Poems

A PUBLIC SERVANT
by R. J. P. HEWISON

Of erudition full, with due degrees,
He wore his learning with conspicuous case;
And, that no hint of don in him he found,
Pressed both feet firmly on pragmatic ground.
Pest-master of the bureaucratic craft—
The minute, memorandum, précis, draft,
The marginally annotated sneer,
When to write “Sir” and when employ “My Dear.”
He´d formulate a plan, rough out a scheme
(The while recounting yesternight’s old dream),
With facts well-groomed and telling figures ranged:
The objective alters—all to suit is changed.
A friend to all, excepting frauds and fools,
As often breaking as enforcing rules,
Ready to make as follow precedent,
And all to impatient execution bent,
A mighty load of cares he gaily bore,
And, loving honours, loved his honour more
One attribute this desk-Napoleon lacked;
Full of diplomacy, he wanted tact.

CHELSEA PENSIONER
by D. HAMILTON-BRADBURY

There he goes in pensive stage—
Soldier of another age!

Twinkling eyes are keenly set,
Deeply where the years have met.

Steadily he makes his way;
On his chest hang medals gay.

Coat of scarlet, brushed and neat,
Soldier-like from head to feet.

Cheerfully he drinks his ale,
Slowly tells his cherished tale.

Pipe aglow and eyes agleam,
Mutters on as in a dream.

Year by year he wanders back;
Rheumy fingers bend and crack.

Says he’s nearly eighty-nine—
Remnant of a thin red line.

There he goes, back on parade,
Grand old man who made the grade.

Back to Chelsea, whilst I sigh:
Red-backed soldiers never die!

MARENGO – Caroline Ramsden

If I saw my master falling
From his hard-won rank and state
To a less exalted calling,
I would welcome such a fate.

If he´d only quit re-arming,
Fighting Engishmen in Spain;
Turn his mind to dairy farming,
On some sunny, southern plain.

If he´d scrap the pomp and bunting,
Let the gilded eagles go;
We might have a season´s hunting,
In the shires (incognito).

Utter lack of moderation
Is my master greatest curse;
How can one man or one nation
Dominate the universe?

‘Mid the snow and ice of Russia,
Leaving Moscow far behind;
There and back, from France to Prussia,
Thoughts like these have filled my mind.

Please don’t think that I’m complaining;
With my master I’m content;
But I do detest campaigning
Up and down the Continent.

So, where e’re you honest men go
In the town or country fair;
Spare a thought for poor “Marengo,”
Sadly roaming here and there.

Seeking but to quit the babel,
For the land where he was born,
Longing for a sheltered stable,
And a meal of mellow corn.

Sensing ultimate disaster,
Filled with one supreme desire,
That his well-loved lord and master
Shed ambition, and retire.

THE ROOT OF THE TROUBLE (1945)
by SAGITTARIUS

Gen. de Gaulle has been resting at his home, following dental treatment.—News item, Manchester Guardian.

The reason may now be disclosed
Why France rebuffed Roosevelt´s “come hither—”
Her most sensitive nerve was exposed,
And her best friends could do nothing with her.
The venom that seemed to be working
They could not locate nor control
Till poison was found to be lurking
At the rooth of the tooth of the Gaulle.

Now France to the General defers
As her saviour, her head and defender,
So it follows his toothache is hers
When the nerves of the General are tender.
His pangs must arouse indignation
Which poisons relations Allied,
And the General´s advanced inflammation
Inflamed France´s national pride.

The American crisis acute
Redoubled de Gaulle´s self-assertion,
But the trouble when traced to the root
Was not shown as a rooted aversion.
Though while France and de Gaulle kept distance
And behaved in a manner uncouth
The American Entente´s existence
Might be said to have hung by a tooth.

But goodwill by toothache obscured
Is more lasting than poisoned affection,
And the crisis by dentistry cured
Only needed a local injection.
No poisonous aims were imputed,
No venom has seared France´soul,
And the root of the trouble´s uprooted
With the root of the tooth of de Gaulle.

THE PROPHECY
By EMMA SCARR LEDSHAM.

