African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

Paul Laurence Dunbar, "Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow" (1905)


      'Tis fine to play
      In the fragrant hay,
  And romp on the golden load;
      To ride old Jack
      To the barn and back,
  Or tramp by a shady road.
      To pause and drink,
      At a mossy brink;
  Ah, that is the best of joy,
      And so I say
      On a summer's day,
  What's so fine as being a boy?
          Ha, Ha!

      With line and hook
      By a babbling brook,
  The fisherman's sport we ply;
      And list the song
      Of the feathered throng
  That flit in the branches nigh.
      At last we strip
      For a quiet dip;
  Ah, that is the best of joy.
      For this I say
      On a summer's day,
  What's so fine as being a boy?
          Ha, Ha!


      I know a man
      With face of tan,
  But who is ever kind;
      Whom girls and boys
      Leaves games and toys
  Each eventide to find.

      When day grows dim,
      They watch for him,
  He comes to place his claim;
      He wears the crown
      Of Dreaming-town;
  The sand-man is his name.

      When sparkling eyes
      Troop sleepywise
  And busy lips grow dumb;
      When little heads
      Nod toward the beds,
  We know the sand-man's come.


  The sand-man he's a jolly old fellow,
  His face is kind and his voice is mellow,
  But he makes your eyelids as heavy as lead,
  And then you got to go off to bed;
    I don't think I like the sand-man.

  But I've been playing this livelong day;
  It does make a fellow so tired to play!
  Oh, my, I'm a-yawning right here before ma,
  I'm the sleepiest fellow that ever you saw.
    I think I do like the sand-man.


  Oh, who would be sad tho' the sky be a-graying,
    And meadow and woodlands are empty and bare;
  For softly and merrily now there come playing,
    The little white birds thro' the winter-kissed air.

  The squirrel's enjoying the rest of the thrifty,
    He munches his store in the old hollow tree;
  Tho' cold is the blast and the snow-flakes are drifty
    He fears the white flock not a whit more than we.


  Then heigho for the flying snow!
  Over the whitened roads we go,
    With pulses that tingle,
    And sleigh-bells a-jingle
  For winter's white birds here's a cheery heigho!


  De win' is blowin' wahmah,
    An hit's blowin' f'om de bay;
  Dey's a so't o' mist a-risin'
    All erlong de meddah way;
  Dey ain't a hint o' frostin'
    On de groun' ner in de sky,
  An' dey ain't no use in hopin'
    Dat de snow'll 'mence to fly.
      It's goin' to be a green Christmas,
        An' sad de day fu' me.
      I wish dis was de las' one
        Dat evah I should see.

  Dey's dancin' in de cabin,
    Dey's spahkin' by de tree;
  But dancin' times an' spahkin'
    Are all done pas' fur me.
  Dey's feastin' in de big house,
    Wid all de windahs wide--
  Is dat de way fu' people
    To meet de Christmas-tide?
      It's goin' to be a green Christmas,
        No mattah what you say.
      Dey's us dat will remembah
        An' grieve de comin' day.

  Dey's des a bref o' dampness
    A-clingin' to my cheek;
  De aih's been dahk an' heavy
    An' threatenin' fu' a week,
  But not wid signs o' wintah,
    Dough wintah'd seem so deah--
  De wintah's out o' season,
    An' Christmas eve is heah.
      It's goin' to be a green Christmas,
        An' oh, how sad de day!
      Go ax de hongry chu'chya'd,
        An' see what hit will say.

  Dey's Allen on de hillside,
    An' Marfy in de plain;
  Fu' Christmas was like springtime,
    An' come wid sun an' rain.
  Dey's Ca'line, John, an' Susie,
    Wid only dis one lef':
  An' now de curse is comin'
    Wid murder in hits bref.
      It's goin' to be a green Christmas--
        Des hyeah my words an' see:
      Befo' de summah beckons
        Dey's many 'll weep wid me.


  Good hunting!--aye, good hunting,
    Wherever the forests call;
  But ever a heart beats hot with fear,
    And what of the birds that fall?

  Good hunting!--aye, good hunting,
    Wherever the north winds blow;
  But what of the stag that calls for his mate?
    And what of the wounded doe?

  Good hunting!--aye, good hunting;
    And ah! we are bold and strong;
  But our triumph call through the forest hall
    Is a brother's funeral song.

  For we are brothers ever,
    Panther and bird and bear;
  Man and the weakest that fear his face,
    Born to the nest or lair.

  Yes, brothers, and who shall judge us?
    Hunters and game are we;
  But who gave the right for me to smite?
    Who boasts when he smiteth me?

  Good hunting!--aye, good hunting,
    And dim is the forest track;
  But the sportsman Death comes striding on:
    Brothers, the way is black.


  Sweetest of the flowers a-blooming
    In the fragrant vernal days
  Is the Lily of the Valley
    With its soft, retiring ways.

  Well, you chose this humble blossom
    As the nurse's emblem flower,
  Who grows more like her ideal
    Every day and every hour.

  Like the Lily of the Valley
    In her honesty and worth,
  Ah, she blooms in truth and virtue
    In the quiet nooks of earth.

  Tho' she stands erect in honor
    When the heart of mankind bleeds,
  Still she hides her own deserving
    In the beauty of her deeds.

  In the silence of the darkness
    Where no eye may see and know,
  There her footsteps shod with mercy,
    And fleet kindness come and go.

  Not amid the sounds of plaudits,
    Nor before the garish day,
  Does she shed her soul's sweet perfume,
    Does she take her gentle way.

  But alike her ideal flower,
    With its honey-laden breath,
  Still her heart blooms forth its beauty
    In the valley shades of death.


    Because you love me I have much achieved,
  Had you despised me then I must have failed,
    But since I knew you trusted and believed,
  I could not disappoint you and so prevailed.

TO J. Q.

  What are the things that make life bright?
    A star gleam in the night.
  What hearts us for the coming fray?
    The dawn tints of the day.
  What helps to speed the weary mile?
    A brother's friendly smile.
  What turns o' gold the evening gray?
    A flower beside the way.


  Tell your love where the roses blow,
    And the hearts of the lilies quiver,
  Not in the city's gleam and glow,
    But down by a half-sunned river.
  Not in the crowded ball-room's glare,
    That would be fatal, Marie, Marie,
  How can she answer you then and there?
    So come then and stroll with me, my dear,
    Down where the birds call, Marie, Marie.


  Ain't it nice to have a mammy
    W'en you kin' o' tiahed out
  Wid a-playin' in de meddah,
    An' a-runnin' roun' about
  Till hit's made you mighty hongry,
    An' yo' nose hit gits to know
  What de smell means dat 's a-comin'
    F'om de open cabin do'?
      She wash yo' face,
      An' mek yo' place,
    You's hongry as a tramp;
  Den hit's eat you suppah right away,
    You sta'vin' little scamp.

  W'en you's full o' braid an' bacon,
    An' dey ain't no mo' to eat,
  An' de lasses dat's a-stickin'
    On yo' face ta'se kin' o' sweet,
  Don' you t'ink hit's kin' o' pleasin'
    Fu' to have som'body neah
  Dat'll wipe yo' han's an' kiss you
    Fo' dey lif' you f'om you' cheah?
      To smile so sweet,
      An' wash yo' feet,
    An' leave 'em co'l an' damp;
  Den hit's come let me undress you, now
    You lazy little scamp.

  Don' yo' eyes git awful heavy,
    An' yo' lip git awful slack,
  Ain't dey som'p'n' kin' o' weaknin'
    In de backbone of yo' back?
  Don' yo' knees feel kin' o' trimbly,
    An' yo' head go bobbin' roun',
  W'en you says yo' "Now I lay me,"
    An' is sno'in on de "down"?
      She kiss yo' nose,
      She kiss yo' toes,
    An' den tu'n out de lamp,
  Den hit's creep into yo' trunnel baid,
    You sleepy little scamp.


  Days git wa'm an' wa'mah,
    School gits mighty dull,
  Seems lak dese hyeah teachahs
    Mus' feel mussiful.
  Hookey's wrong, I know it
    Ain't no gent'man's trick;
  But de aih's a-callin',
    "Come on to de crick."

