Round a little mossy grot. 
It was there I left Rowena, 

She is waiting now for me, 
While I linger here impatient, 

For my love I long to see. 
Oh, but soon I know I'll see her, 

And never more we'll part — 
In the mountains of Kentucky, 

Lives my own, my true sweetheart. 

Refrain 

She's a fairy, I'll admit, a little airy; 

But her eyes are like the blue Aegean sea: 
And her auburn hair, it would drive you to 
despair, 

For Rowena 's heart is true to none but me. 

In the mountains of Kentucky, 

Though the grass may not be blue, 
Yet the streams are swift and sparkling, 

And Rowena's heart is true: 
And I love the lofty mountains, 

And the deep and darkling coves, 
Where the redbirds gloom and glimmer, 

And Rowena lives and loves. 



'Tis the home, they say, of feudist, 

Where the hand of man is red; 
But I know a hundred places, 

Where blood's as wanton shed: 
Yet no spot in all creation 

Has a sky of such a hue — 
In the mountains of Kentucky 

Lives my sweetheart pure and true. 

Refrain 

In the Blue-grass of Kentucky 

Now Rowena waits for me, 
With a brood of little fairies 

That my heart so longs to see; 
For their eyes are bright and sparkling 

As the drops of diamond dew — 
In the Blue-grass of Kentucky, 

Live my sweethearts pure and true : 
Yes, I love the lofty mountains, 

And the deep and darkling cove, 
Where the redbirds gloom and glimmer, 

And the sky is bright above; 
But one spot to me is dearer 

Than all the world apart, 
In the Blue-grass of Kentucky, 

Lives my own, my true sweetheart. 

Refrain 



87 



THE BLOOM OF LOVE! 

(Double Acrostic) 

Romance by the little stream, 

Where the wild-rose blooms so fair; 
Oh, who would mar that happy dream 

I see enacted there? 
Beauteous orioles are they — 

Little timid, tongueless birds — 
Each listening to the voiceless lay, 

Love strives to put in words. 
Roses drop their petals round; 

In the air a sweet perfume; 
Till time no longer baffles sound — 

Eternal love hath burst its bloom! 



88 



MY MUSE 

Oh ! couldst thou know her faithful art ! 

When troubled dreams disturb the brain, 

Though rattling sleet be on the pane, 
Beneath the window of my heart, 

I hear her cheering strain — 
My Muse who never will depart 

For life's cold wintry rain. 



89 



A HANK OF HOMESPUN 



THE SCHOOL OF SKINNY 

Have you never heard the story of the good old 

country school 
With its rude split-bottomed benches and its 

ancient dunce's stool? 
Where Webster's Blue-back Speller was the only 

standard text, 
And supplied the place of grammar that our late 

forefathers vexed; 
Where they never heard of Latin or the Greek 

subjunctive mode, 
But sang their mult 'plication like a patriotic ode? 

The Master, he was skinny, with a lean and hungry 

look, 
And a countenance as placid as a frozen winter 

brook; 
His brow was broad and Grecian, and his eye was 

snell and keen, 
And his head was stuffed with knowledge of a 

dozen books, I ween; 
And they say his nose was Roman as the bill of 

any hawk, 
And his boys were all perfection, for they had to 

walk the chalk. 

And yet I've often wondered if they really always 

walked, 
And sat upright like statues, and never laughed or 

talked, 
For I've often heard my father say the model of 

the school 
Got licked at least three times a day as a pretty 

general rule, 

93 



And lament the good old method, as a lost, for- 
gotten art, 

Of imparting knowledge in a way that made a 
fellow smart. 

I wish we had the secret now of making boys walk 

Instead of always watching for a chance to throw 
some chalk ; 

But the art, I think, was buried with the Blue- 
back Spelling Book, 

And the piercing eye of Skinny, that no mortal 
boy could brook; 

'Twas buried with the benches and the ancient 
dunce's stool 

And the grease-glazed paper windows of the good 
old country school. 

It may be through psychology and molly-coddle 

stuff, 
We often talk in institutes, we've lost the power 

to bluff; 
Perhaps 'twas Pestalozzi, Froebel and John Her- 

bart 
Who robbed the wand of Skinny of its pedagogic 

art; 
We'll jiot discuss philosophy, but we know about 

the chalk, 
That no theoretic dream of man can make a boy 

walk. 



94 



ONE-ARMED JOE 

Ricollect ol' One- Armed Joe? 