An angel, with the prophet’s far-off look,
Uttered these words in my attentive ear:
“Child, in the darksome ages of the past,
A chilling vapor overspread the world;
And only those who had the strength and will
To scale the loftiest mountains could perceive
The dawn that heralded the near approach
Of that most glorious orb, the sun of knowledge.
Those seers, of whom part were to good inclined,
And part to evil, having learned some things
More than their brethren of the vales and plains,
Came down among them to impart the news,
So wondrous, of a grand and perfect day
That soon should bathe them in celestial light.
But now the evil-minded prophets taught
That they possessed the supernatural power
To hasten or retard the blest event,
For which all looked with upturned, anxious eyes.
Then did the trembling, awestruck multitude
With reverence gather round these self-styled gods,
And do them homage. Thus their thrones were built
Upon credulity, and they became
Tyrants and libertines. The earth with blood
Was deluged ; and peace sought in vain to teach
The useful and the ornamental arts.
Slowly the sun ascended ; and across
The murky sky the swift cloud-couriers sped,
Bearing their lustrous banners stamped with words
So legible, that all might read with ease, —
´JUSTICE, EQUALITY, and LOVE and TRUTH ;
EMANCIPATION from the festering chains
Of selfishness and sin and ignorance ;
FREEDOM for all to worship, as they list,
The soul divine that Nature animates.’
Such were the mottoes on those flags of light ;
And they became enstamped upon the minds
Of all whose aspirations upward turned.
Higher the sun ascended, and the hills
Were wreathed with splendor ; and Darkness cowered,
And clung in terror to the skirts of Earth.
Electric thrills of expectation stirred
The depths of human feeling. Men began
To think, and closely question one another.
Reason was heard with calmness and respect ;
While Superstition drooped her sable wings,
Bewailing her unhappy future lot,
Since universal and despotic power
Might ne’er be hers to wield at will again.
Still higher climbs the sun ; and now the brows —
The upturned foreheads of the multitude —
Are bathed in his pellucid waves of light.
Men, wondering, learn of things they dreamed not of
While groping in the darkness of the past.
They see the vastness of their sphere of life,
That further reaches than e’en thought itself
Into the measureless deep on every side.
They see the shining opportunities
Bejeweling the mantle of the future.
They see each other’s weakness ; and they learn
To lean on the Creator, not the creature.
They see the footprints of the Deity
Impressed on Nature everywhere. They see
Their former soulless idols, shattered, fall
Before Progression, who in trumpet-tones
Cries, ‘ Men and women ! these momentous times,
Foretold so oft by prophets in the past,
Are now revealing to your startled view
Their marvelous creations. Live and learn.
Ere long, yon golden beams shall flood the earth,
And swallow all the lingering shades of night :
Then will heaven stoop to clasp in fond embrace
The enraptured world, and crown her placid brow
With fair Perfection’s never-fading wreath.
Take courage, ye who with despondence mourn
The piteous wrongs of poor humanity ;
Lift up your drooping heads : the blessed hour —
The hour of change — draws nigh ; the hour draws nigh´

DEAR SARAH
by HARTLEY COLERIDGE

If a stranger to the fold
Of happy innocents, where thou art one,
May so address thee by a name he loves,
Both for a mother’s and a sister’s sake,
And surely loves it not the less for thine.
Dear Sarah, strange it needs must seem to thee
That I should choose the quaint disguise of verse,
And, like a mimic masquer, come before thee
To tell my simple tale of country news,
Or,—sooth to tell thee,—I have nought to tell
But what a most intelligencing gossip
Would hardly mention on her morning rounds:
Things that a newspaper would not record
In the dead-blank recess of Parliament.
Yet so it is,—my thoughts are so confused,
My memory is so wild a wilderness,
I need the order of the measured line
To help me, whensoe’er I would attempt
To methodise the random notices
Of purblind observation. Easier far
The minuet step of slippery sliding verse,
Than the strong stately walk of steadfast prose.

Since you have left us, many a beauteous change
Hath Nature wrought on the eternal hills;
And not an hour hath past that hath not done
Its work of beauty. When December winds,
Hungry and fell, were chasing the dry leaves,
Shrill o’er the valley at the dead of night,
‘Twas sweet, for watchers such as I, to mark
How bright, how very bright, the stars would shine
Through the deep rifts of congregated clouds;
How very distant seemed the azure sky;
And when at morn the lazy, weeping fog,
Long lingering, loath to leave the slumbrous lake,
Whitened, diffusive, as the rising sun
Shed on the western hills his rosiest beams,
I thought of thee, and thought our peaceful vale
Had lost one heart that could have felt its peace,
One eye that saw its beauties, and one soul
That made its peace and beauty all her own.