  Dah de watah's gu'glin'
    Ovah shiny stones,
  Des hit's ve'y singin'
    Seems to soothe yo' bones.
  Wat's de use o' waitin'
    Go on good an' quick:
  Dain't no fun lak dis hyeah
    Wadin' in de crick.

  W'at dat jay-b'ud sayin'?
    Bettah shet yo' haid,
  Fus' t'ing dat you fin' out,
    You'll be layin' daid.
  Jay-bu'ds sich a tattlah,
    Des seem lak his trick
  Fu' to tell on folkses
    Wadin' in de crick.

  Wilier boughs a-bendin'
    Hidin' of de sky,
  Wavin' kin' o' frien'ly
    Ez de win' go by,
  Elum trees a-shinin',
    Dahk an' green an' thick,
  Seem to say, "I see yo'
    Wadin' in de crick."

  But de trees don' chattah,
    Dey des look an' sigh
  Lak hit's kin' o' peaceful
    Des a-bein' nigh,
  An' yo' t'ank yo' Mastah
    Dat dey trunks is thick
  W'en yo' mammy fin's you
    Wadin' in de crick.

  Den yo' run behin' dem
    Lak yo' scaihed to def,
  Mammy come a-flyin',
    Mos' nigh out o' bref;
  But she set down gentle
    An' she drap huh stick,--
  An' fus' t'ing, dey's mammy
    Wadin' in de crick.


  Dolly sits a-quilting by her mother, stich by stitch,
  Gracious, how my pulses throb, how my fingers itch,
  While I note her dainty waist and her slender hand,
  As she matches this and that, she stitches strand by strand.
  And I long to tell her Life's a quilt and I'm a patch;
  Love will do the stitching if she'll only be my match.


  She wrapped her soul in a lace of lies,
    With a prime deceit to pin it;
  And I thought I was gaining a fearsome prize,
    So I staked my soul to win it.

  We wed and parted on her complaint,
    And both were a bit of barter,
  Tho' I'll confess that I'm no saint,
    I'll swear that she's no martyr.


  I had not known before
    Forever was so long a word.
  The slow stroke of the clock of time
    I had not heard.

  'Tis hard to learn so late;
    It seems no sad heart really learns,
  But hopes and trusts and doubts and fears,
    And bleeds and burns.

  The night is not all dark,
    Nor is the day all it seems,
  But each may bring me this relief--
    My dreams and dreams.

  I had not known before
    That Never was so sad a word,
  So wrap me in forgetfulness--
    I have not heard.


  Wintah time hit comin'
    Stealin' thoo de night;
  Wake up in the mo'nin'
    Evah t'ing is white;
  Cabin lookin' lonesome
    Stannin' in de snow,
  Meks you kin' o' nervous,
    Wen de win' hit blow.

  Trompin' back from feedin',
    Col' an' wet an' blue,
  Homespun jacket ragged,
    Win' a-blowin' thoo.
  Cabin lookin' cheerful,
    Unnerneaf de do',
  Yet you kin' o' keerful
    Wen de win' hit blow.

  Hickory log a-blazin'
    Light a-lookin' red,
  Faith o' eyes o' peepin'
    'Rom a trun'le bed,
  Little feet a-patterin'
    Cleak across de flo';
  Bettah had be keerful
    Wen de win' hit blow.

  Suppah done an' ovah,
    Evah t'ing is still;
  Listen to de snowman
    Slippin' down de hill.
  Ashes on de fiah,
    Keep it wa'm but low.
  What's de use o' keerin'
    Ef de win' do blow?

  Smoke house full o' bacon,
    Brown an' sweet an' good;
  Taters in de cellah,
    'Possum roam de wood;
  Little baby snoozin'
    Des ez ef he know.
  What's de use o' keerin'
    Ef de win' do blow?


  'Twixt a smile and a tear,
    'Twixt a song and a sigh,
  'Twixt the day and the dark,
    When the night draweth nigh.

  Ah, sunshine may fade
    From the heavens above,
  No twilight have we
    To the day of our love.


  Mammy's in de kitchen, an' de do' is shet;
  All de pickaninnies climb an' tug an' sweat,
  Gittin' to de winder, stickin' dah lak flies,
  Evah one ermong us des all nose an' eyes.

  "Whut's she cookin', Isaac?"
    "Whut's she cookin', Jake?"
  "Is it sweet pertaters? Is hit pie er cake?"
  But we couldn't mek out even whah we stood
  Whut was mammy cookin' dat could smell so good.

  Mammy spread de winder, an' she frown an' frown,
  How de pickaninnies come a-tum-blin' down!
  Den she say: "Ef you-all keeps a-peepin' in,
  How I'se gwine to whup you, my! 't 'ill be a sin!
  Need n' come a-sniffin' an' a-nosin' hyeah,
  'Ca'se I knows my business, nevah feah."
  Won't somebody tell us--how I wish dey would!--
  Whut is mammy cookin' dat it smells so good?

  We know she means business, an' we dassent stay,
  Dough it's mighty tryin' fuh to go erway;
  But we goes a-troopin' down de ol' wood-track
  'Twell dat steamin' kitchen brings us stealin' back,
  Climbin' an' a-peepin' so's to see inside.
  Whut on earf kin mammy be so sha'p to hide?
  I'd des up an' tell folks w'en I knowed I could,
  Ef I was a-cookin' t'ings dat smelt so good.

  Mammy in de oven, an' I see huh smile;
  Moufs mus' be a-wat'rin' roun' hyeah fuh a mile;
  Den we almos' hollah ez we hu'ies down,
  'Ca'se hit's apple dumplin's, big an' fat an' brown!
  W'en de do' is opened, solemn lak an' slow,
  Wisht you see us settin' all dah in a row
  Innercent an' p'opah, des lak chillun should
  W'en dey mammy's cookin' t'ings dat smell so good.


  Granny's gone a-visitin',
    Seen huh git huh shawl
  W'en I was a-hidin' down
    Hime de gyahden wall.
  Seen huh put her bonnet on,
    Seen huh tie de strings,
  An' I'se gone to dreamin' now
    'Bout dem cakes an' t'ings.

  On de she'f behime de do'--
    Mussy, what a feas'!
  Soon ez she gits out o' sight,
    I kin eat in peace.
  I bin watchin' fu' a week
    Des fu' dis hyeah chance.
  Mussy, w'en I gits in daih,
    I'll des sholy dance.

  Lemon pie an' gingah-cake,
    Let me set an' t'ink--
  Vinegah an' sugah, too,
    Dat'll mek a drink;
  Ef dey's one t'ing dat I loves
    Mos' pu'ticlahly,
  It is eatin' sweet t'ings an'
    A-drinkin' Sangaree.

  Lawdy, won' po' granny raih
    W'en she see de she'f;
  W'en I t'ink erbout huh face,
    I's mos' 'shamed myse'f.
  Well, she gone, an 'hyeah I is,
    Back behime de do'--
  Look hyeah! gran' 's done 'spected me,
    Dain't no sweets no mo'.

  Evah sweet is hid erway,
    Job des done up brown;
  Pusson t'ink dat someun t'ought
    Dey was t'eves erroun';
  Dat des breaks my heart in two,
    Oh how bad I feel!
  Des to t'ink my own gramma
    B'lieved dat I 'u'd steal!


  Eight of 'em hyeah all tol' an' yet
  Dese eyes o' mine is wringin' wet;
  My haht's a-achin' ha'd an' so',
  De way hit nevah ached befo';
  My soul's a-pleadin', "Lawd, give back
  Dis little lonesome baby black,
  Dis one, dis las' po' he'pless one
  Whose little race was too soon run."

  Po' Little Jim, des fo' yeahs ol'
  A-layin' down so still an' col'.
  Somehow hit don' seem ha'dly faih,
  To have my baby lyin' daih
  Wi'dout a smile upon his face,
  Wi'dout a look erbout de place;
  He ust to be so full o' fun
  Hit don' seem right dat all's done, done.

