African American Poetry (1870-1927): A Digital Anthology

James T. Franklin, "Jessamine Poems" (1900)

JESSAMINE POEMS.
James T. Franklin

Memphis Tennessee, 1900
World's Fair Edition

PREFACE.


Having been called upon to contribute something to the department of Negro Literature at Paris during the World’s Fair, and feeling ashamed of the feeble effort which I have made heretofore in literary work; I now present to the public a selection of late poems, taken from a larger book which I have written but, owing to extreme poverty, have been unable to put into print.    Therefore if the public will condescend to look with favor upon these few poems---if poems they may be called---I promise ere long, in my “Depth of the Infinite’’ to present to the world a better piece of literature.

                                  JAMES T. FRANKLIN.
A Dream of Creation..


Come, O, muse, into my dark chamber,
     Where gloomy and cold repines the soul,
And light on the mind’s hearth stone a flame,
     And set my poetic fires aglow.
Enfold me close to thy gentle bosom,
     And like a mother, fond, endearing,
Press me closer and hold me fondly,
     And imprint my lips with wisdom’s kiss.
Let love, deep in my soul and wisdom
    Sweetly vibrate in responsive strains,
And part the curtarn invi ible, that.
    Doth swing 'twixt me and eternity.
Litt out, I pray thee, gentle the soul
     From its prison walls, this finite clay,
That rolling waves ( f the ir finite
     May onward bear it forever more;
And to me the mysteries unfold,
    Of myriad worlds that fly in space.

 Explain the heavens, its depth of blue,
     And that flaming orb, all glorious,
 Which from the canopies e’er doth brush
     The shadows down, as some maiden would,
 From her parlor walls, the cobwebs sweep.
     And to me the book of nature ope,
 That read it I may, and understand
     The scenes that in all creation change,
 E’en human souls, how have their being.
     And the gentle rocking earth that drift
 Like some bubble by the winds blown forth,
     Whence cometh it ? Whence come the flowers
 That in varied hues bedeck this sphere?
     Ah ! now the heaven doth, like a scroll.
 Roll back itself as I pass through,
     And swift in the arms of gentle muse,
 Am I borne off into nothingness.
     For before creation now am I,
 Where reigneth darkness silent profound,
     Until with sound, the darkness tremble,
 And the thundering voice of God doth call
     “Let there be light” and inky darkness,
 By vibration breaks into a flame.
     Then forth from God’s hand into space
 A veil of white nebulae is hurled,
     Which rapid whirling, swift in motion,
 Rolls its flames into balls which it hurls
     With a quick momentum, sphere by sphere;
 And each bright ball as it speeds away,
     Into a million or more doth break.
 Thus time begins and ten million years
     Fly past while age doth quick record
 The first eve and morn of the day.
     Now eastward paling, the stars among,
 Round a flume whirling, beautiful earth
      Doth fly unceasing, itself aglow,
 And dietb ihe flame in ten million years;
      Which dying flames with vapor doth drape
 The firmaments, and the waters form
      Above and below, while hoary age,
 Upon his wrinkled brow doth record

          The second eve and morn of the day.
     Then comes, twixt water and land, a strife,
         And formed are the seas which swift retreat,
          And on rapid «ings doth hasten flight;
     While the land left bare doth put forth sprout,
         And out of the dust, green herbage spring;
     Which dust being crushed ten million years,
         The plants support while hoary age
     Doth quick in his ancient records write
         The third day both the eve and the morn.
     Then out of a vague unseeming space,
         This pamorama of mystery
     Doth bring ten myriad of angels forth
         Which gird with gravitatu n the stars,
     And into groups doth bind them fast.
         And bound by this invisible band,
     In space the constellations move
         In a changeless flight, in great star-drifts;
     Nor break do they their family tie,
         For ten million years have made it strong:
     And age once more sits down to write
         The forth eve of the day and the morn.
     Then fish from the water forth take wings,
         And from them hatched are all of the birds,
     And snakes likewise, but from the earth,
         The beast and worm and insec's spring.
     And the deer, that feed on the meadow- land,
         Doth, in time, a pacing horse become,
     And likewise moles into elephants
        Turn, and the wild cats into lions.
     And this, within ten million years,
         Doth the fith day end, both eve and morn.
     Then the sixth day begins and mystery dark
         Upon earth doth like a mantle hang,
     And when up it lifts, a double world.
         Revolving rapidly, sphere in sphere,
     Doth move thro’ space, and intangible,