One morn there was a kindly boon of heaven,
That made the leafless woods so beautiful,
It was sore pity that one spirit lives,
That owns the presence of Eternal God
In all the world of Nature and of Mind,
Who did not see it. Low the vapour hung
On the flat fields, and streak’d with level layers
The lower regions of the mountainous round;
But every summit, and the lovely line
Of mountain tops, stood in the pale blue sky
Boldly defined. The cloudless sun dispelled
The hazy masses, and a lucid veil
But softened every charm it not concealed.
Then every tree that climbs the steep fell-side—
Young oak, yet laden with sere foliage;
Larch, springing upwards, with its spikey top
And spiney garb of horizontal boughs;
The veteran ash, strong-knotted, wreathed and twined,
As if some Dæmon dwelt within its trunk,
And shot forth branches, serpent-like; uprear’d
The holly and the yew, that never fade
And never smile; these, and whate’er beside,
Or stubborn stump, or thin-arm’d underwood,
Clothe the bleak strong girth of Silverhow
(You know the place, and every stream and brook
Is known to you) by ministry of Frost,
Were turned to shapes of Orient adamant,
As if the whitest crystals, new endow’d
With vital or with vegetative power,
Had burst from earth, to mimic every form
Of curious beauty that the earth could boast,
Or, like a tossing sea of curly plumes,
Frozen in an instant——”

From “NICOTIANA” (1832) by HENRY JAMES MELLER, ESQ

NEW WORDS TO AN OLD TUNE.
A comic ditty.

Lieutenant Fire was fond of smoke,
And cash he ow’d a deal;
Tho’ some said he’d a heart of oak,
For others it could feel:
With wit he was,—not money stor’d,—
His landlord thought it meet,
As he’d liv’d free so long on board,
Why he should join the Fleet.

The station he lik’d not at all,
And wish’d the duty o’er;
He saw some fights, and many ball,
But ne’er saw such before.
To banish care, he sought a rod,
And smok’d like any mid,
But unlike some,—altho’ in quod,—
Disdain’d to take a quid.

And though a man, both short and stout,
All knew him in a crowd;
For oh, he never mov’d, without
His head was in a cloud:
In pris’n he met a friend he’d known
Full many years ago,
In ‘four in hand’ his cash had flown,
And now he’d come to woe.

Poor Brown, alas! he had been green,
And so his hopes had marr’d;
But thought it strange in turn, I ween,
He should be driven hard.
Now he took snuff, in quantum suff.,
He thought it calm’d his woes,—
While one friend blew the light cigar,
The other blew his nose.

“As we have bask’d in fortune’s calm,
Now squalls come we’ll not flinch,”
Thus spoke the tar, and gave his arm,
And Brown gave him a pinch.
“Now, Fire, all snuffs are good, we know,
Except when ill-prepar’d,
I love a box and you a blow,
But keep me from Blackguard.

At Lundyfoot I am no hand,
Seldom its dust I take, ah!
Each day or so, by turns, I go
From Strasburg to Jamaica.”
“’Tis well, my boy,” return’d the tar,
“Such journeys you can wend,
For fuel here don’t go so far,
Here’s plenty of walls-end.”

Of future scenes of happiness,
The tar he often spoke;
But they, indeed, as you may guess,
But ended all in smoke.
At length there money came one day,—
Each left the walls unkind;
The tar went out—yet strange to say,
His ashes left behind!

Winter Salad
By SYDNEY SMITH

‘Two large potatoes, passed through kitchen sieve,
Unwonted softness to the salnd give,
Of mordent mustard add a single spoon;—
Distrust the condiment which bites so soon.
But deem it not, thou man of herbs, a fault
To add a double quantity of salt.
Three times the spoon with oil of Lucca crown,
And once with vinegar procured from town.
True flavour needs it, and your poet begs
The pounded yellow of two well-boiled eggs.
Let onion atoms lurk within the bowl,
And, scarce suspected, animate the whole.
And lastly, on the flavoured compound toss
A magic teaspoon of anchovy sauce.
Then, though green turtle fail, though venison’s tough,
And ham and turkey are not boiled enough,
Serenely full, the Epicure may say,
”Fate cannot harm me—I have dined to-day!’

CLAM-SOUP
by WA Croffut

First catch your clams—along the ebbing edges
Of saline coves you’ll find the precious wedges,
With backs up, lurking in the sandy bottom;
Pull in your iron rake, and lo! you’ve got ’em.
Take thirty large ones, put a basin under,
And cleave with knife the stony jaws asunder;
Add water (three quarts) to the native liquor.
Bring to a boil (and, by-the-way, the quicker
It boils the better, if you’d do it cutely),
Now add the clams, chopped up and minced minutely.
Allow a longer boil of just three minutes,
And while it bubbles quickly stir within its
Tumultuous depths, where still the mollusks mutter,
Four tablespoons of flour and four of butter,
A pint of milk, some pepper to your notion,
And clams need salting, although born of ocean.
Remove from fire (if much boiled they will suffer,
You’ll find that India-rubber isn’t tougher);
After ’tis off, add three fresh eggs well beaten,
Stir once more, and it’s ready to be eaten.
Fruit of the wave! oh, dainty and delicious!
Food for the gods! ambrosia for Apicius!
Worthy to thrill the soul of sea-born Venus,
Or titillate the palate of Silenus.