  Des eight in all but I don' caih,
  Dey wa'nt a single one to spaih;
  De worl' was big, so was my haht,
  An' dis hyeah baby owned hit's paht;
  De house was po', dey clothes was rough,
  But daih was meat an' meal enough;
  An' daih was room fu' little Jim;
  Oh! Lawd, what made you call fu' him?.

  It do seem monst'ous ha'd to-day,
  To lay dis baby boy away;
  I'd learned to love his teasin' smile,
  He mought o' des been lef' erwhile;
  You wouldn't t'ought wid all de folks,
  Dat's roun' hyeah mixin' teahs an' jokes,
  De Lawd u'd had de time to see
  Dis chile an' tek him 'way f'om me.

  But let it go, I reckon Jim,
  'Ll des go right straight up to Him
  Dat took him f'om his mammy's nest
  An' lef dis achin' in my breas',
  An' lookin' in dat fathah's face
  An' 'memberin' dis lone sorrerin' place,
  He'll say, "Good Lawd, you ought to had
  Do sumpin' fu' to comfo't dad!"


  The wind is out in its rage to-night,
    And your father is far at sea.
  The rime on the window is hard and white
    But dear, you are near to me.
      Heave ho, weave low,
        Waves of the briny deep;
      Seethe low and breathe low,
        But sleep you, my little one, sleep, sleep.

  The little boat rocks in the cove no more,
    But the flying sea-gulls wail;
  I peer through the darkness that wraps the shore,
    For sight of a home set sail.
      Heave ho, weave low,
        Waves of the briny deep;
      Seethe low and breathe low,
        But sleep you, my little one, sleep, sleep.

  Ay, lad of mine, thy father may die
    In the gale that rides the sea,
  But we'll not believe it, not you and I,
    Who mind us of Galilee.
      Heave ho, weave low,
        Waves of the briny deep;
      Seethe low and breathe low,
        But sleep you, my little one, sleep, sleep.


  I's a-gittin' weary of de way dat people do,
  De folks dat's got dey 'ligion in dey fiah-place an' flue;
  Dey's allus somep'n comin' so de spit'll have to turn,
  An' hit tain't no p'oposition fu' to mek de hickory bu'n.
  Ef de sweet pertater fails us an' de go'geous yallah yam,
  We kin tek a bit o' comfo't f'om ouah sto' o' summah jam.
  W'en de snow hit git to flyin', dat's de Mastah's own desiah,
  De Lawd'll run de wintah an' yo' mammy'll run de fiah.

  I ain' skeered because de win' hit staht to raih and blow,
  I ain't bothahed w'en he come er rattlin' at de do',
  Let him taih hisse'f an' shout, let him blow an' bawl,

  Dat's de time de branches shek an' bresh-wood 'mence to fall.
  W'en de sto'm er railin' an' de shettahs blowin' 'bout,
  Dat de time de fiah-place crack hits welcome out.
  Tain' my livin' business fu' to trouble ner enquiah,
  De Lawd'll min' de wintah an' my mammy'll min' de fiah.

  Ash-cake allus gits ez brown w'en February's hyeah
  Ez it does in bakin' any othah time o' yeah.
  De bacon smell ez callin'-like, de kittle rock an' sing,
  De same way in de wintah dat dey do it in de spring;
  Dey ain't no use in mopin' 'round an' lookin' mad an' glum
  Erbout de wintah season, fu' hit's des plumb boun' to come;

  An' ef it comes to runnin' t'ings I's willin' to retiah,
  De Lawd'll min' de wintah an' my mammy'll min' de fiah.


  Oh, the little bird is rocking in the cradle of the wind,
    And it's bye, my little wee one, bye;
  The harvest all is gathered and the pippins all are binned;
    Bye, my little wee one, bye;
  The little rabbit's hiding in the golden shock of corn,
  The thrifty squirrel's laughing bunny's idleness to scorn;
  You are smiling with the angels in your slumber, smile till morn;
    So it's bye, my little wee one, bye.

  There'll be plenty in the cellar, there'll be plenty on the shelf;
    Bye, my little wee one, bye;
  There'll be goodly store of sweetings for a dainty little elf;
    Bye, my little wee one, bye.
  The snow may be a-flying o'er the meadow and the hill,
  The ice has checked the chatter of the little laughing rill,
  But in your cosey cradle you are warm and happy still;
    So bye, my little wee one, bye.

  Why, the Bob White thinks the snowflake is a brother to his song;
    Bye, my little wee one, bye;
  And the chimney sings the sweeter when the wind is blowing strong;
    Bye, my little wee one, bye;
  The granary's overflowing, full is cellar, crib, and bin,
  The wood has paid its tribute and the ax has ceased its din;
  The winter may not harm you when you're sheltered safe within;
    So bye, my little wee one, bye.


  There's a fabulous story
  Full of splendor and glory,
    That Arabian legends transcends;
  Of the wealth without measure,
  The coffers of treasure,
    At the place where the rainbow ends.

  Oh, many have sought it,
  And all would have bought it,
    With the blood we so recklessly spend;
  But none has uncovered,
  The gold, nor discovered
    The spot at the rainbow's end.

  They have sought it in battle,
  And e'en where the rattle
    Of dice with man's blasphemy blends;
  But howe'er persuasive,
  It still proves evasive,
    This place where the rainbow ends.

  I own for my pleasure,
  I yearn not for treasure,
    Though gold has a power it lends;
  And I have a notion,
  To find without motion,
    The place where the rainbow ends.

  The pot may hold pottage,
  The place be a cottage,
    That a humble contentment defends,
  Only joy fills its coffer,
  But spite of the scoffer,
    There's the place where the rainbow ends.

  Where care shall be quiet,
  And love shall run riot,
    And I shall find wealth in my friends;
  Then truce to the story,
  Of riches and glory;
    There's the place where the rainbow ends.


  De dog go howlin' 'long de road,
     De night come shiverin' down;
  My back is tiahed of its load,
     I cain't be fu' f'om town.
  No mattah ef de way is long,
  My haht is swellin' wid a song,
     No mattah 'bout de frownin' skies,
     I'll soon be home to see my Lize.

  My shadder staggah on de way,
     It's monstous col' to-night;
  But I kin hyeah my honey say
     "W'y bless me if de sight
  O' you ain't good fu' my so' eyes."
  (Dat talk's dis lak my lady Lize)
     I's so'y case de way was long
     But Lawd you bring me love an' song.

  No mattah ef de way is long,
     An' ef I trimbles so'
  I knows de fiah's burnin' strong,
     Behime my Lizy's do'.
  An' daih my res' an' joy shell be,
  Whaih my ol' wife's awaitin' me--
     Why what I keer fu' stingin' blas',
     I see huh windah light at las'.


  My muvver's ist the nicest one
     'At ever lived wiz folks;
  She lets you have ze mostes' fun,
     An' laffs at all your jokes.

  I got a ol' maid auntie, too,
     The worst you ever saw;
  Her eyes ist bore you through and through,--
     She ain't a bit like ma.

  She's ist as slim, as slim can be,
     An' when you want to slide
  Down on ze balusters, w'y she
     Says 'at she's harrified.

  She ain't as nice as Uncle Ben,
     What says 'at little boys
  Won't never grow to be big men
     Unless they're fond of noise.

  But muvver's nicer zan 'em all,
     She calls you, "precious lamb,"
  An' let's you roll your ten-pin ball,
     An' spreads your bread wiz jam.

  An' when you're bad, she ist looks sad,
     You fink she's goin' to cry;
  An' when she don't you're awful glad,
     An' den you're good, Oh, my!

  At night, she takes ze softest hand,
     An' lays it on your head,
  An' says "Be off to Sleepy-Land
     By way o' trundle-bed."

  So when you fink what muvver knows
     An' aunts an' uncle tan't,
  It skeers a feller; ist suppose
     His muvver 'd been a aunt.


  On a summer's day as I sat by a stream,
     A dainty maid came by,
  And she blessed my sight like a rosy dream,
     And left me there to sigh, to sigh,
     And left me there to sigh, to sigh.

  On another day as I sat by the stream,
     This maiden paused a while,
  Then I made me bold as I told my dream,
     She heard it with a smile, a smile,
     She heard it with a smile, a smile.