       Each to each, as they move and they whirl.
  And in the one, vibrating beings,
       Transparent, move and eat and live,
  And the soul with face and wings take flight
       And moves on thro’ space and lives and waits
  Till man is formed, for in spirit world,
       None come to this until some new form
  Doth it invite and summon ft forth.
       Hence from the dusty earth springs man,
  A form without life, but fleet, the soul
       Doth come, and into the brain of him,
  Doth go and live and make its abode,
       And man doth a living soul become.
  And knit together are man and soul,
       Nor from the one can the other part,
  Nor die can man, for he like the soul,
       And blessed-with it, must eternal be:
  But he was lone and his nature craved
       To multiply and to bring forth souls;
  And into sleep God maketh him fall,
        That he may never the secret know,
  How man is formed and bow the soul
       Doth give it life, and maketh He
  A mate for man and layeth her down,
        And man awakes, aud bv him lying
  Is a poet’s dream, and beautiful
        Her love lit eyes looketb into his
  And ideals meet, and he graspeth her
       As would cupid grasp the fair psyche.
   And to him she now must ever be
        A wife and a kind receptacle
  For his desires, aud like the flowers
       Cast her bloom and bear forth fruit to God.
  Thus creation ends, and man supreme
        Doth rule on earth and the God doth rest:
  For within the sixty million years


      Hath He planned and made the universe.
 But ten million years must still roll on,
      And man for the things of earth must care.
 And forth from neath fair Eden’s bowers,
      Doth he and his wife perambulate
 Like lovers two on a star-lit night;
      And sit do they on flowery mounds
 And watch the stars as they nightly pass.
      But she superior far to him,
 Doth say to him, "There is life beyond,
      And mystery which only spirits know:
 So let us take of this poison plant
      And of it eat that our bodies die,
 And our souls, released, may fly above
      And back and forth the two worlds through,
 That all of creation we may know.”
      But speaketh he thus: — “Dost thou not know
That knit as twins are body and soul,
     And when one dieth, so dieth both,
 And what then, shall we not surely miss
     The very thing for which thou plannest?”
“Thou fool!” she cried “and dost thou not know
     That the body before the soul must die?
For sure the one is spiritual,
     And carnal sure, the other is.
But what if by this much poisoned plant,
     The soul should grow sick nigh unto death.
Is not there a cure ? for knoweth thou
     That next every bane is an antidote,
And relief there is for every pain.
     Behold ! there standeth the tree of death,
And is not hard by the tree of life?
     And naught there is for us both to do
But eat of the bane and nestle close
     Beneath its bowers and cast our forms.
And forth reach out with our hands and pluck
     The fruit of life, and all buoyant
Lift up ourselves into heavenland.”

     Then spake he thus:—“Thou speaketh well
 And happy no* is the lot of man,
     That woman noble did come to earth
 To give him her sweet companionship.
     I will eat the fruit tor thy sweet sake,
 And for thee would I upturn the earth;
     And further more would I wreck the stars,
 And cease from motion the universe
     Till entirely thou wert satisfied.”
 Then each of the fruit of death doth eat,
     And into their bodies the poisou
 Doth work corruption, and man is doomed;
     For on rapid wings, with flaming sword,
 Doth an angel come and quick doth stand
     Midway twixt the tree of life and them.
 And speaketh he in thundering tones:—
     “Depart from here, O, ye cursed man!
 And hasten thou on ere the angry God
     Doth melt the heavens upon thy head.
 For die thou shall, yet the soul shall not;
     But doomed, it shall stand and ever wait
 At thy burial place, nor leave it,
     Except to roam in some vacant place,
 Or to visit some sad familiar spot
     Where often with toil thy flesh did sweat.
 And yet, there cometh a time some day,
     When res urrected shall be the dead;
 And rejoicing souls shall quick go forth,
    And within these resurrected forms,
 Shall move thro’ all material things,
     And mysteries of the two worlds know:
 Thus is your most sanguine hope fulfilled.
     But before doth come to pass this thing,
 From glory land doth a Prince come down
     And with his blood our redemption pay:
 For die shall he and within three days,
     Himself again lift out of the grave.
 Nor shall His body corrupt or rot,
      But thine shall decay; nor from the tomb

     Shall ever rise thy flesh and thy bone;
          But when rottest thon, those elements
     Which giveth the bone and maketh flesh
         Shall break thoir bonds until purified;
     Then reunite into pure compound.
          Thus, shall thy bodies new be made
     And gloriously resurrected.”
         Then vanish fair Eden’s fruitful lands,
     And man quick with grief burdened much,
         Goes forth in sorrow to multiply,
     And with wild beast for mastery fight.
         The sky above, with a sorrow deep,
     Doth veil, in a cloud, her dazzling face,
         And bitterly weeps till with her tears
     The whole of the earth is flooded;
          And narrowly doth the race of man
     Escape being off creation swept.
         But swift the wind to his rescue comes
     And chaseth the tides and parts the clouds,
         And man, high upon a mount rescued,
     Doth again go forth to fill the land.
         And heaven again upon him smiles,
     And forth to Sinai’s rugged tops;
         The Holy Spirit, and greatest muse,
     Doth come and kiss him with holy truth.
          And later cometh of heaven down,
     The Prince upon mount Calvery,
         And sheddethjiis blood that man may live
     And happily spend eternity.
         But the man not yet is satisfied,
     And into the skies, the telescope
         He lifts, and measures the space between
     The planets and stars that race along
         In a ceasless flight the heaven lands.
     And he knoweth why Orion’s sword
         Is in nebulae casing sheathed,
     But thinks the dipper hangs in the skies
         That drink may the weary, thirsty stars.