Lost it grindin' cane. 

Same blame feller 't used to go 

Round with Lizy Jane 

Grindin' sorghum ever fall. 

Lizy Jane wuz Joe's ol' mare; 

Never showed her at a fair, 

But blame 'f she couldn't beat all 

Rinsters to an an ol' cane sweep 

That ever stepped a mile. Never fat, 

Ring-bone an' bob-tail an' all that, 

But law ! she made the cane-mill weep ! 

An' us chillern, we'd alius go 

Over where they's grindin' cane 

An' git to ride oP Lizy Jane, 

An' hear the jokes of One-Armed Joe; 

An' maybe git the sorghum skimmin's, 

Thwuzzent alius so many wimmins 

Bossin' round, cause One-Armed Joe, 

He loved us chillern bettern them. 

(Bet he wears a diadem 

In the world where preachers go). 

Joe had grit and feelin's, too, 
An' they wuzzent nothin' he couldn't do, 
'Cept to do another harm : 
Ketch a possum, kill a bear, 
Cuss an' dance, or lead in prayer; 
Jump a rope, or skin a cat, 
Make a speech or guess a riddle, 
Sing a song, or play the fiddle — 
95 



No, Joe couldn't quite do that, 
Cause One-Armed Joe had lost an arm, 
But that's all he couldn't do. 

One night dogs treed a coon 

Up a leanin' poplar tree; 

Joe could by the glimmerin' moon 

See the leanin' poplar leant: 

Jerked his coat and up he went; 

Ketched the possum, let him go, 

Slipped his holts and hollered, "Oh!" 

An' down into eternity 

Limp and warm, fell poor old Joel 

Don't remember One- Armed Joe? 
Feller I'll bet the angels know! 



96 



WES PERKINS 

I've read of Bob Burdett, 
And Billin's, Twain, and Bret 
And the whole endurin' set 

Of funny men, I guess; 
But I never yit have found, 
No matter how renowned, 
A wit that's ever downed 

Our Perkins, boys call Wes. 

You sildom ketch him lyin'; 

Not much for speechifyin'; 

And he 'pears just half-way try in' 

When he does git off his wit: 
But dogged if th'aint blame'd few 
'LI probe you through and through, 
As Wes is sure to do, 

For he alius makes a hit. 

He's a humble sort of feller 
With an eye as soft and meller 
As an apple golden yeller 

In the mild September sun : 
Kinder quare and unconcerned, 
Like he didn't kere a derned, 
But many a feller's learned 

That Wes is in for fun. 

Cheap wits don't make no noise 
'Bout Wes, 'cause he destroys 
Their wisdom, which annoys 

The humorist, more or less. 
Unless your jokes '11 fit 
You'd best reserve your wit, 
And entirely omit, 

'Fore Perkins, boys call Wes. 
97 



THE FIRST MESS OF GREENS 

You may boast of landscapes golden 

With the harvest's ripenin' grain, 
Or of iVutumn pensive foldin' 

All her flowers to sleep again; 
But to me the woods a-ringin' 

With the notes of happy birds 
When the April buds is springin' 

Is a song too sweet for words : 
And the beautifullest, since you ask it, 

In art or nature's scenes, 
Is Kate with knife and basket, 

A-getherin' of greens. 

It pears to lift the veil of years 

And opens up to view, 
A scene that brings me soothin' tears 

As sweet as tender dew 
To grass that suns have withered dry : 

I can see her jist as plain, 
Though Father Time has dimmed my eye, 

And ricollect the pain, 
I suffered while she paused a-thinkin' 

What such an answer means; 
And the "Stay and help us, John," a-winkin' 

"Eat our first mess of greens." 

I've heard my neighbor Johnson say 

His choice was chicken pie; 
And Perkins lows he likes to stay 

His stomach with a fry : 
And Jones, he says, says he, "I think 

Good old Kentucky rye 
98 



Suits me the best; give me a drink, 

Whenever I am dry." 
But I have never tasted meat, ' 

Nor cabbage, corn nor beans, 
Nor fluid food one half as sweet 

As that first mess of greens. 

It's not the pictur near as much 

As the thoughts that gethers round, 
That always gives the paintin' such 

Distinction and renown. 
There's nothin' in a grassy knoll 

So beautiful to see, 
And yit I think within my soul 

It beats a flowery lea. 
And oh, I git Munkasket, 

If I only had the means, 
To paint me Kate with basket 

A-getherin' of greens. 



