"I'11 take the showers as they fall,
I will not vex my bosom.
Enough if at the end of all
A little garden blossom."
THE BRADLEY & GILBERT COMPANY.
SKETCH OF THE AUTHOR.
PERFORMANCE is to be judged by the means employed in attainment. The Eiffel tower is a marvelous structure for this age of steam and iron, but it is no greater achievement than the little boat which required two years for Robinson Crusoe to complete with the miserable tools at his command. An infant may learn to talk in a few months, and may speak fluently at the age of two. Wonderful as this is, no one remarks it, but that Helen Keller has mastered speech is a marvel.
This little book is an unpretentious volume, but measured by the toils and difficulties through which it came to light, it is noteworthy. The author is one of a race that has given scarcely any thing of literature to the world. The obstacles which he has surmounted were undreamed of by Burns and other sons of song who struggled up from poverty, obscurity, and ignorance to glory.
Joseph Seamon Cotter was born in Nelson County, Kentucky, in 1861, but has spent practically all his life in Louisville. He had the scantiest opportunity for schooling in childhood, though he could read before he was four years old. He was put to work early, and from his eighth to his twenty-fourth year earned his living by the roughest and hardest labor, first in a brick-yard, then in a distillery, and finally as^ a teamster. At twenty-two his scholarship was so limited that when he entered the first one of Louisville's night schools for colored pupils, he had to begin in the primary department. His industry and capacity were so great that at the end of two sessions of five months each he began to teach. He has persevered in this calling, educating htmself Avhile at' work, and is now the Principal of the Colored Ward School at Eighth and Kentucky streets. The man whose advice and encouragement at the beginning chiefly enabled him to accomplish this was Prof. W. T. Peyton, a well-known colored educator of this city, whom he regards as his greatest benefactor.
Mr. Cotter is wholly self-taught in English literature and composition. He fell naturally into rhyming when he began to write, but he received no instruction beyond the most elementary hints as to meter. Whatever he has done since has been the result of unaided effort. Six years ago several of his poems appeared in the Courier-Journal, this being his first publication outside of one or two newspapers conducted by men of his own race. I was then city editor of the Courier-Journal, and his modest tender of some Christmas verses to me led to an inquiry which revealed his story of unpretentious but earnest and conscientious toil. He laid no claim to being a poet, but his verses were interesting and always worth publication.
Without referring to the merits of this little book, it is proper to call attention to the cheerful optimism and reverent faith that find expression in his lines. The author submits it with modesty, and only asks that it be judged in accordance with its claims.
THOMAS G. WATKINS.
Links of Friendship
PROF. MAURICE KIRBY.
To John G. Roach, Esq.
It needs no heaven-inspired eye
To scan the horde of passers-by,
And note therein worth's alchemy
Turning to gold
The dross of life — the levity —
Of young and old
Through some acute, far-reaching soul
That pierces life from pole to pole,
And sees it a consistent whole
Whose rhythmic beat
Chimes forth an ever-welcome dole
For weary feet.
As after lingering, wintry weather
A few bright days bear down together
And warm the air and cheer the heather
Through friendly rain,
And drive the herdsman forth to tether
Flocks on the plain ;
So all who have by contact found
That littleness and greed are bound
To most, as they unto the ground,
Must quickly see
And worship all who bear a sound
In every age such spirits tower
Above the crowd and wield a power
That gives to all a heavenly dower,
So strong and pure,
Though fate may frown and storms may lower
They still endure.
'Tis ours to boast one such we knew
Who stood within the public view,
And spread himself like friendly dew
Upon the earth,
And with a mighty impulse slew
Our mental dearth.
He moved among us as a man
Of lofty nature only can,
Fashioned upon so true a plan
That changing it
Would be like going forth to span
The sea with wit.
Misfortune's touch — somehow, somewhere —
So fringed his youthful soul with care
That evermore he strove to bear
His brother's load, so he might fare
On calm and free.
The true man's mission is to know
What pang has caused his brother's woe,
And by untiring efforts show
He is too great
To be at ease while others go
Those that are called the favored few
Because they boldly read anew
Some straggling thought as though they drew
Help from the skies
That straightway drops the plummet through
Are simply such as long have met
The trials that must needs beset
The glowing mind, if it would let
Its worth be seen;
All fail who scorn to pay this debt,
This weight but made his burden light,
And gave him inklings of the right,
So needful when his footsteps might
Be wont to stray
Beyond the bounds, beyond the sight
Of duty's ray.
And made full clear the mystic art
By which he probed the human heart
With many a friendly, barbed dart
Until he saw
That he who rules mankind must start
With will and law ;
And therefrom slowly climb the steep,
Exploring every dungeon-keep
Of his own soul, lest there should leap
Some stalwart fear,
And, leagued with failure, quickly sweep
Him to the rear;
And leave him there to fan the flame
That feeds on his self-nurtured shame
Until to him the very name
Of life grows dull,
And tells him how his own became
Thus mastering each secret phase
Of human nature's devious ways,
He found the means that spur and raise
The lagging powers until they blaze
And from such conquest comes a sense
Of rare and lasting eminence
That sets at naught all base pretense,
All idle show,
And forms a fertile background whence
True pleasures flow.
He felt this as the flowers feel
The airs of springtime gently steal
Along their veins, and there conceal
By which they silently reveal
How best to live.
A lofty, witty seriousness
Ran riot through him terrorless,
And, hence, became a means to bless,
A force to fire
Stupidity, and yet suppress
One's wonted ire.
His eyes were clear enough to see
This combination's mystery,
And how through guarded jollity
And calm repose
The struggling soul is led to free
Its path of foes.
And, like a seer, he saw wherein
The untrained hand, with clash and din,
May sow a laugh and reap a sin
That naught can thwart its right to win
To him, in inarticulate speech,
Life's lessons nature deigned to teach
So simply not one failed to reach
The spirit's core,
And flare so men would fain beseech
Thereby he builded better than
A thousand others ever can
Who work upon some book-made plan
Whose stilted tone
Spurs not the groveling charlatan
To strive alone.
Lift up mankind as high's you will,
You'll find them mostly lackeys still
Who live to act, and act to drill
Such sycophants as gladly fill
All praise to him who scorns to yield
His manhood's right — by honor steeled —
And bears upon a blazoned shield
His changeless creed,
And scouts the hand that dares to wield
The cringer's meed.
He whose rare virtues shield this lay
From such assaults as else would slay
Added to man's imperial clay
A finer ring,
.And met each task in duty's way
The littleness that holds in trust
Life's bastard glitterings that must
Beneath wrath's oxide turn to rust,
He hurried by
And held as so much worthless dust
Blown to the sky.
