If you could sit with me beside the sea to-day,
And whisper with me sweetest dreamings o’er and o’er;
I think I should not find the clouds so dim and gray,
And not so loud the waves complaining at the shore.
If you could sit with me upon the shore to-day,
And hold my hand in yours as in the days of old,
I think I should not mind the chill baptismal spray,
Nor find my hand and heart and all the world so cold.
If you could walk with me upon the strand to-day,
And tell me that my longing love had won your own,
I think all my sad thoughts would then be put away,
And I could give back laughter for the Ocean’s moan!
THE change has come, and Helen sleeps—
Not sleeps; but wakes to greater deeps
Of wisdom, glory, truth, and light,
Than ever blessed her seeking sight,
In this low, long, lethargic night,
Worn out with strife
Which men call life.
The change has come, and who would say
'I would it were not come to—day’?
What were the respite till to—morrow?
Postponement of a certain sorrow,
From which each passing day would borrow!
Let grief be dumb,
The change has come.
Lucy done gone back on me,
Dat’s de way wif life.
Evaht’ing was movin’ free,
T’ought I had my wife.
Den some dahky comes along,
Sings my gal a little song,
Since den, evaht’ing’s gone wrong,
Evah day dey 's strife.
Did n’t answeh me to—day,
Wen I called huh name,
Would you t’ink she 'd ac’ dat way
Wen I ain’t to blame?
Dat 's de way dese women do,
Wen dey fin’s a fellow true,
Den dey 'buse him thoo an’ thoo;
Well, hit 's all de same.
Somep’n’s wrong erbout my lung,
An’ I ‘s glad hit ’s so.
Doctah says ‘at I ’ll die young,
Well, I wants to go!
Whut 's de use o’ livin’ hyeah,
Wen de gal you loves so deah,
Goes back on you clean an’ cleah—
I sh’d like to know?
NOT o’er thy dust let there be spent
The gush of maudlin sentiment;
Such drift as that is not for thee,
Whose life and deeds and songs agree,
Sublime in their simplicity.
Nor shall the sorrowing tear be shed.
O singer sweet, thou art not dead!
In spite of time’s malignant chill,
With living fire thy songs shall thrill,
And men shall say, ‘He liveth still!’
Great poets never die, for Earth
Doth count their lives of too great worth
To lose them from her treasured store;
So shalt thou live for evermore —
Though far thy form from mortal ken —
Deep in the hearts and minds of men.
GOD has his plans, and what if we
With our sight be too blind to see
Their full fruition; cannot he,
Who made it, solve the mystery?
One whom we loved has fall’n asleep,
Not died; although her calm be deep,
Some new, unknown, and strange surprise
In Heaven holds enrapt her eyes.
And can you blame her that her gaze
Is turned away from earthly ways,
When to her eyes God’s light and love
Have giv’n the view of things above?
A gentle spirit sweetly good,
The pearl of precious womanhood;
Who heard the voice of duty clear,
And found her mission soon and near.
She loved all nature, flowers fair,
The warmth of sun, the kiss of air,
The birds that filled the sky with song,
The stream that laughed its way along.
Her home to her was shrine and throne,
But one love held her not alone;
She sought out poverty and grief,
Who touched her robe and found relief.
So sped she in her Master’s work,
Too busy and too brave to shirk,
When through the silence, dusk and dim,
God called her and she fled to him.
We wonder at the early call,
And tears of sorrow can but fall
For her o’er whom we spread the pall;
But faith, sweet faith, is over all.
The house is dust, the voice is dumb,
But through undying years to come,
The spark that glowed within her soul
Shall light our footsteps to the goal.
She went her way; but oh, she trod
The path that led her straight to God.
Such lives as this put death to scorn;
They lose our day to find God’s morn.
Dear critic, who my lightness so deplores,
Would I might study to be prince of bores,
Right wisely would I rule that dull estate—
But, sir, I may not, till you abdicate.