A POETICAL APPETIZER
by Samuel Cutler Ward

Always have lobster sauce with salmon.
And put mince sauce your roasted lamb on.
Veal cutlet dip in egg and bread-crumb.
Fry till you see a brownish red come.
In dressing salad mind this law:
With two hard yolks use one that’s raw.
Roast veal with rich stock gravy serve;
And pickled mushrooms, too, observe.
Roast pork sans apple sauce, past doubt.
Is Hamlet with the Prince left out.
Your mutton chops with paper cover,
And make them amber-brown all over.
Broil lightly your breakfast—to fry it
Argues contempt of Christian diet.
To roast spring chicken is to spoil ’em—
Just split ’em down the back and broil ’em.
It gives true epicures the vapors
To see boiled mutton minus capers.
Boiled turkey, gourmands know, of course.
Is exquisite with celery sauce.
The cook deserves a hearty cuffing
Who serves roast fowl with tasteless stuffing.
Smelts require egg and biscuit powder—
Don’t put fat pork in your clam chowder.
Egg sauce—few make it right alas!—
Is good with bluefish or with bass.
Nice oyster sauce gives zest to cod—
A fish, when fresh, to feast a god.
Shad, stuffed and baked, is most delicious;
‘Twould have electrified Apicious.
Roasted in paste, a haunch of mutton
Might make ascetics play the glutton.
But one might rhyme for weeks this way.
And still have lots of things to say.
And so I’ll close, for, reader mine,
This is about the hour I dine.

A BALLADE OF DINNER.
There are pleasures of various kinds,
Which are nicely adjusted to suit
The balance of various minds
In a manner remarkably cute.
But the best of them all I salute —
It is shared by the saint and the sinner,
It is common to man and to brute —
The joys of an excellent dinner !
Not the beggar whom poverty grinds,
Who is blind, or one-legged, or mute ;
Not the German who constantly winds
The most horrible airs on his flute ;
Neither doctor nor lawyer astute,
Nor ascetic who strives to grow thinner,
Will ever attempt to dispute
The joys of an excellent dinner.
Not the thinker who suddenly finds
He has settled a point which was moot ;
Not the poet whom self-conceit blinds
To the discord he twangs on his lute ;
Not the lover whose bliss is acute,
When of beauty and worth he’s the winner,
Will venture to try and refute
The joys of an excellent dinner.

L’Envoi.
Prince, do you hold in repute
The joys of the mind, which are inner ?
They are miserable, weak, and dilute
To the joys of an excellent dinner !

R. E. H.

TO MAKE A SACK-POSSET
by ANON
From famed Barbados, on the western main,
Fetch sugar half a pound; fetch sack from Spain
A pint; and from the East India coast
Nutmeg, the glory of our Northern toast;
O’er flaming coals together let them heat
Till the all-conquering sack dissolves the sweet;
O’er such another fire set eggs, twice ten,
New born, the product of the wedded hen;
Stir them with steady hand, and conscience pricking
To see the untimely fate of twenty chicken;
From shining shelf take down your brazen skillet,
A quart of milk from gentle cow will fill it;
When boiled and cooled, put milk and sack to egg.
Unite them firmly like the triple league;
Then, covered close, together let them dwell
Till miss twice sings, “You must not kiss and tell,”
Then, lad and lass, snatch up your eager spoon,
And fall on fiercely, like a starved dragoon.

To Roast a Swan.
by ANON
Take three pounds of beef, beat fine in a mortar,
Put it into the Swan — that is, when you have caught her.
Some pepper, salt, mace, some nutmeg, an onion,
Will heighten the flavour in Gourmand’s opinion.
Then tie it up tight with a small piece of tape,
That the gravy, and other things, may not escape.
A meal paste (rather stiff) should be laid on the breast,
And some whited brown paper should cover the rest.
Fifteen minutes at least ere the Swan you take down,
Pull the paste off the bird that the breast may get brown.

The Gravy.
by ANON

To a gravy beef (good and strong) I opine
You’ll be right if you add half-a-pint of port wine :
Pour this through the Swan — yes, quite through the belly,
Then serve the whole up with some hot currant jelly. 