As when clear sunlight pierces dew
And makes it iridescent through,
So all who felt his manhood drew
That tinged their fading hopes anew
Through why and whence.
SEQUEL TO THE "PIED PIPER OF HAMELIN."
To Thomas G. Watkins, Esq.
The last sweet notes the piper blew
Were heard by the people far and wide;
And one by one and two by two
They flocked to the mountain side.
Some came, of course, intensely sad,
And some came looking fiercely mad,
And some came singing solemn hymns,
And some came showing shapely limbs,
And some came bearing the tops of yews,
And some came wearing wooden shoes,
And some came saying what they would do,
And some came praying (and loudly, too),
And all for what ? Can you not infer ?
A-searching and lurching for the Pied Piper,
And the boys and girls he had taken away,
And all were ready now to pay
Any amount that he should say.
It seems that just relentless Fate
Ransacks her ever ample store,
And issues out the roughest ore
To all who basely hesitate.
The people stood at the mountain-side,
And listened to hear the merry strain
That gathered them from far and wide,
But they listened all in vain.
And if they could have heard his music,
Why, some of them were really too sick
To tell just what his notes were saying,
Or know it was the piper playing.
Their heads were many, but their hearts were one ;
And so the thoughts that came and went
Served only to kindle their discontent
Into a flame ere the set of sun.
Some thought that they could open wide
Another portal in the mountain-side,
And then that they could pass right through
And find the children and piper, too.
At last a stalwart man arose
And spoke as one who would interpose:
' ' Rouse up, good sirs, like gallant people,
And quake no longer with consternation •
But ring the bells from every steeple,
And summon the mayor and corporation."
The bells rang out as never before
Within that ancient city;
They seemed to tell it o'er and o'er —
To tell that tale of pity,
And steadily the angry people
Stood gazing at each lofty steeple.
The stalwart man cried out again,
"Death's servant is procrastination;
Your grief and tears are all in vain,
Go, summon the mayor and corporation."
The people started in twos and threes
To seek the mayor and corporation,
And found them all upon their knees,
The mayor winked and the mayor blinked,
And the councilmen, they listened;
The mayor's eyes gazed at the skies,
And the councilmen's eyes, they glistened.
" You are all to blame, " the people cried,
With a look of detestation,
" You know full well that you have lied,
And sold our rising nation.
"As enemies we hold you all,
Despite your loud lamenting;
Upon your recreant heads shall fall
The burden of repenting.
" Through you the little ones we nursed
Were taken we don't know where to ;
Through you our city has been cursed —
Deny it if you dare to.
"And you shall know that parleying
With that outlandish piper,
Shall be to you as deep a sting
As that of any viper."
The mayor bowed low, and then said, " Oh ! "
And the councilmen said, " What is it?"
The mayor grew red, and huskily said,
" I do not like this visit."
The mayor's teeth clattered, and the mayor's
And the councilmen's did also;
The mayor floundered, and the mayor wondered
How a brave man's voice could fall so.
The mayor did sup from no golden cup
That he could drown his grief in ;
The councilmen saw with deepest awe
Nothing to find relief in.
The mayor looked straight at the massive gate
(And it was a look of pity),
Then turned his face to leave the place,
And bid farewell to the city.
The councilmen turned, and their red cheeks
As the bells rang out in the steeple ;
And they heard the beat of a thousand feet,
And saw the angry people,
Who came by dozens and scores that way,
Intent upon their human prey.
They hadn't a single word to say,
But, oh, it was a woeful day
For the mayor whose hair was turning gray.
Some seized the mayor by the throat
As roughly as they could do,
And tore the buttons off his coat
To show him what they would do
Unless he eased their mental strain
By finding the boys and girls again.
And some arrested the corporation,
And poured into their ears
So free a strain of denunciation
It roused their latest fears,
Till one and all wished through and through
The piper would come and take them too.
And then they marched through that ancient city
With the mayor right before them,
And the corporation, who sang a ditty
That threw a madness o'er them,
And stirred their ire so it crept out
And put their better thoughts to rout.
" Let's drive them into the Weser waters,"
Some cried out angrily
" Unless they find our sons and daughters,
And bring them back this way."
' Agreed ! agreed ! " said high and low,
' Right into the waters they shall go."
They marched them down to the river's brink,
And roughly drove them in;
But before the shortest one could sink
An inch above his chin,
They heard a muffled, deafening note,
Such as might come from a lion's throat.
And all the motley crowd grew mute,
For it was a blast from the piper's flute.
He stood on the edge of Koppleberg hill,
And blew till the feet of the people grew still,
And those of the mayor and corporation
Began to move as by incantation.
He took the flute from his honeyed lips
And pressed it between his finger tips,
And straightway a vapor began to rise
That tickled the nose and blinded the eyes ;
And when the people could see again
They looked for their victims all in vain,
And all about it they ever knew
Was that the piper had drawn from view,
And the mayor and corporation too.
How often is the tide of sin
Averted ere it reaches us
By ways just as mysterious
As those in the case of Hamelin !
The people went to their homes as mute
As since has been the piper's flute,
And never were known to even dispute,
Among themselves or others,
As to how such things could come about,
Or whether or not they had a doubt
Concerning how they would turn out
For fathers, sons, or mothers.
The years passed by, as years will do
When trouble is the master,
And always strives to bring to view
A new and worse disaster;
And Sorrow, like a sorcerer,
Spread out her melancholy pall
So that its folds enveloped all,
And each became her worshiper.
And not a single child was born
Through all the years thereafter;
If words sprang from the lips of scorn
None came from those of laughter.
So hour by hour, and day by day,
The city's inmates passed away,
And left but one, then old and gray.
And that was he the piper left
That fatal day behind him,
Of whatsoe'er he was bereft,
He never strove to find him.
But wisely let the prowler go
Where'er his whim might take him,
And kiss his magic flute and blow
For all who might forsake him.
Alas, alas, there came a time
Too sad for even the saddest rhyme,
When this one mortal became immortal,
And flitted away through the heavenly portal.
Without a soul outside or in
Stood poor, deserted Hamelin,
Devoid for once of human sin.
You know a message went to Rat-land
By that strong rat that swam the Weser;
And, lo ! a race of rats was at hand
Outnumbering all the hosts of Caesar.
They came by ones and twos and threes,
And then in larger companies —
As single fours and double scores
And hundreds up to fifty,
And thousands up to twenty-five,
And all seemed more and more alive,
And, hence, were doubly thrifty.
They swarmed into the highest towers,
And loitered in the fairest bowers,
And sat down where the mayor sat,
And also in his Sunday hat;
And gnawed revengefully thereat.