  Oh, the months have fled and the autumn's red,
     The maid no more goes by:
  For my dream came true and the maid I wed,
     And now no more I sigh, I sigh,
     And now no more I sigh.


  The gray dawn on the mountain top
     Is slow to pass away.
  Still lays him by in sluggish dreams,
     The golden God of day.

  And then a light along the hills,
     Your laughter silvery gay;
  The Sun God wakes, a bluebird trills,
  You come and it is day.


  Step me now a bridal measure,
  Work give way to love and leisure,
  Hearts be free and hearts be gay--
  Doctor Dan doth wed to-day.

  Diagnosis, cease your squalling--
  Check that scalpel's senseless bawling,
  Put that ugly knife away--
  Doctor Dan doth wed to-day.

  'Tis no time for things unsightly,
  Life's the day and life goes lightly;
  Science lays aside her sway--
  Love rules Dr. Dan to-day.

  Gather, gentlemen and ladies,
  For the nuptial feast now made is,
  Swing your garlands, chant your lay
  For the pair who wed to-day.

  Wish them happy days and many,
  Troubles few and griefs not any,
  Lift your brimming cups and say
  God bless them who wed to-day.

  Then a cup to Cupid daring,
  Who for conquest ever faring,
  With his arrows dares assail
  E'en a doctor's coat of mail.

  So with blithe and happy hymning
  And with harmless goblets brimming,
  Dance a step--musicians play--
  Doctor Dan doth wed to-day.


  What's the use o' folks a-frownin'
     When the way's a little rough?
  Frowns lay out the road fur smilin'
     You'll be wrinkled soon enough.
        What's the use?

  What's the use o' folks a-sighin'?
     It's an awful waste o' breath,
  An' a body can't stand wastin'
     What he needs so bad in death.
        What's the use?

  What's the use o' even weepin'?
     Might as well go long an' smile.
  Life, our longest, strongest arrow,
     Only lasts a little while.
        What's the use?


  The trees bend down along the stream,
     Where anchored swings my tiny boat.
  The day is one to drowse and dream
     And list the thrush's throttling note.
  When music from his bosom bleeds
  Among the river's rustling reeds.

  No ripple stirs the placid pool,
     When my adventurous line is cast,
  A truce to sport, while clear and cool,
     The mirrored clouds slide softly past.
  The sky gives back a blue divine,
  And all the world's wide wealth is mine.

  A pickerel leaps, a bow of light,
  The minnows shine from side to side.
  The first faint breeze comes up the tide--
  I pause with half uplifted oar,
  While night drifts down to claim the shore.


  W'en you full o' worry
     'Bout yo' wo'k an' sich,
  W'en you kind o' bothered
     Case you can't get rich,
  An' yo' neighboh p'ospah
     Past his jest desu'ts,
  An' de sneer of comerds
     Stuhes yo' heaht an' hu'ts,
  Des don' pet yo' worries,
     Lay 'em on de she'f,
  Tek a little trouble
     Brothah, wid yo'se'f.

  Ef a frien' comes mou'nin'
     'Bout his awful case,
  You know you don' grieve him
     Wid a gloomy face,
  But you wrassle wid him,
     Try to tek him in;
  Dough hit cracks yo' features,
     Law, you smile lak sin,
  Ain't you good ez he is?
     Don' you pine to def;
  Tek a little trouble
     Brothah, wid yo'se'f.

  Ef de chillun pestahs,
     An' de baby's bad,
  Ef yo' wife gits narvous,
     An' you're gettin' mad,
  Des you grab yo' boot-strops,
     Hol' yo' body down,
  Stop a-tinkin' cuss-w'rds,
     Chase away de frown,
  Knock de haid o' worry,
     Twell dey ain' none lef';
  Tek a little trouble,
     Brothah, wid yo'se'f.


  Ef you's only got de powah fe' to blow a little whistle,
    Keep ermong de people wid de whistles.
  Ef you don't, you'll fin' out sho'tly dat you's th'owed yo' fines' feelin'
    In a place dat's all a bed o' thistles.
  'Tain't no use a-goin' now, ez sho's you bo'n,
  A-squeakin' of yo' whistle 'g'inst a gread big ho'n.

  Ef you ain't got but a teenchy bit o' victuals on de table,
    Whut' de use a-claimin' hit's a feas'?
  Fe' de folks is mighty 'spicious, an' dey's ap' to come apeerin',
    Lookin' fe' de scraps you lef' at leas'.
  Wen de meal's a-hidin' f'om de meal-bin's top,
  You needn't talk to hide it; ef you sta'ts, des stop.

  Ef yo' min' kin only carry half a pint o' common idees,
    Don' go roun' a-sayin' hit's a bar'l;
  'Ca'se de people gwine to test you, an' dey'll fin' out you's a-lyin',
    Den dey'll twis' yo' sayin's in a snarl.
  Wuss t'ing in de country dat I evah hyahed--
  A crow dot sat a-squawkin', "I's a mockin'-bird."


  I found you and I lost you,
    All on a gleaming day.
  The day was rilled with sunshine,
    And the land was full of May.

  A golden bird was singing
    Its melody divine,
  I found you and I loved you,
    And all the world was mine.

  I found you and I lost you,
    All on a golden day,
  But when I dream of you, dear,
    It is always brimming May.


  'Twas the apple that in Eden
     Caused our father's primal fall;
  And the Trojan War, remember--
    'Twas an apple caused it all.
  So for weeks I've hesitated,
    You can guess the reason why,
  For I want to tell my darling
    She's the apple of my eye.


  These are the days of elfs and fays:
  Who says that with the dreams of myth,
  These imps and elves disport themselves?
  Ah no, along the paths of song
  Do all the tiny folk belong.

  Round all our homes,
  Kobolds and gnomes do daily cling,
  Then nightly fling their lanterns out.
  And shout on shout, they join the rout,
  And sing, and sing, within the sweet enchanted ring.

  Where gleamed the guile of moonlight's smile,
  Once paused I, listening for a while,
  And heard the lay, unknown by day,--
  The fairies' dancing roundelay.

  Queen Mab was there, her shimmering hair
  Each fairy prince's heart's despair.
  She smiled to see their sparkling glee,
  And once I ween, she smiled at me.

  Since when, you may by night or day,
  Dispute the sway of elf-folk gay;
  But, hear me, stay!
  I've learned the way to find Queen
     Mab and elf and fay.

  Where e'er by streams, the moonlight gleams,
  Or on a meadow softly beams,
  There, footing round on dew-lit ground,
  The fairy folk may all be found.


  The mist has left the greening plain,
  The dew-drops shine like fairy rain,
  The coquette rose awakes again
     Her lovely self adorning.
  The Wind is hiding in the trees,
  A sighing, soothing, laughing tease,
  Until the rose says "Kiss me, please,"
  'Tis morning, 'tis morning.

  With staff in hand and careless-free,
  The wanderer fares right jauntily,
  For towns and houses are, thinks he,
     For scorning, for scorning.
  My soul is swift upon the wing,
  And in its deeps a song I bring;
  Come, Love, and we together sing,
     "'Tis morning, 'tis morning."


  I did not know that life could be so sweet,
  I did not know the hours could speed so fleet,
  Till I knew you, and life was sweet again.
  The days grew brief with love and lack of pain--

  I was a slave a few short days ago,
  The powers of Kings and Princes now I know;
  I would not be again in bondage, save
  I had your smile, the liberty I crave.


  The draft of love was cool and sweet
     You gave me in the cup,
  But, ah, love's fire is keen and fleet,
     And I am burning up.

  Unless the tears I shed for you
     Shall quench this burning flame,
  It will consume me through and through,
     And leave but ash--a name.


  Outside the rain upon the street,
    The sky all grim of hue,
  Inside, the music-painful sweet,
    And yet I heard but you.

  As is a thrilling violin,
    So is your voice to me,
  And still above the other strains,
    It sang in ecstasy.


  All de night long twell de moon goes down,
    Lovin' I set at huh feet,
  Den fu' de long jou'ney back f'om de town,
    Ha'd, but de dreams mek it sweet.