JOHNNY CAKE
A Recipe by Bishop Williams, of Connecticutt.

A forgetful old Bishop, all broken to pieces,
Neglected to dish up for one of his nieces
A recipe for “corn-pone,” the best ever known.
So he hastes to repair his sin of omission.
And hopes that in view of his shattered condition
His suit for forgiveness, he humbly may urge.
So here’s the recipe—and it comes from Lake George.

(William of Connecticut) who followed
the ecclesiastical precedent of the English
dean, and proclaimed the only true way
of making the humble dish :

Take a cup of corn-meal, and the meal should be yellow ;
Add a cup of wheat flour for to make the corn mellow ;
Of sugar a cup, white or brown or your pleasure,
(The color is nothing, the fruit is the measure) ;
And now comes a troublesome thing to indite.
For the rhyme and the reason they trouble me quite ;
For after the sugar, the flour, and the meal
Comes a cup of sour cream, but unless you should steal
From your neighbors, I fear you will never be able
This item to put upon your cook’s table:
For “sure and indeed,” in all town I rem’ember.
Sour cream is as scarce as June buds in December.
So here an alternative nicely contrived
Is suggested your mind to relieve.
And showing how you without stealing at all
The ground that is lost may retrieve.
Instead of sour cream take one cup of milk,
“Sweet milk!” what a sweet phrase to utter!
And to make it creamlike put into the cup
Just three tablespoonfuls of butter.

Cream of tartar, one teaspoonful, rules dietic —
How nearly I wrote it down tartar emetic ! —
But no; cream of tartar it is without doubt,
And so the alternative makes itself out.
Of soda the half of a teaspoonful add,
Or else your poor corn cake will go to the bad ;
Two eggs must be broken without being beat.
Then of salt a teaspoonful your work will complete.
Twenty minutes of baking are needful to bring
To the point of perfection this “awful good thing.”

To eat at the best this remarkable cake
You should fish all day long on the royal-named lake,
With the bright waters glancing in glorious light
And beauties outnumbered bewild’ring your sight,
On mountain and lake, in water and bay ;
And then, when the shadows fall down from on high,
Seek “Sabbath Day Point,” as the light fades away,
And end with this feast the angler’s long day.
Then, there will you find, without any question.
That an appetite honest awaits on digestion.

STEWED OYSTERS
Friend am I, and not foe, and yet men beard me,
And boil my beard in my own juice with gravy;
Strain off my beard, and put me in instead,
Thicken the mess with flour and ounce of butter,
Kill my ambrosial flavor with their ketchup
(White wine, anchovy, lemon, what you will).
Nutmeg, and salt and pepper, mace and cream;
Simmer and serve me up on toasted sippets.
They will not let me boil, but my blood boils
At thought of how, while they would paint the lily,
Pepsine and piquant coolness both must perish.

COOKY LEEKY
Scrag of mutton, shank of veal,
From the butcher where you deal;
Good beef stock is even better—
Now, then, follow to the letter:
Portly fowl, with leeks, say three,
Pepper, salt, judiciously.
Leeks cut up in inch-long pieces:
Slowly boil. When it decreases,
After a good hour or more,
Add three sliced leeks as before.
One hour longer let it bubble.
It will pay you for your trouble.
If you’ve followed as you should,
You’ll declare the stuff is good.

PIGEON SOUP
“Eight pigeons take, all pluck, and two, the worst,
Review, i.e., cut up, and drown the pair
In water that will fill a large tureen.
Necks, gizzards, pinions, livers of the rest
Add, and boil well, and strain. Season the birds,
But part dissected, with your pungent spice,
Mixed spice and salt English, you understand,
Not attic ; that, perchance, you lack and then
Truss them as if their little toes were cold,
Legs into belly. Pick and wash and shred
Parsley, young onions, spinach eke; and grate
Bread, say a handful. In the frying-pan
A lump of butter put, and when it boils,
Throw in your bread, and, mind you, do it brown.
Put on the stock to boil, and add the birds,
Herbs, and fried bread, and when the doves are done,
Of course they may be dished.

Doughnuts
by Hazel A. Marquis (circa 1880)

One cup of sugar, one cup of milk;
Two eggs beaten fine as silk.
Salt and nutmegs (lemon ‘ll do);
Of baking-powder teaspoons two.
Lightly stir the flour in;
Roll on pie-board not too thin;
Cut in diamonds, twists, or rings.
Drop with care the doughy things
Into fat that briskly swells
Evenly the spongy cells.
Watch with care the time for turning;
Fry them brown—just short of burning.
Roll in sugar, serve when cool.
Price—a quarter for this rule.