With rats for mayor, and rats for people,
With rats in the cellar, and rats in the steeple,
With rats without, and rats within,
Stood poor, deserted Hamelin.
O eloquent and caustic sage !
Thy long and rugged pilgrimage
To glory's shrine has ended ;
And thou hast passed the inner door,
And proved thy fitness o'er and o'er,
And to the dome ascended.
In speaking of thy noble life
One needs must think upon the strife
That long and sternly faced it;
But since those times have flitted by,
Just let the useless relic die
With passions that embraced it.
There is no evil known to man
But what, if wise enough, he can
Grow stronger in the bearing;
And so the ills we often scorn
May be of heavenly wisdom born
To aid our onward faring.
Howe'er this be, just fame has set
Her jewels in thy coronet
So firmly that the ages
To come will ever honor thee
And place thy name in company
With patriots and sages.
Now thou art gone, the little men
Of fluent tongue and trashy pen
Will strive to imitate thee ;
And when they find they haven't sense
Enough to make a fair pretense,
They'll turn and underrate thee.
To Colonel Bennett H. Young.
cruel Death ! thy lancet sharp
Spares not the peasant nor the lord.
It rudely cut the sweetest chord
That sounded in this century's harp.
1 know that on our sinful earth
Full many victims should be thine;
But why remove the half-divine —
The only ones of real worth ?
I turn from thy depressing gaze,
And wonder who shall be the last
On whom thy fatal gloom is cast,
And face the singer and his lays.
Old England, mother of the good,
Old England, mother of the wise,
Delighted in thy watchful eyes
Thy sons of song have ever stood;
And cherished that poetic fire,
And that incomparable skill,
And that indomitable will,
That ever grapple for a higher.
Love and unstinted praise belong
To all who have in any way
Added a single, genuine ray
To thy kaleidoscope of song.
From ancient down to modern dates,
Upon thy scroll of mighty names,
There is not one more wholly fame's
Than his, thy fallen laureate's.
I have in mind three tuneful souls
Whose words are life's philosophy,
And may they never cease to be
While wisdom through experience rolls.
One gathered up a thousand fears
With thousands of the heart's desires
And dipped them in dramatic fires,
And tossed them down the coming years.
In strains both simple and sublime
One sang of man's first happiness,
And weighed his numbers with a stress
Of thought that puzzles every clime.
And one laid bare his manly heart
To nature's every influence.
His song breathes forth the eloquence
Of artlessness that is pure art.
These lofty three, and these alone
Of all thy gifted, tuneful throng
Can rival in the race of song
Thy love-encircled Tennyson.
Thy diadem is cut in four,
The pieces separate and fall
Upon the lordly heads of all,
And Glory's goblet trickles o'er.
May English natures everywhere,
And all who love the English tongue,
Remember him whose songs were sung
To rob man's spirit of despair.
Great poet of thy race and age,
Thy roving, all-beholding eyes
Peered into Nature's mysteries
Like any dry, prosaic sage.
Thine was true English hardihood;
And unto thee kind Nature lent
Her wonderful embellishment —
The gift of being understood.
Love as an artist ever draws
Pointed and clear-cut likenesses;
And feasting thy clear eyes on these
Thou didst imbibe their subtle laws.
Sweet Sympathy with pen of fire
Wrote o'er and o'er thy yearning soul
Her heavenly creed as on a scroll,
And plumed the wings of thy desire.
The Muse passed by the minor throng
And bade thee of diviner blood
Pour on the world a lasting flood
Of pure and sweet and limpid song.
The sweetness of thy melody
And mighty harvest from thy pen,
Gathered from field and marsh and glen,
Attest how well thou didst comply.
Thy thoughts touched life at every part,
And robed themselves in burning phrase ;
Hence thy thought-ribbed and love-wrought lays
Should find a home in every heart.
Nature at times o'ersteps her bounds;
And, working by a newer plan,
She gives to us a gifted man,
And with his deeds the world resounds.
THE DEVIL AND THE HIGHER CRITICISM.
The Devil sat with the sons of God,
And listened so patiently
The preacher said: " It is certainly odd
That such a thing should be."
But the Devil kept his humble seat,
And kept his quiet tongue;
And the verdict was: " He is more discreet
Than most of the old or young."
The preacher said: "We would like to know
Just why you are so civil."
"I am not here for fun or show,"
Gravely replied the Devil.
"For many a day I've met you here,
And now I am convinced, sir,
I haven't a single thing to fear
Where the Gospel is so minced, sir.
" In other times I sought my own,
And was both loud and rough, sir,
But since that day your whims have thrown
Out stumbling-blocks enough, sir.
"Now, all I have to do, you see,
Is just to sit and wait, sir,
While your advanced theology
Kills faster than your prate, sir.
"And I would thank you o'er and o'er
For all your worthy aid, sir ;
And hint that you will still do more,
When you are less afraid, sir."
How oft inflated hope carries us on
In search of ancient truth's deferred dawn,
And then, with eyes grown dim and lips grown mute ?
We hurry back in failure's parachute!
THE TRUE MAN.
To Rev. J. H. Heywood, on his Eightieth Birthday.
A miser stands beside the sea
And counts his treasure grudgingly.
" It is not meet that I should be
Of those who give
An impulse whereby charity
May henceforth live."
He turns and sees, not far away,
A beggar who is old and gray.
"This dog may limp and mourn and pray
Until he dies.
My life's a light that sheds no ray
"I see the point. I, too, am poor.
I'll take my precious, shining store
And place it here and heap it o'er
With this loose sand,
And of the beggar straight implore
A helping hand.
He moves some paces. " I'm in need.
For alms, good sir, I humbly plead."
And, lo, the rogue is poor indeed;
For the swift sea
Sweeps in and out and pays his greed
A true man stands beside the sea
And says : " Heaven-blessed charity,
My all-in-all I find in thee."
Within his hands
He holds what he received as fee
For all his lands.
He looks and sees the angry wave
Is dragging downward to its grave
A little child. He is too brave
To reason why.
It is enough that he may save
One ere it die.
And it is saved. His manly eyes
Weep not because he lost the prize —
His worldly all-in-all that lies
Beneath the sea.
Ah, no, for joyous sacrifice
Now weepeth he.
He turns him round in act to go,
And there before him, pure as snow,
Lies a great pearl. The sea to show
That fate is fair,
And worth's reward through love shall grow
Has left it there.
O full-orbed soul ! O pioneer !
Of dauntless will and vision clear,
Thou art the true man pictured here.
By right divine
Of noble parts and fellow-cheer
The meed is thine.