 But soon the secret he knoweth well,
      Just why the stars are together grouped.
 And how each one, in its fiery glow,
      Doth trail with its flames the ether through.
 He catches sound and holdeth it fast,
      And familiar he is with science,
 And knoweth that light by seconds leap
      About the fifth of a million miles
 Yet soon he may o’er the empty space
      Which is between this earth and the stars,
 Throw forth a bridge and on rapid trains,
      Carry on an extensive trade-
 And then will the merry cycler have
      A race along the etherial blue,
 Si aging sweetly o’er the airy way,
      Closing the record of the seventh day.
 But forth come angels and cut in twain
      Th’ invisible band that binds the stars,
 And they, let loose, dart off into space,
      Pell-mell in their flight, and quicken speed.
 And then ivhat spectacle to behold
      The stars that in tangled mazes fly !
 While troop in their wake, ten million souls,
      Seeking their bodies to find and catch.
 Then suddenly sounds the trump of God,
      And worlds collide and explode and burn;
 And doth our Lord, in a whirling flame,
     Snatch up the righteous into his arms
 And then doth He to the wicked cry,
     “All of ye cursed from me depart.”
 And upon a throne of wickedness,
     Doth quick' the King of darkuess reign,
 While aged time with the seventh seal
     Shuts up the record of the “last” day.


Astronomy.

      Oh science sequestered much,
      And by wisdom’s gentler touch,
            Accelerated more!
      Did not thy voice give the command
      That man must venture from his strand
      In quest of other distant land,
            Or was it ancient lore ?

      For sure into his peaceful breast,
      Thou breathed the spirit of unrest,
          And bade him search the skies:
      Thou pictured earth a moving sphere
      Whose revolutions make the year.
      And whispered to his listening ear,
          “Search heaven and be wise.”
      Thy presence round him, charming fell.
      And break did it the magic spell
          That ignorance had wrought:
      And plain did seem the merry race
      Of myriad planets thrown iu space—
      Just how each kept in his place,
          Has fostered wondrous thought.

      And oft the would-be infidel
      Has list the story that you tell
          And wisely gave a nod;
      For now the planet checkered sky
      And tangle comets hissing by
      Have siezed and borne his thoughts on high,
           Acknowledging a God.
      
      No day has dawned, no sunbeam shqne,
      Where thought of man has not yet gone:
          And the rugged panoply,


    Encasing of his mental frame,
    Doth burst with unbounding fame
    And conquers heaven in thy name,
        Science of the canopy.

     Ah i could the Alexander brave
     Be resurrected from his grave?
          Weep he would no more,
     That no worlds to conquer still
     He had; for science would fulfil
     The very letter of his will,
          Of worlds, would give him more. 



Thanksgiving. 

From the mountain’s rocky summit,
   From the distant arid plain,
Thanks-Giving comes a romping
   Through heather mead and lane.

But with his very presence
   America is aglow,
And hearts like brimming rivers
   With joy do overflow.

And too the bird is singing,
   Caroling as he flies,
While turkeys stand in waiting
   To make a sacrifice.

In the tower leaps the church bell
    And music fills the air:
The echoes ring the chorus,
    “This is a day of prayer.”

Then let this fair America,
   From mountains to the sea,
Thank God that this asylum
    Is the home of the free.

No wars are now a rageing,
    No bloody banners stain
The fair name of America
    On the heated battle plain

No cannon balls are whistling
  No startling bugle’s blast,
Disturb us by repeating
    The horrors of the pash

  O God ! how thou doth bless us
     Bountifully from above !
  And 'in return requestest
      But a token of our love.

   Ah ! could we but realize
       Thy peaceful blessings more,
   Blot out the hideous spectre
        Of fields of human gore !
   For Peace has tossed her mantle back—
       No more the years of pain—
   And with her gentle hands has stooped
       And covered up the slain.

   And bids the nations now at rest
      No more the wars release,
   And whispers in the gentle breeze,
      "Peace! Forever, peace!"



The Blind Musician.