  All de night long twell de break of de day,
    Dreamin' agin in my sleep,
  Mandy comes drivin' my sorrers away,
    Axin' me, "Wha' fu' you weep?"

  All de day long twell de sun goes down,
    Smilin', I ben' to my hoe,
  Fu' dough de weddah git nasty an' frown,
    One place I know I kin go.

  All my life long twell de night has pas'
    Let de wo'k come ez it will,
  So dat I fin' you, my honey, at las',
    Somewhaih des ovah de hill.


  Standin' at de winder,
    Feelin' kind o' glum,
  Listenin' to de raindrops
    Play de kettle drum,
  Lookin' crost de medders
    Swimmin' lak a sea;
  Lawd 'a' mussy on us,
    What's de good o' me?

  Can't go out a-hoein',
    Wouldn't ef I could;
  Groun' too wet fu' huntin',
    Fishin' ain't no good.
  Too much noise fo' sleepin',
    No one hyeah to chat;
  Des mus' stan' an' listen
    To dat pit-a-pat.

  Hills is gittin' misty,,
    Valley's gittin' dahk;
  Watch-dog's 'mence a-howlin',
    Rathah have 'em ba'k
  Dan a-moanin' solemn
    Somewhaih out o' sight;
  Rain-crow des a-chucklin'--
    Dis is his delight.

  Mandy, bring my banjo,
    Bring de chillen in,
  Come in f'om de kitchen,
     I feel sick ez sin.
  Call in Uncle Isaac,
     Call Aunt Hannah, too,
  Tain't no use in talkin',
     Chile, I's sholy blue.


  Come away to dreamin' town,
    Mandy Lou, Mandy Lou,
  Whaih de skies don' nevah frown,
          Mandy Lou;
  Whaih he streets is paved with gol',
  Whaih de days is nevah col',
  An' no sheep strays f'om de fol',
          Mandy Lou.

  Ain't you tiahed of every day,
    Mandy Lou, Mandy Lou,
  Tek my han' an' come away,
          Mandy Lou,
  To the place whaih dreams is King,
  Whaih my heart hol's everything,
  An' my soul can allus sing,
          Mandy Lou.

  Come away to dream wid me,
    Mandy Lou, Mandy Lou,
  Whaih our hands an' hea'ts are free,
          Mandy Lou;
  Whaih de sands is shinin' white,
  Whaih de rivahs glistens bright,
          Mandy Lou.

  Come away to dreamland town,
    Mandy Lou, Mandy Lou,
  Whaih de fruit is bendin' down,
    Des fu' you.
  Smooth your brow of lovin' brown,
  An' my love will be its crown;
  Come away to dreamin' town,
          Mandy Lou.


  Whut time 'd dat clock strike?
        Nine? No--eight;
    I didn't think hit was so late.
  Aer chew! I must 'a' got a cough,
    I raally b'lieve I did doze off--
  Hit's mighty soothin' to de tiah,
    A-dozin' dis way by de fiah;
  Oo oom--hit feels so good to stretch
    I sutny is one weary wretch!

  Look hyeah, dat boy done gone to sleep!
    He des ain't wo'th his boa'd an' keep;
  I des don't b'lieve he'd bat his eyes
    If Gab'el called him fo'm de skies!
  But sleepin's good dey ain't no doubt--
    Dis pipe o' mine is done gone out.
  Don't bu'n a minute, bless my soul,
    Des please to han' me dat ah coal.

  You 'Lias git up now, my son,
    Seems lak my nap is des begun;
  You sutny mus' ma'k down de day
    Wen I treats comp'ny dis away!
  W'y, Brother Jones, dat drowse come on,
   An' laws! I dremp dat you was gone!
  You 'Lias, whaih yo' mannahs, suh,
    To hyeah me call an' nevah stuh!

  To-morrer mo'nin' w'en I call
    Dat boy'll be sleepin' to beat all,
  Don't mek no diffunce how I roah,
    He'll des lay up an' sno' and sno'.
  Now boy, you done hyeahed whut I said,
    You bettah tek yo'se'f yo baid,
  Case ef you gits me good an' wrong
    I'll mek dat sno' a diffunt song.

  Dis wood fiah is invitin' dho',
    Hit seems to wa'm de ve'y flo'--
  An' nuffin' ain't a whit ez sweet,
    Ez settin' toastin' of yo' feet.
  Hit mek you drowsy, too, but La!
    Hyeah, 'Lias, don't you hyeah yo' ma?
  Ef I gits sta'ted f'om dis cheah
    I' lay, you scamp, I'll mek you heah!

  To-morrer mo'nin' I kin bawl
    Twell all de neighbohs hyeah me call;
  An' you'll be snoozin' des ez deep
    Ez if de day was made fu' sleep;
  Hit's funny when you got a cough
    Somehow yo' voice seems too fu' off--
  Can't wake dat boy fu' all I say,
  I reckon he'll sleep daih twell day!


  I held my heart so far from harm,
    I let it wander far and free
  In mead and mart, without alarm,
    Assured it must come back to me.

  And all went well till on a day,
    Learned Dr. Cupid wandered by
  A search along our sylvan way
    For some peculiar butterfly.

  A flash of wings, a hurried dive,
    A flutter and a short-lived flit;
  This Scientist, as I am alive
    Had seen my heart and captured it.

  Right tightly now 'tis held among
    The specimens that he has trapped,
  And sings (Oh, love is ever young),
  'Tis passing sweet to be kidnaped.


  Because I had loved so deeply,
    Because I had loved so long,
  God in His great compassion
    Gave me the gift of song.

  Because I have loved so vainly,
    And sung with such faltering breath,
  The Master in infinite mercy
    Offers the boon of Death.


  De sun hit shine an' de win' hit blow,
  Ol' Brer Rabbit be a-layin' low,
    He know dat de wintah time a-comin',
  De huntah man he walk an' wait,
  He walk right by Brer Rabbit's gate--
    He know--

  De dog he lick his sliverin' chop,
  An' he tongue 'gin' his mouf go flop, flop--
  He rub his nose fu' to clah his scent
  So's to tell w'ich way dat cottontail went,

  De huntah's wife she set an' spin
    A good wahm coat fu' to wrop him in
  She look at de skillet an' she smile, oh my!
  An' ol' Brer Rabbit got to sholy fly.
    Dey know.


  If thro' the sea of night which here surrounds me,
    I could swim out beyond the farthest star,
  Break every barrier of circumstance that bounds me,
    And greet the Sun of sweeter life afar,

  Tho' near you there is passion, grief, and sorrow,
    And out there rest and joy and peace and all,
  I should renounce that beckoning for to-morrow,
    I could not choose to go beyond your call.


  Underneath the autumn sky,
  Haltingly, the lines go by.
  Ah, would steps were blithe and gay,
  As when first they marched away,
  Smile on lip and curl on brow,--
  Only white-faced gray-beards now,
  Standing on life's outer verge,
  E'en the marches sound a dirge.

  Blow, you bugles, play, you fife,
  Rattle, drums, for dearest life.
  Let the flags wave freely so,
  As the marching legions go,
  Shout, hurrah and laugh and jest,
  This is memory at its best.
  (Did you notice at your quip,
  That old comrade's quivering lip?)

  Ah, I see them as they come,
  Stumbling with the rumbling drum;
  But a sight more sad to me
  E'en than these ranks could be
  Was that one with cane upraised
  Who stood by and gazed and gazed,
  Trembling, solemn, lips compressed,
  Longing to be with the rest.

  Did he dream of old alarms,
  As he stood, "presented arms"?
  Did he think of field and camp
  And the unremitting tramp
  Mile on mile--the lonely guard
  When he kept his midnight ward?
  Did he dream of wounds and scars
  In that bitter war of wars?

  What of that? He stood and stands
  In my memory--trembling hands,
  Whitened beard and cane and all
  As if waiting for the call
  Once again: "To arms, my sons,"
  And his ears hear far-off guns,
  Roll of cannon and the tread
  Of the legions of the Dead!


  Yesterday I held your hand,
  Reverently I pressed it,
  And its gentle yieldingness
  From my soul I blessed it.

  But to-day I sit alone,
  Sad and sore repining;
  Must our gold forever know
  Flames for the refining?