Too broad for hate, too pure for shame,
Too high for selfish, worldly aim,
Too fond of worth to worship fame
Through kindly acts thou'st won a name
That shall abide.
REV. DR. JOHN A. BROADUS.
Sacred interpreter, we saw in thee
All that a man of God might hope to be.
Now, thou art gone, we see how ill we can
Afford to lose a noble fellow-man.
The dullest thing, when brought to thy attention,
Seemed rife with sturdy thought and quaint invention.
And, hence, thy hearers never wished for thee
A closer partnership with brevity.
Thou didst not dally with the lance of thought,
But hurled it as a Christian warrior ought.
So earnest was thy plea, so honest thy intent,
That seldom was an arrow vainly sent.
The sweetness of thy soul was so revealed
The wounds that followed were as quickly healed.
So wise and modest was thy great endeavor
Those thou didst pass bade thee God-speed forever.
If faults were thine, they were so girt about
With virtues that they seldom ventured out.
After deducting all the critic can
He must admit thou wast a model man.
He was a man who lived a peaceful life,
Yet died from a continual round with strife.
His being born without a single fear
Made him of course an abject coward here.
He grew so fast his limbs were duly stunted,
And breathed so smoothly that he always grunted.
The more he learned, the more he saw he needed
To keep his empty mental-garden weeded.
When men were killed outright and resurrected,
He held such little things should be expected.
And to become, thought he, extremely wise
One simply has to misapply his eyes.
And seeing things as they will never be
Leads ever on to true philosophy.
By placing twilight at the early dawn
He stopped his motion while he still went on.
Humility in him was two-edged pride ;
And, likewise, sin was pure and glorified.
He made an everlasting truce with death,
Then straightway turned and drew his latest breath.
What boots it, Poet, that from realms above
Come messages for thee to tersely state,
If after scattering the seeds of love
Thou straightway chok'st them with the weeds of hate?
THE INFIDEL'S CREED.
Men stagger in my light, yet are too dull
To see that my creed is infallible.
They rather worship God whose cruel laws
Are made up wholly of mistakes and flaws.
The time shall be when they will cease to follow
Views that are so disgusting and so hollow.
Let blinded Christians, ere they think or stir,
Confer with me, their great philosopher.
When they have steeped their souls in blasphemy,
And trodden under foot theology,
They will be fit to teach true piety.
As I have searched for light should Christians search,
They'll find that faith in God the soul will smirch,
And know that hell's another name for church.
Therefore, my fellow-men, on you I call.
I am your friend, and heartily extol
My creed of life to save you, one and all.
ON A PROUD MAN.
Here lies a man whose soul was so
Puffed up with pride it couldn't grow.
Yet, may be, in the life to be
The fates will give it liberty,
And let it reach, through steps severe,
The size it fancied it had here.
PROLOGUE TO A SUPPOSED PLAY.
My worthy hearers, have you come to-night
To feast on comedy that's brisk and light,
And gladly spend an idle hour or two
In viewing pictures that are just like you?
If this be what you want, just let me say
You couldn't turn your heads a better way;
And for each cent you gave to enter here
You should take back a modicum of cheer,
And weigh yourselves so well that you will be
Arrayed against your insufficiency.
But this is preaching ? Well, the comic stage
Has preached through ridicule to every age.
Man scorns his shallow deeds and sordid pelf
When he's employed in laughing at himself.
So, let us preach in every way that can
Lift man up to the dignity of man.
Now, don't be too exact, but let good sense
Decide the point of honest eminence ;
And bear in mind that what is trite and true,
If well arranged, is worthy through and through.
But to the play. It comes in five long acts
In which the weapons used are naked facts.
There is no effort made to polish darts
That find a lodgment in deceitful hearts,
Nor to put on the rogue an honest mask,
For that would be, indeed, a fruitless task.
The characters are plain^ as you will see,
And richly freighted with humanity;
And, by the way, their actions prove in making
A man of noble parts the undertaking
Is such that nature seldom deigns to run
The same material on from sire to son.
The actors are a queer and jolly set,
Whose fun increases as you fume and fret;
So, should they hurl at you eccentric airs,
Just dodge as though they struck you unawares,
Or jesting strive to make a pointed hit,
Just hold your peace and let it pass for wit.
Now, my good hearers, hint what I shall say next.
You want to hear no more ? Bring on the play next?
Well, here it is, and if you don't grow wiser,
Censure yourselves as well as the adviser.
To Prof. W. T. Peyton.
The bachelor was old and sad,
His life was fast decaying ;
'Tis said he oft grew raving mad
While o'er the past surveying.
He dwelt within a little hut,
Surrounded by starvation ;
No woman called upon him but
By special invitation.
There lived with him a little boy
Who loved to romp and tumble
And see how much he could destroy
To hear the old man grumble.
He broke his pipe and spilled his snuff
And beat upon the kettle
Until, in truth, it was enough
To stir a preacher's mettle.
At last the old man hallooed out :
' ' You surely are inhuman ;
I'd sooner far be buffed about
And bothered by a woman."
His words flew by like wind-tossed chaff
And only tickled Harry,
Who answered with a boyish laugh :
1 ' Then, sir, why don't you marry?"
" Now, boy, the question that you ask
Is somewhat out of season,
But yet it is an easy task
To give to you the reason.
" When I was in my eighteenth year,
And not a little frisky,
I stopped at everything to peer,
No matter howe'er risky.
"A few miles from my father's farm,
Between two little ditches,
I heard there dwelt, secure from harm,
Two very pretty witches.
"Then, thought I, this can not be so,
Such talk is so deceiving;
But to convince myself I'll go,
For ' seeing is believing.'
" So off I started, all alone,
Adown that muddy hollow;
But would have stopped had I but known
What was destined to follow.
"At last I saw the ruined cot
Between the little ditches,
And paused to think whether or not
'Twas wise to see the witches.
"Then slowly crept on hands and feet :
Don't think I meant to creep in,
Or with them face to face to meet,
But simply for to peep in.
" Soon as I reached an open crack
I gazed steadfastly through it;
But, ah ! a burden met my back
That made me doubly rue it.
' ' Somehow I did not care to stay
For any further pleasure;
But when at last I got away
I had a double measure.
"And from that time on down to this,
Although it proves inhuman,
I never could find happiness
In being near a woman."
Far better take the word of Man,
And let the word of Prophets go,
Whose steady bickerings to and fro
Run counter to the Maker's plan.
THE STRANGE MAM.
To Prof. F. L. Williams.
There lived a man of low degree,
Far in a land obscure,
Who daily thanked the fates that he
Was born so very poor.
"The multitudes of wicked men
Who plan and steal and lie
Can never rob my wallet when
I am too poor to buy.