 The vesper bells rang out the day
      The jostling crowd moved on its way:
 The sexton flared the old church light;
      The lamps were lit and all was bright.
 Then slowly thro1 the open door,
      The moving crowd began to pour;
 And smiling youth and hoary age,
      Alike were crowding round the stage.
 A blind musician, flushed and gay,
      Mounted the stage and picked his way
 To where an old piano lone
      Awaited to adjust its tone.
 His form swayed as moved by the breeze,
      Electric fingers swept o’er the keys,
And like the mighty tides of the sea
     That slowly swell and flood the lea,
He made the strains of music rise
      And swell till they had lashed the skies.
The crowd sat mute, their minds had flown
      On trembling notet to shores unknown,
 Belated teamsters left their dray
     And toward the chapel sought their way;
A star peeped thro’ the clouds o’er head
     And seemed to trip and onward sped.
The blind musician lower bent,
     And swift the rolling music went
Like the gentle ebb and the flow
     Of ocean tides that come and go,
Or like the roll of drum and fife,
     Or sounds ot conflict and of strife,
E’en more, the mocking bird would trill
     Its warbling lays and all was still
Till soft the sound of winds swept o’er,
     And broke a mighty tempest roar.

 Lightening seemed in the player’s hand;
     A music cyclone struck the land.
 Then came a creak as if were struck
     Some massive house, or trees were plucked
 From their roots, and the thunder’s might
     Made those near by leap up in fright
 Then came the lull, the storm was gone:
     The musician seemed sad and lone.
 Thought he mast of his darling wife,
     Whom he’d ne’er seen in all his life.
 But as he sat in sad repose,
     Much he looked like the last fair rose.
 Tho’ music vibrated ev’ry vein,
     A rose bloomed opt on Sharon’s plain.
 O, what genius in deed and thought!
     What mechanism by heaven wrought!
 A soul of light, tho’ earth and skies
     Gave not light to his blinded eyes,
 His fingers sought the keys once’ more,
     And played he then as ne’er before
 And tossed he like a ship on the main,
     Till his soul echoed the last sad strain.




Battle of Port Hudson.
                                               S.
     Above the plain and cannon capped,
         Towers Port Hudson’s head,
     Its mighty guns lie low and wait
         To belch a storm of lead.
     Upon the plain an army brave,
         A regiment black as night
     Behold the cannon on their left
         And cannons on their right,
     And tremble never, brave are they,
         Louisiana’s blackest sons,
     But nervous fingers hard are pressed
         Upon their glist’ning guns

     Tho’ hungry, worn and long have marched
         This army of ihe brave.
     And long the burning sun has parched
         A spot to be their grave.
     Yet bravely do they stand and wait
         The bugle’s battle call.
     And to defend their country’s cause,
         Martyred, they will fall.
     Oh bugle, stay thy startling blast !
         Beyond are desp’rate foes.
     And neath thar angry frowning fort
         A mighty bayou flows,

     Forbear, O, Captain! utter not
         Words useless and unwise,
     To waste your men in useless strife
         Is needless sacrifice.
     But ah ! they wait the order; march !
         And with bated breath:
     The order comes, and swift they run

     Over the field of death.
  Then from the summits cannon capped
     Bursts ludgment o’er the plain,
  And along the bayou’s sullen stream
     Is strewn the mangled slain.

  They stop, retreat, and then advance
       Mid destructive, grape and shell
  ’Tis but the gaping jaws of death
       The open gates of hell.
  But on they rushed and cannons belched
       Furious storms of lead
  Trees were lifted from their trunks,
       The plain o’er strewn with dead.
  ’Twas here that brave Callioux fell,
       ‘ Comrades follow me !”
   And thro’ the storm of shot and shell
        Rushed into eternity.

  And here did Planctancois cry
     “I’ll bring these colors back,
  Or report to God the reasen why,’’
      And shrank within his track.
  Another comrade standing by
      Seized the flag and stood
  Proudly waving the colors high,
      They, painted o’er with blood.
  When crash ! a ball dashed out his brain
      And by his comrade’s side,
  Laid him low upon the plain,
      His valor and his pride.

   At last the army shattered, torn,
        Forbore to battle more
   And retreated o’er a battle field
        O’er spread with human gore.
   And tho’ no more of battle scene
        Or trampling soldiers’ feet,
   Fair memory cherishes what has been,
        And soldiers’ rest is sweet.




Christmas Carol. 

     O’er the deep and boundless space,
          Live leaps the message long,
     Till zephyr’s mute and trembling tongue
          Vibrates a Christmas song.
     Her sweet and trembling notes rebound
         From heavens sacret throne:
     Her echoes spread the world around
         And make the Christmas known.

     Yet, every gentle breeze that blows
         Is music’s sweetest note,
     From zephr’s trembling tongue sent forth
         To countries far remote.

     She sits upon the passing year
        And chants a merry rhyme
     And tells us of a Savior dear
        Who came at Christmas time.
     Aud e’en the leafless trees among,
        Resounds her trembling voice—
     No music sweeter could be sung
        And Nature does rejoice.