  Yesterday I walked with you,
  Could a day be sweeter?
  Life was all a lyric song
  Set to tricksy meter.

  Ah, to-day is like a dirge,--
  Place my arms around you,
  Let me feel the same dear joy
  As when first I found you.

  Let me once retrace my steps,
  From these roads unpleasant,
  Let my heart and mind and soul
  All ignore the present.

  Yesterday the iron seared
  And to-day means sorrow.
  Pause, my soul, arise, arise,
  Look where gleams the morrow.


  Love used to carry a bow, you know,
    But now he carries a taper;
  It is either a length of wax aglow,
    Or a twist of lighted paper.

  I pondered a little about the scamp,
    And then I decided to follow
  His wandering journey to field and camp,
    Up hill, down dale or hollow.

  I dogged the rollicking, gay, young blade
    In every species of weather;
  Till, leading me straight to the home of a maid
    He left us there together.

  And then I saw it, oh, sweet surprise,
    The taper it set a-burning
  The love-light brimming my lady's eyes,
    And my heart with the fire of yearning.


  The wind told the little leaves to hurry,
    And chased them down the way,
  While the mother tree laughed loud in glee,
    For she thought her babes at play,
  The cruel wind and the rain laughed loudly,
    We'll bury them deep, they said,
  And the old tree grieves, and the little leaves
    Lie low, all chilled and dead.


  If 'twere fair to suppose
    That your heart were not taken,
  That the dew from the rose
    Petals still were not shaken,
  I should pluck you,
    Howe'er you should thorn me and scorn me,
  And wear you for life as the green of the bower.

  If 'twere fair to suppose
    That that road was for vagrants,
  That the wind and the rose,
    Counted all in their fragrance;
  Oh, my dear one,
    By love, I should take you and make you,
  The green of my life from the scintillant hour.


  Cover him over with daisies white
    And eke with the poppies red,
  Sit with me here by his couch to-night,
    For the First-Born, Love, is dead.

  Poor little fellow, he seemed so fair
    As he lay in my jealous arms;
  Silent and cold he is lying there
    Stripped of his darling charms.

  Lusty and strong he had grown forsooth,
    Sweet with an infinite grace,
  Proud in the force of his conquering youth,
    Laughter alight in his face.

  Oh, but the blast, it was cruel and keen,
    And ah, but the chill it was rare;
  The look of the winter-kissed flow'r you've seen
    When meadows and fields were bare.

  Can you not wake from this white, cold sleep
    And speak to me once again?
  True that your slumber is deep, so deep,
    But deeper by far is my pain.

  Cover him over with daisies white,
    And eke with the poppies red,
  Sit with me here by his couch to-night,
    For the First-Born, Love, is dead.


  Home agin, an' home to stay--
  Yes, it's nice to be away.
  Plenty things to do an' see,
  But the old place seems to me
  Jest about the proper thing.
  Mebbe 'ts 'cause the mem'ries cling
  Closer 'round yore place o' birth
  'N ary other spot on earth.

  W'y it's nice jest settin' here,
  Lookin' out an' seein' clear,
  'Thout no smoke, ner dust, ner haze
  In these sweet October days.
  What's as good as that there lane,
  Kind o' browned from last night's rain?
  'Pears like home has got the start
  When the goal's a feller's heart.

  What's as good as that there jay
  Screechin' up'ards towards the gray
  Skies? An' tell me, what's as fine
  As that full-leafed pumpkin vine?
  Tow'rin' buildin's--? yes, they're good;
  But in sight o' field and wood,
  Then a feller understan's
  'Bout the house not made with han's.

  Let the others rant an' roam
  When they git away from home;
  Jest gi' me my old settee
  An' my pipe beneath a tree;
  Sight o' medders green an' still,
  Now and then a gentle hill,
  Apple orchards, full o' fruit,
  Nigh a cider press to boot--

  That's the thing jest done up brown;
  D'want to be too nigh to town;
  Want to have the smells an' sights,
  An' the dreams o' long still nights,
  With the friends you used to know
  In the keerless long ago--
  Same old cronies, same old folks,
  Same old cider, same old jokes.

  Say, it's nice a-gittin' back,
  When yore pulse is growin' slack,
  An' yore breath begins to wheeze
  Like a fair-set valley breeze;
  Kind o' nice to set aroun'
  On the old familiar groun',
  Knowin' that when Death does come,
  That he'll find you right at home.


  In de dead of night I sometimes,
    Git to t'inkin' of de pas'
  An' de days w'en slavery helt me
    In my mis'ry--ha'd an' fas'.
  Dough de time was mighty tryin',
    In dese houahs somehow hit seem
  Dat a brightah light come slippin'
    Thoo de kivahs of my dream.

  An' my min' fu'gits de whuppins
    Draps de feah o' block an' lash
  An' flies straight to somep'n' joyful
    In a secon's lightnin' flash.
  Den hit seems I see a vision
    Of a dearah long ago
  Of de childern tumblin' roun' me
    By my rough ol' cabin do'.

  Talk about yo' go'geous mansions
    An' yo' big house great an' gran',
  Des bring up de fines' palace
    Dat you know in all de lan'.
  But dey's somep'n' dearah to me,
    Somep'n' faihah to my eyes
  In dat cabin, less you bring me
    To yo' mansion in de skies.

  I kin see de light a-shinin'
    Thoo de chinks atween de logs,
  I kin hyeah de way-off bayin'
    Of my mastah's huntin' dogs,
  An' de neighin' of de hosses
    Stampin' on de ol' bahn flo',
  But above dese soun's de laughin'
    At my deah ol' cabin do'.

  We would gethah daih at evenin',
    All my frien's 'ud come erroun'
  An' hit wan't no time, twell, bless you,
    You could hyeah de banjo's soun'.
  You could see de dahkies dancin'
    Pigeon wing an' heel an' toe--
  Joyous times I tell you people
    Roun' dat same ol' cabin do'.

  But at times my t'oughts gits saddah,
    Ez I riccolec' de folks,
  An' dey frolickin' an' talkin'
    Wid dey laughin' an dey jokes.
  An' hit hu'ts me w'en I membahs
    Dat I'll nevah see no mo'
  Dem ah faces gethered smilin'
    Roun' dat po' ol' cabin do'.


  Let me close the eyes of my soul
    That I may not see
  What stands between thee and me.

  Let me shut the ears of my heart
    That I may not hear
  A voice that drowns yours, my dear.

  Let me cut the cords of my life,
    Of my desolate being,
  Since cursed is my hearing and seeing.


  Tim Murphy's gon' walkin' wid Maggie O'Neill,
          O chone!
  If I was her muther, I'd frown on sich foolin',
          O chone!
  I'm sure it's unmutherlike, darin' an' wrong
  To let a gyrul hear tell the sass an' the song
  Of every young felly that happens along,
          O chone!

  An' Murphy, the things that's be'n sed of his doin',
          O chone!
  'Tis a cud that no dacent folks wants to be chewin',
          O chone!
  If he came to my door wid his cane on a twirl,
  Fur to thry to make love to you, Biddy, my girl,
  Ah, wouldn't I send him away wid a whirl,
          O chone!

  They say the gossoon is indecent and dirty,
          O chone!
  In spite of his dressin' so.
          O chone!
  Let him dress up ez foine ez a king or a queen,
  Let him put on more wrinkles than ever was seen,
  You'll be sure he's no match for my little colleen,
          O chone!

  Faith the two is comin' back an' their walk is all over,
          O chone!
  'Twas a pretty short walk fur to take wid a lover,
          O chone!
  Why, I believe that Tim Murphy's a kumin' this way,
  Ah, Biddy jest look at him steppin' so gay,
  I'd niver belave what the gossipers say,
          O chone!

  He's turned in the gate an' he's coming a-caperin',
          O chone!
  Go, Biddy, go quick an' put on a clane apern,
          O chone!
  Be quick as ye kin fur he's right at the dure;
  Come in, master Tim, fur ye're welcome I'm shure.
  We were talkin' o' ye jest a minute before.
          O chone!