' ' Kind is the fate that will not let
Great riches bother me,
And so the poorer that I get
The happier I will be."
He swore this by as many gods
As ever lived of Did.
Meanwhile he turned the heavy clods
In search of precious gold.
He sang of rustic Genevieve
At the approach of dawn,
Then slept until the dewy eve
And danced upon the lawn.
Whatever made all other folks
The cup of sorrow quaff
Seemed unto him but witty jokes
To make men sing and laugh.
And so he lived for many a year
And sang his own rude hymns;
And still the people, far and near,
Wondered at his strange whims.
Some said his eyes would never view
The fast-approaching fall;
And others swore by all they knew
He would not die at all.
Straightway, on hearing this, grim Death
Passed king and artisan,
And most politely took the breath
Away from this strange man.
But as the people gazed on him
And thought him stark and dead,
He cried: "I'll give you one more whim
While on my dying bed :
" Play loudly on the fife and drum,
Let flags of triumph wave ;
And let the jolly peasants come
And dance upon my grave."
My Muse, thou art a laggard by the way.
To every thought that comes thou sayest nay.
Art thou like critics whose delight is ever
To numb the heart-throbs of Life's poor endeavor?
MAN DOES NOT KNOW.
To Prof. C. W. Houser.
Man does not know. He daily looks around him
And tries to master earth and air and skies ;
But some mysterious power has firmly bound him
Unto a plane from which he may not rise.
Man does not know. He plunges into science
As urchins plunge into the wooing wave ;
Yet nature's highest works still bid defiance
And rear up bulwarks that he may not brave.
Man does not know. He says that on to-morrow
He will be in a state of ecstasy ;
But when it comes his head is bowed with sorrow,
And he is in the depths of misery.
Man does not know. He tries to look before him
And view the bright side of his future way;
Yet who can tell but what this may throw o'er him
A veil to hide the bright side of to-day ?
Man does not know. He claims to have a spirit
(And may he never cease believing so)
That some far day or other will inherit
Eternal pleasure or eternal woe.
Man does not know. Has he a valid reason
To deem this ignorance a grave offense ?
To look for anything before its season
Shows there is urgent need of common sense.
Man does not know. Suppose he were partaker
Of all that now lies hidden from his sight,
Not even meeting with his blessed Maker
Could thrill his bosom with a new delight.
Man does not know. Yet why should he take pleasure
In doubting what perchance he can not see ?
Or why should he believe there is no treasure
Awaiting mortals in eternity ?
Man does not know. Each day he is receiving
Assistance from a power out of sight ;
So he should never, never cease believing
That God will some day bring it all to light.
Man does not know. O Thou Almighty Power !
As thy great ways are past man's finding out,
Do teach him day by day and hour by hour
That lofty faith that overpowers doubt.
TACT IN RELATING.
To Dr. F. G Fowler.
Now, first, let each one estimate
To what extent he owes it
Unto his neighbor not to state
A thing just as he knows it.
I make no war upon the truth,
Nor on its rigid stating,
But hold that tact may be, forsooth,
A factor in relating.
It profits naught to bolster up
The point of outright lying,
For that's the devil's brewing cup
Whose pottage is denying.
But you know what I'm striking at
Without so much detailing;
Just issue out the portion that
Will cause the. least bewailing,
And keep the rest until you must,
In honor of truth's calling,
Disrobe it wholly though the dust
You stir up be appalling.
What right have we to make up plans
For weighing one another?
Are we not daily taught that man's
The keeper of his brother?
And then, in all sincerity,
How can we dwell together
Without observing what will be
Our neighbor's future weather ?
My brother, when the time shall come
(And may it not while I live)
Men's polish serves to make them dumb,
The ones that ought to die live.
It is a great temptation to behold
The thoughts of one whose fibre's beaten gold;
They pass so easily into our own
And make our feldspar seem like diamond stone.
To Albert S. White, Esq.
The demagogue is grave and gay,
And almost everything
It takes to bring success his way
With gracious leavening.
He's made upon a special plan
That puzzles wit to see
How nature makes a common man
With such variety.
And places in his hands the tools
Adapted to his trade,
Wherewith he decks the veriest fools
In wise men's masquerade.
If you attempt to analyze
Whate'er his tact ordains,
You'll reap a dreadful sacrifice
Of patience for your pains.
Should you think otherwise, perchance,
The facts on every hand
Will lend their meaning to enhance
Your power to understand.
And teach a lesson many a sage
Has learned at the expense
Of shortening life's dull pilgrimage
And brightening common sense.
So, see his actions as you see
Some bright and distant star
That seems in close proximity,
Yet well you know 'tis far.
And should you view his conscience till
It seems a gloomy wraith,
Discharge your weak and lagging will
And trust the rest to faith.
THE THRESHING FLOOR.
To William H. Steward, Esq.
Thrice blessed is he who wields the flail
Upon this century's threshing floor.
A few slight strokes by him avail
More than a hundred would of yore.
Around him lies the ripened grain
From every land and every age.
The weakest thresher should attain
Unto the wisdom of the sage.
Ambitious youth, this is the wealth
The ages have bequeathed to thee.
Thou canst not take thy share by stealth,
Nor by mere ingenuity.
Thy better self must spur thee on
To win what time has made thy own •
No hand but labor's yet has drawn
The sweets that labor's hand has sown.
Genius may serve thee well indeed,
If thou wilt treat it like a guest
Thou makest bring more than his need
And with thee freely share the rest.
Or thou hadst better humbly pass,
Wedded to noble industry.
Greater a glow-worm in the grass
Than yon orb roving lazily.
What boots it to mankind, O youth !
That thou hast studied well and long,
And delved in million-veined truth
And learned to sever right from wrong ;
Unless thou strikest wide and deep
Below the planes where men have gone
Until thy honest labors heap
Truth's coffers as they journey on ?
There is a time to sit and muse
Upon what other hands have wrought,
If thou canst wisely find and use
Such as will strengthen thy own thought.
If not, thy time is spent in vain.
Go, seek some other, humbler way
To prove the part thou calPst the brain
Is all the Master made of clay.
This is, indeed, a worthy task,
But thou art simply gathering
Another's sowing. Who shall ask
What of thy own fruit's harvesting ?
Do not remorse and bitter shame
Possess thy feelings now and then ?
Strike out for self, and let thy name
Swell earth's vast list of mighty men.
So many brains are playing at
The game of study in the schools,
And ply their trade so deftly that
Mankind won't die for want of fools.
Not unto him whose eyes ne'er ope
Without the help of others' eyes,
Not unto him who fain would grope
And guess out nature's mysteries,
Is given the divine insight
That pierces through the warp and woof
Of earthly things until the light
Springs upward from the torch of proof.