99 



WES BANKS 

Wes Bunks, you know, he teaches school, 
Has teached for nigh on forty year, 
And I jist want to say right here, 
That though he may not fit your rule, 
Wes Banks, by jings, he ain't no fool. 
And if you bet your dough 'gin Wes, 
You'll want your money back, I guess. 

Wes Banks, he never wears a tie — 

Them things, you know, some call cravats, 
Nor collar neither, and jist that's 

The very tarnal reason why 

I bet on Wes, and that's no lie: 
No man can lead Wes by the nose 
If he don't wear the latest clothes. 

Wes Banks, you know, I'm speakin' uv : 
He lives way out on old Line Fork, 
As good a place as in New York; 
Out where the birds sing lays of love, 
The wren, the thrush, the turtle dove — 
Sometimes, it seems, because of Wes, 
Who loves their music, more or less. 

Wes claims that now for forty year 

He has prescribed strong peachtree tea 
For cusses, which he says that he 
Could not intrest except by fear: 
Wes makes this claim while standing here 
Before his boys now teaching school, 
Who can't remember such a rule. 

Now Wes, he's awful in his speech : 

He says I "seed "and "done "and "haint," 
100 



And lots of things that's wrong arid quaint; 
But many's them who pray and preach 
And go to school and learn to teach 
And wear a darned sight better clothes, 
Still never learn what Wesly knows. 

Well, Wes ain't much at institutes; 

Don't like to make a public talk, 

And demonstrate with board and chalk. 
No, he ain't much on sich disputes; 
But Wes at school gits down and roots : 

Up here Wes Banks is jist a wag, 

With striped candy in a bag. 

Old Wes is poor as money goes, 

But rich in love and charity; 

His heart goes out in sympathy 
To barefoot boy with bleeding toes, 
And girls in torn and tattered clothes; 

And with his heart goes Wes's coin, 

To heal the wound and gird the loin. 

And this is why tonight I rise 
To speak how Wesly Bank's life 
Through forty years of schoolroom strife 
By living truth has conquered lies, 
And made his students good and wise : 
You can't size Wes by looks or speech, 
No more than some by what they preach. 



101 



PHILOSOPHY AT A BANQUET 

Old Socrates who thought he knew 
A philosophic thing or two, 
Believed that man was made to walk 
Or lounge about the streets and talk 
Of life and death and virtues true, 
And what a fellow ought to do; 
While poor Xantippe, so I'm told, 
Remained at home to drudge and scold. 

But Epicurus seemed to think 

That man was made to eat and drink, 

A doctrine quite as orthodox, 

I sometimes think, as old man Soc's; 

For what philosophy 's complete 

That can not take an hour to eat? 

I like old Socry, to be sure, 

But here I'm just an Epicure. 



102 



ANENT HALLEY'S COMET 

Oh, how sick of Halley 's comet ! 
Almost makes me want to vomit. 
Can't pick up a magazine, 
Halley 's comet isn't seen. 
When the weary day is done, 
Still no peace unless you shun 
Every living soul you meet 
Talking comet on the street. 
Should you occupy the pews, 
See the Hipp or read the news, 
Fall asleep and chance to dream, 
Halley's comet still the theme. 
Dust to-day got in my eye — 
Halley's comet passing by. 
Both the sense of sound and sight, 
Suffering from this comet's blight. 
When the days were hot and dry, 
Halley's comet passing by. 
All through April frost and rain, 
Halley's comet raising Cain. 
Who so seeks for faith or knowledge 
Goes to church or enters college, 
Hears naught else but this discussed,- 
Shooting stars and comet dust. 
Taft and Teddy 'swell be dead, 
Like Old England's monarch Ed, — 
Just as well as be forgot 
Midst this meteoric rot. 
Automobile passes by, 
Like a comet in the sky, 
Leaving in its awful trail, 
Wreaths of smoke just like a tail; 
See a fellow sniff the air, 
103 



Stop, turn pale, and trembling, swear: 
" Wonder now has science lied? 
That gas smells like cyanide. " 
Learned, ign'rant, rich and poor, 
All are full of comet lore. 
Life had charms that once were sweet; 
Earth, hast now no safe retreat? 
If this talk will not abate, 
Lord, I pray this be our fate; 
May this globe dissolve or fail, 
Passing through the comet's tail! 



104 



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