  Oh the breeze is blowin' balmy
    An the sun is in a haze;
  There's a cloud jest givin' coolness
    To the laziest of days.
  There are crowds upon the lakeside,
    But the fish refuse to bite,
  So I'll wait and go a-fishin'
    When the wind gets right.

  Now my boat tugs at her anchor,
    Eager now to kiss the spray,
  While the little waves are callin'
    Drowsy sailor come away,
  There's a harbor for the happy,
    And its sheen is just in sight,
  But I won't set sail to get there,
    Till the wind gets right.

  That's my trouble, too, I reckon,
    I've been waitin' all too long,
  Tho' the days were always
    Still the wind is always wrong.
  An' when Gabriel blows his trumpet,
    In the day o' in the night,
  I will still be found waitin',
    Till the wind gets right.


  Summah is de lovin' time--
    Do' keer what you say.
  Night is allus peart an' prime,
    Bettah dan de day.
  Do de day is sweet an' good,
    Birds a-singin' fine,
  Pines a-smellin' in de wood,--
    But de night is mine.

  Rivah whisperin' "howdy do,"
    Ez it pass you by--
  Moon a-lookin' down at you,
    Winkin' on de sly.
  Frogs a-croakin' f'om de pon',
    Singin' bass dey fill,
  An' you listen way beyon'
    Ol' man whippo'will.

  Hush up, honey, tek my han'
    Mek yo' footsteps light;
  Somep'n' kin' o' hol's de lan'
    On a summah night.
  Somep'n' dat you nevah sees
    An' you nevah hyeahs,
  But you feels it in de breeze,
    Somep'n' nigh to teahs.

  Somep'n' nigh to teahs? dat's so;
    But hit's nigh to smiles.
  An' you feels it ez you go
    Down de shinin' miles.
  Tek my han', my little dove;
    Hush an' come erway--
  Summah is de time fu' love,
    Night-time beats de day!


  Adown the west a golden glow
    Sinks burning in the sea,
  And all the dreams of long ago
    Come flooding back to me.
  The past has writ a story strange
    Upon my aching heart,
  But time has wrought a subtle change,
    My wounds have ceased to smart.

  No more the quick delight of youth,
    No more the sudden pain,
  I look no more for trust or truth
    Where greed may compass gain.
  What, was it I who bared my heart
    Through unrelenting years,
  And knew the sting of misery's dart,
    The tang of sorrow's tears?

  'Tis better now, I do not weep,
    I do not laugh nor care;
  My soul and spirit half asleep
    Drift aimless everywhere.
  We float upon a sluggish stream,
    We ride no rapids mad,
  While life is all a tempered dream
    And every joy half sad.


  Silence, and whirling worlds afar
    Through all encircling skies.
  What floods come o'er the spirit's bar,
    What wondrous thoughts arise.

  The earth, a mantle falls away,
    And, winged, we leave the sod;
  Where shines in its eternal sway
    The majesty of God.


  Since I left the city's heat
  For this sylvan, cool retreat,
  High upon the hill-side here
  Where the air is clean and clear,
  I have lost the urban ways.
  Mine are calm and tranquil days,
  Sloping lawns of green are mine,
  Clustered treasures of the vine;
  Long forgotten plants I know,
  Where the best wild berries grow,
  Where the greens and grasses sprout,
  When the elders blossom out.
  Now I am grown weather-wise
  With the lore of winds and skies.
  Mine the song whose soft refrain
  Is the sigh of summer rain.
  Seek you where the woods are cool,
  Would you know the shady pool
  Where, throughout the lazy day,
  Speckled beauties drowse or play?
  Would you find in rest or peace
  Sorrow's permanent release?--
  Leave the city, grim and gray,
  Come with me, ah, come away.
  Do you fear the winter chill,
  Deeps of snow upon the hill?
  'Tis a mantle, kind and warm,
  Shielding tender shoots from harm.
  Do you dread the ice-clad streams,--
  They are mirrors for your dreams.
  Here's a rouse, when summer's past
  To the raging winter's blast.
  Let him roar and let him rout,
  We are armored for the bout.
  How the logs are glowing, see!
  Who sings louder, they or he?
  Could the city be more gay?
  Burn your bridges! Come away!


  W'en us fellers stomp around, makin' lots o' noise,
  Gramma says, "There's certain times come to little boys
  W'en they need a shingle or the soft side of a plank;"
  She says "we're a-itchin' for a right good spank."
    An' she says, "Now thes you wait,
    It's a-comin'--soon or late,
  W'en a feller's itchin' fer a spank."

  W'en a feller's out o' school, you know how he feels,
  Gramma says we wriggle 'roun' like a lot o' eels.
  W'y it's like a man that's thes home from out o' jail.
  What's the use o' scoldin' if we pull Tray's tail?
    Gramma says, tho', "Thes you wait,
    It's a-comin'--soon or late,
  You'se the boys that's itchin' to be spanked."

  Cats is funny creatures an' I like to make 'em yowl,
  Gramma alwus looks at me with a awful scowl
  An' she says, "Young gentlemen, mamma should be thanked
  Ef you'd get your knickerbockers right well spanked."
    An' she says, "Now thes you wait,
    It's a-comin'--soon or late,"
  When a feller's itchin' to be spanked.

  Ef you fin' the days is gettin' awful hot in school
  An' you know a swimmin' place where it's nice and cool,
  Er you know a cat-fish hole brimmin' full o' fish,
  Whose a-goin' to set around school and wish?
    'Tain't no use to hide your bait,
    It's a-comin,--soon or late,
  Wen a feller's itchin' to be spanked.

  Ol' folks know most ever'thing 'bout the world, I guess,
  Gramma does, we wish she knowed thes a little less,
  But I alwus kind o' think it 'ud be as well
    Ef they wouldn't alwus have to up an' tell;
    We kids wish 'at they'd thes wait,
    It's a-comin'--soon or late,
  Wen a feller's itchin' to be spanked.


  Along by the river of ruin
  They dally--the thoughtless ones,
  They dance and they dream
  By the side of the stream,
  As long as the river runs.

  It seems all so pleasant and cheery--
  No thought of the morrow is theirs,
  And their faces are bright
  With the sun of delight,
  And they dream of no night-brooding cares.

  The women wear garlanded tresses,
  The men have rings on their hands,
  And they sing in their glee,
  For they think they are free--
  They that know not the treacherous sands.

  Ah, but this be a venturesome journey,
  Forever those sands are ashift,
  And a step to one side
  Means a grasp of the tide,
  And the current is fearful and swift.

  For once in the river of ruin,
  What boots it, to do or to dare,
  For down we must go
  In the turbulent flow,
  To the desolate sea of Despair.


  Your presence like a benison to me
    Wakes my sick soul to dreamful ecstasy,
  I fancy that some old Arabian night
  Saw you my houri and my heart's delight.

  And wandering forth beneath the passionate moon,
    Your love-strung zither and my soul in tune,
  We knew the joy, the haunting of the pain
    That like a flame thrills through me now again.

  To-night we sit where sweet the spice winds blow,
    A wind the northland lacks and ne'er shall know,
  With clasped hands and spirits all aglow
    As in Arabia in the long ago.


  Oh, I des received a letter f'om de sweetest little gal;
        Oh, my; oh, my.
  She's my lovely little sweetheart an' her name is Sal:
        Oh, my; oh, my.
  She writes me dat she loves me an' she loves me true,
  She wonders ef I'll tell huh dat I loves huh, too;
  An' my heaht's so full o' music dat I do' know what to do;
        Oh, my; oh, my.

  I got a man to read it an' he read it fine;
        Oh, my; oh, my.
  Dey ain' no use denying dat her love is mine;
        Oh, my; oh, my.
  But hyeah's de t'ing dat's puttin' me in such a awful plight,
  I t'ink of huh at mornin' an' I dream of huh at night;
  But how's I gwine to cou't huh w'en I do' know how to write?
        Oh, my; oh, my.

  My heaht is bubblin' ovah wid de t'ings I want to say;
        Oh, my; oh, my.
  An' dey's lots of folks to copy what I tell 'em fu' de pay;
        Oh, my; oh, my.
  But dey's t'ings dat I's a-t'inkin' dat is only fu' huh ears,
  An' I couldn't lu'n to write 'em ef I took a dozen years;
  So to go down daih an' tell huh is de only way, it 'pears;
        Oh, my; oh, my.