Thou canst say thy say as plainly
As thy make-up is ungainly;
Thou canst speak so very tersely
That thy lastly is thy firstly.
To Gertrude and Frances.
I often think the truly wise
Are such as seek through doubts and fears
To understand the mysteries
That have out-run the vanished years ;
And question long and reverently
The smallest as the greatest things
Until truth's winnowing wings shall free
The mind of crude imaginings.
With doubts and fears and reverence,
O Master, must thy work be wrought !
Whatever fosters bold pretense
Is but the garbage house of thought.
And from it shall the soul be fed
Until its heavenly tone is spent,
And in its place is harvested
A passion wild and turbulent.
As at the future's ample door
The soul is tapping knowingly,
May it remember o'er and o'er
How slow and rare is certainty.
And, Master, may thy wisdom still
Direct us as it did of old,
And check each weak and erring will
That in itself grows over-bold.
ANSWER TO DUNBAR'S "AFTER A VISIT."
[The following is an answer to a poem written by Paul L. Dunbar after his
visit to Kentucky.]
So, you be'n to ole Kentucky,
An' you want to go ag'in ?
Well, Kentucky '11 doff her kerchief
An' politely ask you in.
An 7 she '11 loosen from her girdle
What perhaps you didn't see —
Keys that fit the other cupboards
Of her hospitality.
Not that she's inclined to hold back
With the good, and give the worst;
But, you know, in all fair dealin',
What is first must be the first.
So, when she takes key the second
An' gives it a twist er two
(Maybe I ought not to say it)
It '11 most nigh startle you.
An' then keys the third and fourth, sir,
(Not to speak of all the rest)
Wouldn't stop at crackin' buttons,
They'd jest smash that Sunday vest.
And your happiness would find, sir,
A momentum then and there
That would carry it a-sweepin'
Through the stronghold of despair.
Now, the grippin' o' the hand, sir,
An' the welcome that you say
Was so firm an' true an' all that
Has a kind o' curious way.
At the first it's sorter slow like,
Till it forms a league with you,
Then it makes a kind o' circuit
That jest thrills you thro' an' thro'.
But it may be I had better
Not discuss this aftermath
Fur it might stir up your feelings
To the righteous point of wrath
As you brood o'er what you lost, sir,
By not stayin' with us longer.
. Ah, well, come to see us often,
Ole Kentucky '11 make you stronger.
So, you be'n to ole Kentucky,
An' you want to go ag'in ?
Well, Kentucky's standin' waitin'
Jest to take you wholly in,
An' she'll loosen her vast girdle
So that you can fully see
All the roots, fruits, leaves, an' branches
Of her hospitality.
Faith is essential to prosperity,
Although no mortal knoweth what it be;
For, without it, the wise man, like the fool,
Would swap the ocean for a stagnant pool.
ON HEARING JAMES W. RILEY READ.
[From a Kentucky standpoint.]
To tell the truth, each piece he read
Set up a jingle in my head
That bumped and thumped and roared about,
Then on a sudden just crept out,
Gently and slowly at the start,
Then made a bee-line for my heart.
And more than once I thought maybe
His charming Hoosier poetry
Would be a guide to lead me over
To the Elysian fields of clover.
To find fault with his worst or best
Would be like finding fault with rest
After a fellow has been in
.The dirt and dust up to his chin,
And bathed and stretched beneath the trees
Whose branches fairly hug the breeze.
In these hackneyed and sordid days,
When censure thorns the bud of praise
And many think they ought not to
Give genius half its honest due,
And never fail to bombard it
With silly quips and shallow wit,
I like to just go hunt it up
And sup and sip and sip and sup;
And then I like to speak my praise
In honest thought and simple phrase,
And let the giver know that I
Delight in him and tell him why,
And not go wavering to and fro
But just come out and tell him so.
Life's fibres we are wont to separate
And nourish such as yield to pleasantry
A few scant sheaves. Thereby we sow a fate
Whose reapings choke the soul's vast granary.
Tread we, if need be, over thorny ways,
Rejoicing ever it is ours to dare ;
Nor heed the million-footed throng that stays,
Nor stop to heal our bleeding feet and bare.
He was, in truth, a man whose genius dwelt
In mystic corners of the universe ;
And Nature, couched in what he saw and felt,
Appears in garments simplified and terse.
He tilled the old deserted fields with zeal,
And honored every common thing he saw
By making it a part of the great seal
That holds secure the universal law.
HYMN FOR ZION'S CENTENNIAL.
To Bis:iop Walters, D. D.
Tune — "My Cotintry, ' Tzs of Thee!'
The Past with all its wrong
Deserves a joyous song
From every soul;
For, be it as it may,
It sheds a dazzling ray
That lights our tedious way
With ample dole.
The Present speaketh thus
In accents glorious :
The times to be
Will check man's selfish ways
And yield him better days
And ever be ablaze
O Zion ! dost thou ask
What daily, hourly task
Thy God has set
To see if thou wilt still
Thy noble creed fulfill
And hearken to His will
However met ?
It is to place His love
All earthly dross above
And let men know
Howe'er they be depraved,
If Christ's name be engraved
Within they will be saved
From lasting woe.
O Zion ! true and tried,
By faith and hope abide,
And steer right on.
And as thou mov'st spread out
No tempting sail of doubt
Whose ample folds may flout
The promised dawn.
Her eyes gave forth a light that softened so
The rugged metal of my inner soul
I straightway reckoned loneliness and woe
Would flee, if we approached them as a whole.
Sin smirched thy garments, and thy lot was cast
Within the cold embrace of discontent;
Still thou didst blow so clear and pure a blast
Its echo warrants censure's banishment.
As one would rob a reptile of its sting
And make it tame and trustful in the end,
So by sheer tact and kindly ministering
Convert each foe you meet into a friend.
THE VOICE OF THE OCEAN.
As I stood beside the ocean,
At the wild waves in commotion,
Thus it spoke to me :
' i Thousands now are sweetly sleeping
In my wide embrace,
While my waves are slowly creeping
O'er each silent face.
" In the dark primeval ages
That so long have flown
Holy men and mighty sages
Loved to sleep in stone.
"So vast sepulchres were hollowed
By the hands of slaves,
And by thousands they were followed
To their rocky graves.
' ' But the loved ones whom my billows
Now are raging o'er
Sank to sleep on briny pillows,
Mid my awful roar."
Now, firstly, from my text I stray
To where my discourse is begun;
And then I just say on and say
Until, well, I am done.
Oliver Wendell Holmes.