     The clouds she drives around the sphere,
         Their peaks with luster glow,
     And from their vapored eyes the tear
         Enshrouds the earth with snow.
     But with the snow her musics come,
         The sleigh bells gentle chime,
     “Wake up’’ ! the whistling wind doth hum,
         “Rejoice ! tis Christmas time.”




Secret of the Mad House.

  O’er the green walled mead the sunlight shone
      And dew drops sparkled on the mossy stone
  Of a madhouse standing dark and lone
           While people passed it by.
  But from its gloomy walls ther came
      A mad man’s cry— In heaven’s name!
  Was this sunnv France alone to blame
           If this, her hero die?

  For he Pierre Anthon once was brave
      And was in war to France a slave,
  And to save his country was his crave.
          But madness was his fate:
  For die would he for his dear Marie,
      A sister at home, while he at sea,
  Would strive to make her a lady be
             Aud choose for a mate.

  Now she to woman-hood had grown
     And early love for a lawyer shown
  And the lawyer claimed her for his own
          And Pierre gave consent.
  Then swift the reign of terror down
      While sunny France deposed a crowu
  And the guillotins swung in er’vy town
          As some one to glory went.

  Guillotins reddened with human blood
       Swept many away renown for good
  And death rode through the neighborhood
             Upon his fiery steed
  ’Til the lawyer cross his pathway sprung
       Aud upbraided him— His thrill words rang

 Till guillotins did in trembling bang,
      But paid he for this deed
           \
 Though shut he from his eye the scenes
      Of horrible crimes and guillotins
 Yet seized he was by the Jacobins
          And sentenced to exile.
 His brother in-law had chanced to be
     Within a neighboring port at sea
 And ready to save his own country
     E’en when the message came
 Which called him away to fair Bayonne
     To receive this pris’nor sad and lone
 To depose upon a shore unknown—
     Oh France thou art to blame !

 A man, in the secret service sworn,
     Had surely the true instructions torn
 And a false one sealed and duly sworn
          Inserted he instead;
 His pris’nor masked he took to the ship
     And bade the captain allow no slip
 But ere three days his oars should dip:
     La Coste must be shot dead.

 Had Anthon known his brother-in-law,
     But naught he knew. And the lawyer
 To make him know might over awe.
     And so kept still his tongue:
 But a note he wrote, and under seal
     It was sent his brother with appeal—
 “Keep this when thou hast dealt the deal
     And night her curtains swung.’’

 The day went by, the prisoner slain,
     His body sank in the gurgling main,
 And Captain Anthon at home again,
     Back in his dear LaClare;


      But naught of this to Marie was said.
          Oh tell me, sir ! is my husband dead ?
      And with grief the captain bent his head,
          ’Twas more than he could bear.
      With uplifted hands she gave a scream,
          And staggering walked like one in a dream,
      The world was blank and strange does it seem,
            Madness had seized her brain.
      She ne’er recovered in after years,
         Her brother sat by her bed in tears,
      And a tombstone o’er her grave he rears
         To mark where she was lain.

      He, worn out with care and old and gray,
          To madness also did fall a prey
      And there was he on this summer’s day
            In truth, no idle tale,
      And e’er and aaou would come the cry,
          And people would pass and give a sigh;
      And murmuring winds in passing by
          Would waft that dreadful wail-




Sweet Singer

Reign did silence o’er the stsge
    As aged night passed on
And destiny fraught with laurels sat,
     Sweet laurels never won,
Till was read aloud her name
     And forth the sweet voiced singer came.
 While grim old oight worn ont wtth age,
     Listening to the vibrating stage,
 Wept because he must pass on.

     But hark! they do applaud her so:
 She bows, she smiles and then looks round,
     She opens her lips and lo
 Bursts foith a trembling sea of sound:
     A sea voluptuous in its swell.
 The waves rose high and then they e i
      While beat the etherial shores, the ltd ,
  And ebbing then the waves subside
      To music’s gentler flow.

  O’er the vast and, blue expanse
      Leaped the merry music on:
  Around the’.universe, the flow
       Of that angelic tone;
  Till heaven’s'shores. Jte tideleti6.
       And wavelets o’er the'portalsldashed.
  The billowy waves break forth the sounds
        Reach the great white throne and rebound
   Echoing the song of home.



Departed Spirit.

  Oh, Nathan ! Nathan ! where art thou,
      Precious flower of truth,
  What mighty hand has plucked thee from
     Thy verdent stem of youth ?
  Oh tell me why that thou art gone,
      And whither winged thy flight,
  Putting the shining helmet down
       ’Mid the heated battle-fight?
 Ah sure thou wert not weary^
     Commander young and brave !
 For leading souls was thy chief joy,
     Oh ! why then seek the grave?