This receipt was sold at a fair and was so unusual it proved a great success.

INCONSOLABLE.
by DAVID KER

I.
‘Tis sad to mark affliction’s storm
Bunt o’er the shieldless head;
‘Tis sad to see the once-loved form
Lie cold, and pale, and dead;
‘Tis sad to hear, from lips thrice dear.
The moan of cureless pain;
But saddest of all to pay a call
In a rascally shower of rain!

II.
We mourn the brave whom battle smote,
Yet soon our grief is o’er;
But who shall wail the shrunken coat,
The crinkled vest deplore?
And the faultless tic, which low and high
To rival toil in vain—
Their course is run—all, all undone,
By a villainous shower of rain!

III.
The vanished hope, the blasted name,
May yet return to men;
The dead in deathless scrolls of fame
Arise and live again;
The leech’s art may ease the heart
And cool the fevered brain;
But who shall repair the garments fair
Defiled by a shower of rain?

IV.
Ha! while I speak, upon my chest
The deadly cold doth lie;
The fierce sore-throat, in vapors dressed,
Swoops from the lowering sky;
Rheumatics stand, a grisly band,
And howl this dire refrain:
“The best thing alive to make us thrive
Is a jolly good shower of rain!”

V.
Ugh! ugh! my throat! that cough’s harsh note
Dooms me to draught and pill,
And flanneled skin, and groel thin,
And a swingeing doctor’s bill.
Ugh! ugh I a-tchew! attend me, you
Who would your health retain—
With strictest care henceforth beware
Of a treacherous shower of rain!

TO MISS MARY GRANT
by LORD JEFFREY

Not for the charm, sweet maid, that melody
Has richly breathed amid thy simple lays,
Has my sad Muse resumed her energy
In long-disused strains to speak their praise;

Nor for the fairy light by genius shed
In magic gleams in melting tones among,
Nor for the flowers by sportive fancy sped,
Do I applaud thy sweet, engaging song.

The idle tinklings of harmonious sound
Oft from the touch of ignorance have flared;
And oft have fancy’s barren flow’rets crowned
The strains where genius ne’er effulgent glared.

By hands impure the Muse’s holy lyre
With matchless skill has oft been badly strung,
And genius thundered with reluctant fire
In the vile accents of a venal tongue.

Thy simple lays thy spotless breast display
Give back the image of a soul sincere.
And win all hearts with sympathetic sway
Who love the virtues that are copied there.

More sweet to me thy native wood-notes wild,
Warbled unstudied to thy simple lyre.
Than all the strains that learning ever toiled
With lifeless beauties vainly to inspire.

O child inspired! might this enchanted strain
But be prolonged through many a future day,
And might this artless soul forever reign
Which pours so sweet the rude, romantic lay!

But ah ! that artless soul that now so warm
Breathes out its sweet simplicity, will lose—
At last will lose—the perishable charm,
And scorn perhaps its simple, childish Muse.

‘Twere vain to hope it lasting—will the rose
That opens on thy blooming cheek relay
Its broader tints successive to disclose—
To spread, to blaze, to languish, and decay?

Nor with less fatal certainty expire
The air-drawn forms that please our early days,
While earth-born cares depress that heavenly fire
That in the world’s contagious gleam decays.

I love the fount whose crystal waters creep
In clear, low murmurs, down the pastoral vale.
From the wild rock amid their windings leap,
And catch their echoed ravings in the gale.

Yet as it rolls, this fair, sequestered stream,
That, trembling, stole along its lonely bed,
Wide o’er the peopled land at last will gleam,
And its bold waves to guilty cities lead.

The naiads haunt its echoing banks no more,
Nor dance at eve upon its lapsing tide;
The frighted fairies fly the crowded shore,
And all the magic of their revels hide.

My wakened spirit, with poetic love,
Hails the slow-kindling morn, when her red ray
Gleams through the fragrant dews, and o’er the grove
On the far hills with partial glory play.

The long, long vales are dark in ling’ring shade,
Faint on the cold sea floats the trembling ray;
Yet, while I gaze, the magic scenes are fled,
And all the fairy shadows float away.

The fiery sun, broad o’er the flaming skies.
Streams the full radiance of the garish day;
The purple dews are quenched, and vulgar eyes
With sullen scorn the opening scene survey.

Yes, and the blossom, whose unfading hues
So often won my young, enamored eyes.
That, glittering, swelled beneath the vernal dews,
And waved and frolicked in the summer skies—

It, too, must fade; the dark, descending year
With chilling touch will blast its lovely form.
Its breathing tresses will relentless tear,
And all its painted, flutt’ring sweets transform.