Who can hold up the intellect and say :
" From here to there scampers a vein of wit
With laughing humor by the side of it,
Assisting cold philosophy to play
The game of thinking?" Not a single ray
That boldly shines therefrom will e'er admit
Of close analysis. So, bit by bit,
We fall to guessing out the mind's true way
Of forming wholes. O astute analyst !
And royal merchant in the mart of song !
Because of this we see as through a mist
Thy charming whole. Yet know to thee belong,
Howe'er they be arranged, the God-like three —
Wit, humor, and sublime philosophy.
AMERICA TO ENGLAND, 1895.
O England ! mother England ! hast thou come
To dally with the love of victory
That flashes forth thy sometime cruelty
Thou visitest on nations wearisome?
And would'st thou start a wound the blood therefrom-
Mingled with blood that will come forth with glee
To meet thy own upon both land and sea —
Shall curse eternally all Christendom ?
Mother ! the great West has no will to mar
Thy glory's currents that so grandly run ;
But would remind thee it has grown a star
That borrows naught from thy resplendent sun.
Let us not winnow chaff till its increase
Sever the girdle of the whole world's peace.
TO A BEAUTY.
Homage is thine because, forsooth, thy face
Brooks not an entrance to thy fickle soul;
So, untrained eyes think they have reached life's goal
If but allowed thy lineaments to trace.
He who looks deeply will at once erase
Thy outer image till worth's sacred stole
Warm into active being powers that dole
Out inward beauties he must needs embrace.
Thus, richly blended, thou wilt have the power
To wield an influence whose magic dart
Will find each victim in Love's crowded bower,
And leave thy message on his throbbing heart.
Then he who flinches 'neath thy chastening rod
Belies his nature and defies his God.
THE NEGRO'S LOYALTY.
Disloyal to my native land ?
A traitor to the stripes and stars ?
I lift this tried and sturdy hand
To forge my brother's prison bars ?
Perish the hellish thought !
My all shall go as a true patriot's ought.
For him who doth unwisely prate
Of my good will to bloody Spain,
I brew the patriot's righteous hate,
And hurl it at him with disdain.
May the avenging rod
Wed his foul dust to the o'er-welcome sod.
Justice at times may slightly swerve,
And turn the course of freedom back,
Her blinded presence tend to nerve
The mob that puts me to the rack;
Yet, I am what I am —
A force to guard the rights of Uncle Sam.
My faith looks up through blood and tears
And tarries at the golden dawn
Whose beams slant out across the years,
Proclaiming freedom fully born.
I must do what I can
To hasten on this boon to struggling man.
God bless this land of corn and wine !
God bless her loyal, fighting sons !
May each one say : ' ' The cause is mine ;
I'll stand beside the roaring guns,
And play a hero's part
In striking terror to Spain's cruel heart."
MR. GOODY'S GOAT.
Old Mr. Goody had a goat
That was quiet and genteel;
His mustache started on his chin
And ended on his heel.
This goat thought he was just as smart
As anything could be ;
He said no other goat alive
Knew half so much as he.
He knew that corn is made to grow,
And eggs are made to hatch ;
But, lo, he never yet had seen
The thing you call a match.
So, one day as he pondered o'er
The many things he knew,
He chanced to see this very thing
Lying plainly in his view.
Said he : " Of all the things I've seen
Not one of them I've feared;
So I will take this something up
And hang it in my beard."
Just then a monkey came along,
And sneeringly he spoke :
"The thing that dangles from your beard
Was clearly made to smoke."
"And how?" the goat made quick reply.
The monkey said: "Just so;"
And gave the match a kind of stroke
That monkeys only know.
And in a trice there stood a goat
As beardless as a flea,
And one that thought the smallest thing
Knew just as much as he.
Thou art the daysman of the human soul,
Thou giv'st thy timely warning loud and long;
And all who hearken unto thy control
Will never tread the noxious paths of wrong.
Oh, brother mine, let this true herald cease
To guide thee as thou movest on thy way,
And, soon or late, the fires of love and peace
Will dwell in thee as dormant as the clay.
Therefore, at every point be vigilant
Lest thy own action thwart the soul's emprise;
And numb the pulse that otherwise would grant
The key to earth's unearthy paradise.
It is a blessed thing to look into
The many-sided mysteries of man ;
But for each point secured is ever due
The servile homage of the charlatan.
She was the prettiest little maid
That ever tripped along,
Or sat beneath the pleasant shade
To sing an evening song.
And ever at her work she sang
Some sinple, rustic lay
Until the cliffs around her rang
With its sweet melody.
Her cot, beneath a rocky hill,
Stood by an aged tree;
And far below a little rill
Ran rippling to the sea.
Along its banks she often strayed
To fill her lap with flowers,
Or in some grassy cranny played
At building fairy towers.
Now, sunny April came to wake
All nature from its sleeping ;
And here and there a little brake
Above the soil was peeping.
And Lily thought the gentle spring
Did never fairer seem,
And hurried through her work to sin£
Beside the little stream.
While sitting on its grassy brink,
Singing her rustic lay,
She saw the songsters light and drink
Then quickly flit away.
Just then some school-boys came along
Upon the farther shore ;
And straightway did she cease the song
To row them safely o'er.
She tried to take the little boat
Across the stream in vain,
And sank beneath the current swift,
And never rose again.
When you roam the garden over,
When you trip across the lea,
When you play amid the clover,
Mary, do you think of me ?
When you sit beside the fire
In the closing of the year,
Have you still the same desire
That once made my presence dear?
When the banquet hall is lighted
For the youthful and the gay,
And you are with the invited,
Do you sigh that I'm away ?
When you hear that some disaster
Has befallen ship and crew,
Do you wish the hours were faster
That will bring me back to you ?
And if I, perchance, should perish,
While upon the briny sea,
Mary, will you ever cherish
All the gifts you have from me ?
I put salt water to my thirsty lip,
And drew it back as quickly as I could.
Do likewise, man, whene'er you chance to dip
Into those things you have not understood.
I separated both immediately,
And drank the water to my soul's content,
Then threw the worthless salt into the sea.
Drink pleasures, man, after sin's banishment.
LET NONE IGNOBLY HALT.
" The paths of glory lead but to the grave." — Gray.
Let none ignobly halt because
They tell us glory's fickle wave
Rolls on in keeping with set laws
And bears but to the cold, dark grave;
For whatsoever course we take
Leads straight to this unwelcome goal,
So, spur the will and grandly make
The voyage with elated soul.
ANSWER TO DUNBAR'S "A CHOICE."
They please me so — these solemn lays
That tell what God to man decrees.