 O, mortal once, but spirit now,
     Permit the muse to sing !
 Thus pouring through my own sad heart,
    Thy own true answer bring.
’Twas God, you say, Oh mighty God!
   Who summoned you to him.
And left your habitation waste
   To death grewsome"and grim.
’Twas but the tottering mass of clay
    That weak and weary grew,
Until at length the casement fell
    And out the spirit flew.
And then, O soul, not left adrift,
    By God’s'eternal 'truth,
On rapid wings was wafted home
   Just in the bloom of youth.

  Speed on, O soul, to heaven’s gate
      And through its portals sweep,
  Consign this empty mass of clay
     To silence and to sleep.

  Tis but a dream of silent years
       ’Mid glorious scenes to stray,
  When God himself will send the soul
       To resurrect its clay.

   Ah, then speed on ye noble soul !
       Yes, noble brave and true,
   I pledge to fight as you have fought
        Till I have fallen too.

   Tis but a span of life and years,
        Then list my funeral knell.
   Till then, dear Nathan, I must bid
        To you a sad farewell.




 


Her Last Farewell.

       O welcome death ! I'm glad you’ve come
           ’Twill serve my purpose true:
      Just cut eternity’s veil in twain
           And let my soul pass through.
      And away from Earth’s dismal scene
          And the merry making crowd, •
      The giddy whirl of the banquet ball,
          To home beyond the cloud
      Ah ! then, dear mother, weep no more,
          But strive to meet me there:
      The space is small twixt life and death,
          Fill it well with prayer—
      So now, O, death, let fall thy sword,
          ’Tis but a kiss of love
      Much welcomed by the eager soul,
          Waiting to flit above.
      Farewell to earth ! Farewell to friends.
          To maiden young and gay,
      Think well on how you spend your life,
          For death will come one day.




Passing Away. 

  At last thro' toil and suffering,
      In misery, endless pains,
  When patience seemed exhausted,
      Flits she to higher plains.

  Buoyant from neath its burdens,
     Thro’ realms celestial flies
  The soul released from sorrow,
     While the body silent lies.
  Aad three sisters, gone before her,
      Awcit their sister Kate:
  Ah ! list their glad rejoicing,
      She enters heaven’s gate.
  And light winged, sweeps she onward
     While Angels join her wake,
  And harp notes of glory sounding
     Make heaven’s portal shake.

  Xis but a race thro’ heavenly lands
      To catch the fleeting soul:
  Alas ! less fleet the angels prove,
      And she has reached the goal.

  And ’neath her God’s majestic throne
     Tells the woful story,
  And He with gentle loving hands,
     Presents a crown of glory.



God is Love. 

     Hark ! the sound of music
         Wafted from above
     Aud list the voice of angels
         Singing God is love.
     God is love and glory
         Is the oft repeated story
     Told by tongues above:
         God is love and glory
     God is peace and love.

     Christmas bells are tolling,
         Holly trees abending
     Fleeting moments rolling.
         Hearts with joy rending,
     Santa Claus is Happy
         As the cooing dove
     To hear the children singing
         God is peace and love.

     Watch the dancing star-beam.
         On the wings of night:
     See the year revolving.
         Fading in its flight.
     Hear the peal of laughter
         Wafted up above—
     Ah ! it but reminds us
        God is peace and love.

     E’en the merry river,
         As it ripples by
     With its sparkling waters
       Neath a Christmas sky,

         Bursts into merry music,
             Lifts its voice alove,
         Joyous in      its    frolic
             Sinking Goi is love.

         As earth goet a whirling,
             Spinning round the sun,
         Conscience is revolving
             All the deeds we ve done;
         Yet our hearts keep beating
             Thanks to God above,
         And our souls repeating
             God is peace and love.



Purity. 

         Purity is a secret treasure,
           Untarnished by age or time;
         To hold it is a holy pleasure,
           And to lose it is a crime.

         It is the precious stone of heaven
           That on earth our Savior wore,
         Its sparkling rays still light the way
            To Heavens Eternal shore.

         Christ made His will while on the cross,
           And it covered all reforms:
         That men may, who this diamond wear.
          Forever rest in His arms.




Moonlight Dreams. 

     Oh to view the azure sky
         Bedecked with diamonds bright,
     To catch the moon-beams as they fly
         On the rapid wings of night:
     To list the merry cricket’s song
         In the corner near at hand.
     And watch the meteors race along
         The azure heaven land:

     To see the little stars to swing
         In orbits over head,
     Or list’ the murm’ing winds that sing
         To winters silent tread.
     It makes the conscious spirit say,
         “For sure there is a God,’’
     And all of nature gives assent,
         And heaven seems to nod.

     Ah sweet influence, inmost friend!
        Lift high our inmost thought,
     That always to some Godly end.
         Be ev’ry action wrought.



Douglas.
(To his widow.)

     Is Douglas dead ?
  That grand old man, that pleasant face,
     That mirrored idol of the Negro Race !
  Has he been struck from foremost rank,
      Into earth’s dusty apron sank
  And no one to take his place ?
           God forbid !             t

  Yea forbid that the winds should mourn,
      Or on zephyr’s timely wings be borne
  That word: For death in silent tread,
      Would loath to disgrace that honored head
  By writing ’boveit “He is dead:”
             For he lives.