  I've always been a faithful man
    An' tried to live for duty,
  But the stringent mode of life
    Has somewhat lost its beauty.

  The story of the generous bread
    He sent upon the waters,
  Which after many days returns
    To trusting sons and daughters,

  Had oft impressed me, so I want
    My soul influenced by it,
  And bought a loaf of bread and sought
    A stream where I could try it.

  I cast my bread upon the waves
    And fancied then to await it;
  It had not floated far away
    When a fish came up and ate it.

  And if I want both fish and bread,
    And surely both I'm wanting,
  About the only way I see
    Is for me to go fishing.


  Little brown face full of smiles,
  And a baby's guileless wiles,
      Liza May, Liza May.

  Eyes a-peeping thro' the fence
  With an interest intense,
      Liza May.

  Ah, the gate is just ajar,
  And the meadow is not far,
      Liza May, Liza May.

  And the road feels very sweet,
  To your little toddling feet,
      Liza May.

  Ah, you roguish runaway,
  What will toiling mother say,
      Liza May, Liza May?

  What care you who smile to greet
  Everyone you chance to meet,
      Liza May?

  Soft the mill-race sings its song,
  Just a little way along,
      Liza May, Liza May.

  But the song is full of guile,
  Turn, ah turn, your steps the while,
      Liza May.

  You have caught the gleam and glow
  Where the darkling waters flow,
      Liza May, Liza May.

  Flash of ripple, bend of bough,
  Where are all the angels now?
      Liza May.

  Now a mother's eyes intense
  Gazing o'er a shabby fence,
      Liza May, Liza May.

  Then a mother's anguished face
  Peering all around the place,
      Liza May.

  Hear the agonizing call
  For a mother's all in all,
      Liza May, Liza May.

  Hear a mother's maddened prayer
  To the calm unanswering air,
      Liza May.

  What's become of--Liza May?
  What has darkened all the day?
      Liza May, Liza May.

  Ask the waters dark and fleet,
  If they know the smiling, sweet
      Liza May.

  Call her, call her as you will,
  On the meadow, on the hill,
      Liza May, Liza May.

  Through the brush or beaten track
  Echo only gives you back,
      Liza May.

  Ah, but you were loving--sweet,
  On your little toddling feet,
      Liza May, Liza May.

  But through all the coming years,
  Must a mother breathe with tears,
      Liza May.


  Oh, who is the Lord of the land of life,
    When hotly goes the fray?
  When, fierce we smile in the midst of strife
    Then whom shall we obey?

  Oh, Love is the Lord of the land of life
    Who holds a monarch's sway;
  He wends with wish of maid and wife,
    And him you must obey.

  Then who is the Lord of the land of life,
    At setting of the sun?
  Whose word shall sway when Peace is rife
    And all the fray is done?

  Then Death is the Lord of the land of life,
    When your hot race is run.
  Meet then his scythe and, pruning-knife
    When the fray is lost or won.


  Dey was oncet a awful quoil 'twixt de skillet an' de pot;
  De pot was des a-bilin' an' de skillet sho' was hot.
  Dey slurred each othah's colah an' dey called each othah names,
  Wile de coal-oil can des gu-gled, po'in oil erpon de flames.

  De pot, hit called de skillet des a flat, disfiggered t'ing,
  An' de skillet 'plied dat all de pot could do was set an' sing,
  An' he 'lowed dat dey was 'lusions dat he wouldn't stoop to mek
  'Case he reckernize his juty, an' he had too much at steak.

  Well, at dis de pot biled ovah, case his tempah gittin' highah,
  An' de skillet got to sputterin', den de fat was in de fiah.
  Mistah flan lay daih smokin' an' a-t'inkin' to hisse'f,
  Wile de peppah-box us nudgin' of de gingah on de she'f.

  Den dey all des lef hit to 'im, 'bout de trouble an' de talk;
  An' howevah he decided, w'y dey bofe 'u'd walk de chalk;
  But de fiah uz so 'sgusted how dey quoil an' dey shout
  Dat he cooled 'em off, I reckon, w'en he puffed an' des went out.


  Step wid de banjo an' glide wid de fiddle,
    Dis ain' no time fu' to pottah an' piddle:
  Fu' Christmas is comin', it's right on de way,
    An' dey's houahs to dance 'fo' de break o' de day.

  What if de win' is taihin' an' whistlin'?
    Look at dat' fiah how hit's spittin' an' bristlin'!
  Heat in de ashes an' heat in de cindahs,
    Ol' mistah Fros' kin des look thoo de windahs.

  Heat up de toddy an' pas' de wa'm glasses,
    Don' stop to shivah at blowin's an' blas'es,
  Keep on de kittle an' keep it a-hummin',
    Eat all an' drink all, dey's lots o' a-comin'.
  Look hyeah, Maria, don't open dat oven,
    Want all dese people a-pushin' an' shovin'?

  Res' f'om de dance? Yes, you done cotch dat odah,
    Mammy done cotch it, an' law! hit nigh flo'd huh;
  'Possum is monst'ous fu' mekin' folks fin' it!
    Come, draw yo' cheers up, I's sho' I do' min' it.
  Eat up dem critters, you men folks an' wimmens,
    'Possums ain' skace w'en dey's lots o' pu'simmons.


  Your spoken words are roses fine and sweet,
  The songs you sing are perfect pearls of sound.
  How lavish nature is about your feet,
  To scatter flowers and jewels both around.

  Blushing the stream of petal beauty flows,
  Softly the white strings trickle down and shine.
  Oh! speak to me, my love, I crave a rose.
  Sing me a song, for I would pearls were mine.


  The rain streams down like harp-strings from the sky;
    The wind, that world-old harpist sitteth by;
  And ever as he sings his low refrain,
    He plays upon the harp-strings of the rain.


  Ah, I have changed, I do not know
  Why lonely hours affect me so.
  In days of yore, this were not wont,
  No loneliness my soul could daunt.

  For me too serious for my age,
  The weighty tome of hoary sage,
  Until with puzzled heart astir,
  One God-giv'n night, I dreamed of her.

  I loved no woman, hardly knew
  More of the sex that strong men woo
  Than cloistered monk within his cell;
  But now the dream is lost, and hell

  Holds me her captive tight and fast
  Who prays and struggles for the past.
  No living maid has charmed my eyes,
  But now, my soul is wonder-wise.

  For I have dreamed of her and seen
  Her red-brown tresses' ruddy sheen,
  Have known her sweetness, lip to lip,
  The joy of her companionship.

  When days were bleak and winds were rude,
  She shared my smiling solitude,
  And all the bare hills walked with me
  To hearken winter's melody.

  And when the spring came o'er the land
  We fared together hand in hand
  Beneath the linden's leafy screen
  That waved above us faintly green.

  In summer, by the river-side,
  Our souls were kindred with the tide
  That floated onward to the sea
  As we swept toward Eternity.

  The bird's call and the water's drone
  Were all for us and us alone.
  The water-fall that sang all night
  Was her companion, my delight,

  And e'en the squirrel, as he sped
  Along the branches overhead,
  Half kindly and half envious,
  Would chatter at the joy of us.

  'Twas but a dream, her face, her hair,
  The spring-time sweet, the winter bare,
  The summer when the woods we ranged,--
  'Twas but a dream, but all is changed.

  Yes, all is changed and all has fled,
  The dream is broken, shattered, dead.
  And yet, sometimes, I pray to know
  How just a dream could hold me so.


  Thou art the soul of a summer's day,
  Thou art the breath of the rose.
      But the summer is fled
      And the rose is dead
  Where are they gone, who knows, who knows?

  Thou art the blood of my heart o' hearts,
  Thou art my soul's repose,
      But my heart grows numb
      And my soul is dumb
  Where art thou, love, who knows, who knows?

  Thou art the hope of my after years--
  Sun for my winter snows
      But the years go by
      'Neath a clouded sky.
  Where shall we meet, who knows, Who knows?

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