What though the full fruit from its ruins rise,
And rich amid the sober foliage glow,
Yet still lament the fond, regretful eyes—
The little flower that used to crest the bough?

O secret stream I O dewy mora! O flowers!
Whose tender bloom my youthful fancy won.
Why should your doom so well depicture ours,
To bloom so lovely, but to change so soon?

Blest child, adieu! while yet the charm will stay,
Thy tuneful task with fairy hand pursue;
And, when it melts in life’s advancing day,
May ripened virtues lead to pleasures new!

Again farewell, sweet maid! a stranger’s tongue.
When flattery ne’er inspired the voice of praise,
Charmed by the sweetness of thy simple song,
This lovely offering to thy genius pays.

THAMES (1917)
by T.W.H. Crosland

River of rivers, that dost lave the might
And pomps and ships of England ; if the white
Dawns be upon thee, or thou goest dight
In armour of the sun ; or where at night
With mirrored stars and lamps of chrysolite,
Thou wooest this London to the ancient plight,
Thou shalt be goodly for the English sight
And proud till Time shall falter in his flight.

Tiber, Euphrates, Tmolus from the height,
Tigris and Nilus, streams of old delight,
And Abbana and Pharphar which were bright
For queens by swart Damascus—these invite
Words from the dreamer and the Abderite ;
But thou art Thames—glorious in their despite.

A Lady who was a Famous Cook.
by WA CROFFUT

A diner-out to query “whence
Come motives of benevolence?—
The heart—what touch expands it?”
Replied in wise but jovial mood,
“The impulses to human good
Are chiefly due to well-cooked food—
Our hostess understands it:
Her guest reveals his happiest bent,
Rejoices in a life well-spent,
Feels such complacent self-content,
Such sympathy for sinners,
He swallows scruples and regrets,
Forgives his creditors, forgets
His peccadilloes and his debts
When he hath eat her dinners!”

THE MYSTIC RIVER
by SAM L. SIMPSON

A happy maiden, pure and fair,
With fresh wild flowers in thy hair,
Thou standest, wistful, dreaming;
For lo, the river thou hast sought
In rambles sweet with budding thought,
Before thee now is gleaming!

Its rhythmic waves upon the beach
In low, melodious silv’ry speech
Repeat their mystic greeting;
With mellow murmurs, o’er and o’er,
They chant of glad days gone before
And visions, fair and fleeting.

This is the river of the years,
Dimpled with joys and dimmed with tears,
To which thy youth was speeding,
Whose far-off music thou hast heard
When sunset’s last, low-nestling bird,
Has hushed his tender pleading.

Here waits thee, Blanche, a slender sloop
Where rare gold-dusted lilies droop
And gleaming reeds are sighing;
Its snowy sail will soon be spread
Above thee, joyous, garlanded,
And with the winds be flying.

But ere thy trembling bark takes flight,
Pluck from the reeds a lotus white
Thy young days to remember;—
A chaliced vow, a fragrant pray’r
To comfort thee when life’s despair
Is bleaker than December.

The blue waves flash with morning beams
And, far and faint, rose-tinted dreams
O’er isles of magic hover;
And somewhere, by his castle gate,
Like thee, a questioner of fate,
Delays thy restless lover.

Adieu! adieu! A last good-by,
The myrtle groves of girlhood sigh
From shores adream with beauty;
Sprent with the beams of grace divine
The crown of womanhood is thine,
And every pledge of duty.

The rose-bud in its calyx green,
Its folded loveliness unseen,
The summer fairies cherish;
But danger haunts the full-blown rose,
With ev’ry wooing wind that blows
Its perfumes waste and perish.

Sail forth, sail out, sail proudly on
By cliffs of twilight, capes of dawn,
Still to the true course cleaving—
Shadow and sunlight on thy sail
As shifting fortunes flush and fail,
Thy own life-myst’ry weaving.

Thy world is now all light and love,
Blue waves beneath, blue skies above,
But waves and skies may darken;
O’er faithless isles of song and bloom
Bright shapes will beckon thee to doom,
If once thou pause and hearken.

Hallelujah!
by A E Housman

‘Hallelujah!’ was the only observation
That escaped Lieutenant-Colonel Mary Jane,
When she tumbled of the platform in the station
And was cut in little pieces by the train.
Mary Jane, the train is through yer!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
We shall gather up the fragments that remain.