  And every hour that wings away,
      Prolongs his life another day.
  For sure the flower from its stalk,
      May drop and wither upon the walk,
  Yet lives to bloom again that stalk:
             So Douglas lives.

  He tho’ a plant of the tropics, grew
      In America to live and do;
  And did he it, and did it well,
      True until his gray hairs fell.
  Of a greater man, no records tell,
          And still he lives.

  Tho’ kind old mother earth, perhap,
      Doth rock him gently in her lap,
  His slumber is sweetest rest:

          Gray hairs float on-his mother’* breaat:
      Yet speak not of him, but as the best,
              For still he lives.

      And up this barrier wall of life,
           His deed amid the storm and strife,
      Doth, clutching, climb on like the vine,
           Around each rock some tendrils twine,
      Till blossom they in warm sunshine
                   To never die.

      No, never, tho’ that aged head
          Be lulled to sleep—but one was made,
      And making him, was made a cleft
          In earth, and not a remnant left,
      From which onother might be made.
          So sleep on thou aged blest,
      Thy work is done, so take thy rest.
          For bear, O winds, to murmur aught
      But praise for mighty deeds he wrought!
          Rock gently in thy orb, O earth,
      Fret not him of humble birth,
               But let him rest.

      Stoop down, O heaven, kiss his brow,
          For oft before thee did he bow;
      Let holy angels watch his grave,
          And ne’er let man forget the brave.
      The good, the noble, tumble slave
          Who rose to highest fame.




Immorality. 

      Imniorality the terror of our homes,
   With hoisted banners in procession comes,
       And we sit here as stone
   And watch him while he in his demon tread,
       Raiseth the sword and strikes fair virtue dead,
   And on o’er her form with victorious tread,
       He mounts upon her throne.

       In tyranny he rules while naught remains,
   AS o’er our young his fierce sway he gains
       Wide spread in home and state,
   But hang our heads in shameful regret
      That we gave our girls to pay shame’s great debt,
   And now watch hope’s luminaries set
       And mourn fair virtue’s fate.

      ’Neath the tyrant’s gaze society belle
   Quailed and from her state of purity fell.
      And some one came along
   And a crape did he o’er her door way hang,
       And wrote—“Modesty died of chronic slang,
   The kneel of her funeral beer-bells rang
       And gamblers sang the song.

        For her soul to the sporting house went home
    To forever with white-robed demons roam
        E’en as her grave was dug;
    And the preacher who spoke the sad farewell,
        Had made that membership of demons swell;
    And that no member in his church would tell,
        Gave each a whiskey jug.

         Now both hands in with the tyrant he stands
     And force the people, by fierce commands
            To recognize “that thing.”
     Who owns the saloons and gambling dives
       And betrays our homes, our daughters and wives,
     And to which our girls with all of their lives,
            On to his coat-tail cling.
        Oh heaven and God ! can this be for long
     That purity must be sold for a song
             And we sit still and gaze
     While our girls on the public thoroughfare
         With the sport in his slang do gladly share,
     And to chastise them we would not dare,
             Oh God ! our courage raise.

         Let every woman and man and boy,
     With determined hearts that beat with joy,
                Take up fair virtue’s gun
     And then onward to battle like a host,
         Let not our wives aud our daughters be lost
     But slay tbe tyrant and count not the cost,
                For this work must be done.




  
Friends. 

   Somewhere in the depths of human hearts
       Is the many chambered cell,
   In each compartment a treasured friend
       Doth deem it fit to dwell.
  
  But oft’, in the course of fleeting years
      Friends step out and quick depart,
  And sacred memory writes, mid tears,
      Their names upon the aching heart.

  And thro’ all the lapse of weary years
      Their names some happiness tend,
  E’en sacred to us the precious spot
      Where a friend doth part with friend.

 Not even miles of the earth and sea,
    Nor the worlds that drift in space,
 Can come twixt us and the memory
    Of the pleasant friendly face.

 Nay, not all the years that time can roll,
     In all of this life’s domain,
 Can tarnish the links of friendship dear,
    For it is a golden chain.

A chain that girds the whole earth with love'
     And calms life’s fretful sea:
It binds the earth to heaven above,
     And time to eternity.

But ah! to the aoul what awful teat,
    E’en more than the tongue can tell,
And ah ! what sorrow fills our breast
    To say to a friend farewell !




 Forever Mine. 

         She is mine, altho’ the fair wheel of fate
      Doth seem to say that I am just too late,
          And the ring on her finger mocks in scorn
      And makes my heart ache from night until morn,
          It was heaven’s holiest high design
      That we should wed and so she is mine,
                    Forever mine.