The world so seldom mends its ways
That poets should by swift degrees
Put back the frail, bring forth the strong,
And wed stern facts to sober song
With a ring so clear that our barks must steer
To the haven where the God-kissed air
Makes the soul-wine sweet through its earth-brewed lees.
As one who stands beside a magic pool
And cries to every nymph that lifts its head :
"Come, bring me gold," and only hears : " Thou fool,
Repent or journey on disquieted ;"
So he who stranger is to his own soul
Will find him face to face with the unreal,
And spend his time in trying to read the scroll
Whereon he thinks is writ life's great ideal.
THOUGHT AND FEELING.
"Lend me thy fire," I said unto my soul;
"Give me a thought," I pleaded with my brain.
The first said: " Cultivate thy needed strain."
The second whispered: " Search from pole to pole."
JOHNNY'S DREAM OF SANTA CLAUS.
Johnny was smart as he was good,
But still he never understood
Why Santa Claus, with his reindeer,
Can only come 'round once a year.
The more he thought about the thing,
The more it set him wondering.
" Now, why," said he, "can't Santa Claus
Throw off those old and binding laws,
And always have his little pack
Ready to fling across his back;
And, mounted on his fleet reindeer,
Come 'round at least four times a year ?
1 [ I'm sure that all the little boys
Who find such sport in Santa's toys,
And all the girls who love to play
With dolls and such the live-long day,
Would welcome him whene'er he comes
With songs and plays and fifes and drums."
His eyelids closed, his head drooped low,
And he was where the sleepers go.
He dreamed that he was sitting by
The fireside, musing silently,
When all at once he heard a shout
Ring loud and merrily without;
And as he gazed into the flame
Santa Claus down the chimney came.
His voice was low, but round and sweet,
His beard., it almost touched his feet.
With eyes as bright as they could be
He looked at Johnny curiously,
And said, 'Til tell you why my deer
And I can come but once a year.
" When they were given unto me
I had to promise faithfully
That whatsoever might betide,
I'd always keep them at my side.
Now, I can't live and be untrue,
So they can't come unless I do.
"And of the many promises
Concerning me, I give you these :
My beard must be as white as snow,
And just as long as it can grow.
My eyes must be so bright that I
Can see a speck up in the sky.
u When I have given out my toys
To all the little girls and boys,
And scampered over hill and plain,
And driven my deer back home again,
My beard turns black and all drops out —
A fact, perchance, that you may doubt.
"And then it creeps out leisurely
Till it's as long as it should be,
Then, bit by bit, each day and night,
It turns and turns till it turns white.
About the time this task is through,
The Old Year sadly hails the New.
" My eyes grow dim and dimmer still,
Until I can not see at will ;
And then they turn and grow so bright
That I can see the darkest night.
But this, too, takes a whole round year —
Another fact to doubt, my dear.
"And now, perchance, you'd like to know
Just why these things should vary so.
About the beard I will not speak
(I see that you are growing weak),
My sight grows dim, so I can't view
The naughty things .that children do.
' ' I can not give my precious toys
To any little girls and boys
That I know have been bad at school,
And violated every rule
That ma and pa so lovingly
Have made for their prosperity.
"Since I am anxious every one
Should get some toys and have some fun,
It is as plain as plain can be
The only thing that's left for me
Is not to see them when they do
The very things they ought not to.
"And so I wait till near the morn
On which the blessed Christ was born,
When, like the Master, every child
Is striving to be meek and mild."
Then, seated on the brightest flame,
Old Santa went the way he came.
Johnny awoke in great surprise,
And, as he slowly rubbed his eyes,
He turned his mind aback to see
The flaws in his past history,
And they were such he had to say :
" Old Santa's is the better way.
"And if he and his fleet reindeer
Will not come more than once a year
I'm sure that it will just suit me,
And I don't know but there may be
Some others who, like me, will say
That Santa's is the better way."
SIX IN DEPORTMENT.
A SCHOOL-BOY IDYL.
"What's that you got there in your hand?
You think that I don't understand ?
Let's see! er I'll chug you in the ribs.
Ho, boys ! come here ; old Tricky Tibbs
Got his report. Say, Trick, I'll bet
You anything that you can get
That thing don't say you're going to pass,
You know you done been giving sass
The whole month through. You, snigger, you!
That teacher's bound to out figger you
On that deportment. Well, let's see!
I told you so ; he's just got three.
Got six? Well, now, just listen to that!
Goose! you don't know where 'bouts you're at."
" You bet I do," said Tricky, wearing
A smile the boys thought had no bearing
Upon said case. " I have some doubts
As to you seeing the ins and outs
Of this here thing. There is a point
That in my case becomes a joint
And fastens this three to enough
To make it six. You say it's stuff?
Let's figger then. Even you can see
To make my six takes one more three.
Now, ain't that right? You sleepy dunce,
You ought to see the rest at once,
Or from your eyes the scales be picking.
I got the other three in licking."
"Well, Uncle Zeb, it seems that you
Are always peeping 'round
As if in search of some queer spot
Where wisdom may be found."
" Now, child, you see this head of mine
Has been a kind of bin
For all the things around me to
Store up their valuables in.
"And, child, I tell you what I b'lieve
About this here affair ;
I b'lieve this world's a kind of thing
Whose breath you call the air.
"And this is alway blowing and
A-sputtering, and so
The moon and sun and all the rest
Are just obliged to go.
"Just look out there! Now, ain't that sun
A-running 'round and 'round ?
And ain't this breath you call the wind
A-keeping it from the ground ?
" Now, child, the winds that get out there
Are mighty far from home
And lonely-like. So they just take
The sun and have a roam."
When Time was laggard in the long ago,
And stopped to pilfer dainty things to eat,
Dispatch, his master, vowed him lasting woe
By putting bells about his lazy feet.
Now, had Dispatch been master of the tongue
And served it likewise for his pleasure's sake,
Reason and Silence would have long since wrung
His nose and ears for making the mistake.
Make not a law to rule another
That you yourselves would not obey ;
In this, as in the ancient day,
Man is the keeper of his brother.
Let not the States about you see
That you are great in all that goes
To banish friends and harbor foes
Around the base of freedom's tree.
A JUST REWARD.
A poet shyly sang a ditty
To Lady Bonnevare,
And hinted she was wise and witty
As well as wondrous fair.
" Upon my word I will forsake you,"
She said and laced him coldly,
" And may the devil come and take you
Till you can warble boldly."
MY POVERTY AND WEALTH.
This life of mine is poor indeed,
If it be measured by
The little mankind, in their need,
Reap from my charity.
But rich it is beyond the power
Of my dull eyes to see,
When measured by the gracious dower,
Which they bequeath to me.