HIRAM HELSEL

Julia A. Moore

Once was a boy, age fifteen years,
Hiram Helsel was his name,
And he was sick two years or so;
He has left this world of pain;
His friends they miss this lovely boy,
That was patient, kind and brave.
He left them all for him to mourn —
He is sleeping in his grave.

He was a small boy of his age,
When he was five years or so
Was shocked by lightning while to play
And it caused him not to grow,
He was called little Hi. Helsel
By all friends that knew him well —
His life was sad, as you shall hear,
And the truth to you I’ll tell.

His parents parted when he was small,
And both are married again.
How sad it was for them to meet
And view his last remains.
He was living with his father then,
As many a friend can tell;
‘Tis said his father’s second wife
That she did not use him well.

Just before little Hiram died —
His uncle and aunt were there —
He kissed them both — bid them farewell,
They left him with a prayer.
Now he is gone, Oh! let him rest;
His soul has found a haven,
For grief and woe ne’er enters there,
In that place called heaven.

by Alex Graham Bell

The Cottage (Oct. 14, 1858)

The Lightning flashed,
The Thunder crashed,
The Rain fell fast and quick;
My Cottage roof
Was Water-proof,
The Halls were strong and thick.
The Thunder roared,
The Rain it poured,
My Cottage stood quite strong;
The Wind it blew
Right through and through,
Then stopped short like this song.

The Aurora Borealis (1858)

A wavering stream of coloured light
Was in the dark blue sky at night
When nature was asleep
Then climbing forward very fast
It reached its highest point at last
Then vanished with a leap.

A Sonnet

Time, speeding, rules: all things compelled obey.
Oh! May this king ne’er turn your love from me!
May every year’s forced March, a blessing be,
Your love recruiting, driving fears away.
Dear Guide! Nought can thy tender care repay:
Each seeming harsh reproof was, now I see,
An act of love: received—ungratefully,
Recalling conscience forces me to say.
Feel not, amid the greetings of this morn,
A Blank, because from sight my form has gone:
Though I be absent, yet my heart’s at home,
Hailing thy Birthday, while my voice is dumb:
Each absence makes me prize my home the more:
Return shall find me—worthier than before.

TO A SWEETHEART (1859)

The dew was on the ground love
When first I met with thee
And now we two, do roam love
Upon the boundless sea—
In this good ship, we sail love
“Dundalk” it is by name
And when we get to town love
We will be the same.

THE FLOWER (1858)

See! yonder, is a pretty flower
It is a Snow Drop, white and clear
That once enshrined a lovely bower
As blossoms, from the bud appear.

VICTORIA (1858)
Victoria — Queen Victoria
She rules a mighty land.
Who’d stand by her forever
To guard their native land.

To a Cat (1858)
You pretty little cat, with eyes so wide
Which beams with radiance on my face
As if to say — I thank thee gentle child
For thy warm heartedness, and grace.
To my dear grand-dad (1858)
I sent, a poem, to my dear grand-dad
Thinking that least he’d say, thank you lad
But not a single word, have I received
At which, I beg to hint, I am not pleased—

The Blackbird (1861)
I hear the blackbird’s joyous song
Resounding from the hill
Sweetest of Scotland’s vocal throng
Jet black with golden bill.
Within the hedge I saw him slide
Where hungry fledglings stay
And where his mate, with mother’s pride,
Unwearied sits all day
And when the evening on doth creep
Still sounds his gentle cry
The birds around are hushed to sleep
By the blackbird’s lullaby
How clear it swells o’er hill and dale
How soft its plaintive fall
The blackbird is our nightingale
Like him, beloved by all.
THE THRUSH

From yonder bough a thrush´s note
Comes quivering through the trees
And praises from that little throat
Are wafted on the breeze

The nest lies hid within the bush
In it are warm eggs three
Upon them sits the female thrush
A noble bird is she.

Her active mate with patient care
Attends to all her wants
And seeks for worms—the thrush´s fare
In all his favourite haunts.

At last the little birds come out
The thrush claims them her own
She throws the broken shells without
And tenderly sits down.

The young, with fond parental care
Are received within the nest.
The parents, needful food bring there;
Worms, bread, whate´er seems best.

Oh, joy! The fledglings now can fly
They wing the air with ease
And from the nest they fluttering hie
Their hunger to appease

Their lodging´s paid with ringing coin
Those notes that now I hear.
The song has stopped, the birds are gone;
They´ll come another year.

 

Nicotiana by Henry James Meller http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/36879
Jeux d’esprit (1877) LEIGH https://archive.org/details/jeuxdesprit00leigiala

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