         Mine when the winter sun wanes in its flight.
      Mine when the moon beams drift over the night,
         Mine when forth the litte violets peep
      Awake in bed from their mid winter sleep;
         And e’en the wind of the summer tide breeze
      Doth catch it and whisper among the trees,
                   Forever mine.

          Mine as I watched her in her early life,
      And oft I vowed that she would be my wife,
          And at school I watched her the live-long day.
      And admired her form when she was at play.
          And e’en tho’ I knew she had lovers nine,
      Yet still I had claimed her and she was mine,
                      Forever mine.

         Mine thro’ all of the long years of the past,
      Mine when her woman-hood was reached at last.
         Yea mine thro’ all of the long years to be
      And still mine in the vast eternity;
         Altho’ she is another’s promised bride,
      She is mine so the heavens will decide,
                   Forever mine.

    Yes mine in spite of her pride and her scorn,
My heart beats her name from night until morn,
    And oft’ as we wander in nights of June,
Our hearts in love, and both beating a tune,
   We study the stars as they dance and shine
And then she denies it, that she is mine.
               Forever mine.

     Bet mine she is and oft’ when I am sleep,
These feelings of love back over me creep;
    She comes to me rad'ant in her charms
And like mist we drift in each others’s arms,
    Ah ! could we thro’ all of the ages long
Drift thus, my soul would e’er vibrate the song
               Forever mine.

    And so oft’ at the noon-tide when I rest
And my head in slumber kisses the chest
    In a vision 1 lead her, as my bride,
To the altar rail and stand by her side,
    Our arms lovingly round each other twine,
And I say,in my sleep, she is mine, she is mine,
               Forever mine.

   She’s mine when I wake and mine when I pray
Mine till the coming of the judgment day,
   Yea mite until the awful trumpet sounds
And caught up the echo, “she’s mine” rebounds:
   For we are wed forever, wed in love,
And she’s mine in the sacret courts above
               Forever mine.

   Yea mine when th’ eternal judge decends,
Mine when my knee in humility bends;
   I will clasp her close to my beating heart
And pray O, God, do let us never part !
    This precious treasure and myself are thine
I have brought her home, but still she is mine.
              Forever mine.

     And I rise from neath his majestic throne,
Still clasping her fondly claim her my own,
     And all of the heavenly angels sing,
And the sweet wedding bells of glory ring
     As with them ten million harps combine
In proclaiming—she’s mine, she’s mine, she’s mine,
               Forever mine.






Battle of Manilla.

         Just off Manila’s lighted port,
              *Corr’gidor and Cabilla lay,
         And sentinel like each island, armed,
              Kept watch at the mouth of the bay;
         While cross each narrow neck between
              The mainland and its guardian isle,
         A chain of mines were hung unseen
              To make our ships a funeral pile-
         Between the isles a current swept
               And sped unchecked a spreading sheet,
         Beyond, an island city slept
               Protected by the Spanish fleet,
         And on the bay black night was King,
               The winds were strolling toward the lea:
         Our men-of-war like birds on wing
               Were speeding o’er the China sea.
         'Twas midnight by the Eastern clocks,
               Strong batteries guarded the seas,
         Manilla shone in lighted blocks
                And the Spaniards were at their ease
         No man of sense, the captain thought,
                Would clinch with death to enter there;
         But Dewey brave, our hero, wrought
                A deed none other man would dare.
         For like the winds on wings of night,
                He swept the secret passage way
         With ships and men prepared to fight
                 As his fleet put into the bay.
         Just then the drowsy iles awoke
                And spied, it seems, the phantom floats,

* corregidor. 


And thunder like their voices spoke
     With roaring flames from cannon throats
 Manilla ’woke from slumber sweet,
     A frightened queen in robes of night,
And rushed into the drowsy street,
     Producing pamic in her flight.
The winds helped bear the fleeting skirts,
     The streets echoed the sounding tread
Till forth upon the eastern sky
     The sun its golden glory spread.
And Sunday morn beheld our fleet
     In haste a steaming to the fray.
While from each yawing cannon mouth
     Was bursting judgment on the bay.
The Spanish fleet and batteries loud
    Spat out their flames the waters o’er
While from our ships with pennons proud,
    Came one reverberating roar.
A cloud of smoke spread o’er the bay
    And thro’ it loud the thunders crashed:
Beneath it was the shimm’ring sea,
    Resplendent as the lightning flashed.
Terrific shells, hot thunder bolts,
    From Yankee cannon’s deadly pour,
Burst flaming o’er the Spaniard’s decks
    And made them slippery with gore.
Old Spanish hulks were raised on high
    And poised were they the waters o’er,
Their magazines lit up the sky
    And frightened gunboats dashed ashore.
Then all was still, the smoking cloud
    Went up from o’er the judgment seat
And coiled its sombre glory round
    The flags of our victorious fleets.