It’s hot to—day. The bees is buzzin’
Kinder don’t—keer—like aroun’
An’ fur off the warm air dances
O’er the parchin’ roofs in town.
In the brook the cows is standin’;
Childern hidin’ in the hay;
Can’t keep none of 'em a workin’,
'Cause it’s hot to—day.
It’s hot to—day. The sun is blazin’
Like a great big ball o’ fire;
Seems as ef instead o’ settin’
It keeps mountin’ higher an’ higher.
I’m as triflin’ as the children,
Though I blame them lots an’ scold;
I keep slippin’ to the spring—house,
Where the milk is rich an’ cold.
The very air within its shadder
Smells o’ cool an’ restful things,
An’ a roguish little robin
Sits above the place an’ sings.
I don’t mean to be a shirkin’,
But I linger by the way
Longer, mebbe, than is needful,
'Cause it’s hot to—day.
It’s hot to—day. The horses stumble
Half asleep across the fiel’s;
An’ a host o’ teasin’ fancies
O’er my burnin’ senses steals,—
Dreams o’ cool rooms, curtains lowered,
An’ a sofy’s temptin’ look;
Patter o’ composin’ raindrops
Or the ripple of a brook.
I strike a stump! That wakes me sudden;
Dreams all vanish into air.
Lordy! how I chew my whiskers;
'Twouldn’t do fur me to swear.
But I have to be so keerful
'Bout my thoughts an’ what I say;
Somethin’ might slip out unheeded,
'Cause it’s hot to—day.
Git up, there, Suke! you, Sal, git over!
Sakes alive! how I do sweat.
Every stitch that I’ve got on me,
Bet a cent, is wringin’ wet.
If this keeps up, I’ll lose my temper.
Gee there, Sal, you lazy brute!
Wonder who on airth this weather
Could 'a’ be’n got up to suit?
You, Sam, go bring a tin o’ water;
Dash it all, don’t be so slow!
‘Pears as ef you tuk an hour
’Tween each step to stop an’ blow.
Think I want to stand a meltin’
Out here in this b’ilin’ sun,
While you stop to think about it?
Lift them feet o’ your’n an’ run.
It ain’t no use; I’m plumb fetaggled.
Come an’ put this team away.
I won’t plow another furrer;
It’s too mortal hot to—day.
I ain’t weak, nor I ain’t lazy,
But I’ll stand this half day’s loss
'Fore I let the devil make me
Lose my patience an’ git cross.
I think that though the clouds be dark,
That though the waves dash o’er the bark,
Yet after while the light will come,
And in calm waters safe at home
The bark will anchor.
Weep not, my sad—eyed, gray—robed maid,
Because your fairest blossoms fade,
That sorrow still o’erruns your cup,
And even though you root them up,
The weeds grow ranker.
For after while your tears shall cease,
And sorrow shall give way to peace;
The flowers shall bloom, the weeds shall die,
And in that faith seen, by and by
Thy woes shall perish.
Smile at old Fortune’s adverse tide,
Smile when the scoffers sneer and chide.
Oh, not for you the gems that pale,
And not for you the flowers that fail;
Let this thought cherish:
That after while the clouds will part,
And then with joy the waiting heart
Shall feel the light come stealing in,
That drives away the cloud of sin
And breaks its power.
And you shall burst your chrysalis,
And wing away to realms of bliss,
Untrammelled, pure, divinely free,
Above all earth’s anxiety
From that same hour.
I STOOD by the shore at the death of day,
As the sun sank flaming red;
And the face of the waters that spread away
Was as gray as the face of the dead.
And I heard the cry of the wanton sea
And the moan of the wailing wind;
For love’s sweet pain in his heart had he,
But the gray old sea had sinned.
The wind was young and the sea was old,
But their cries went up together;
The wind was warm and the sea was cold,
For age makes wintry weather.
So they cried aloud and they wept amain,
Till the sky grew dark to hear it;
And out of its folds crept the misty rain,
In its shroud, like a troubled spirit.
For the wind was wild with a hopeless love,
And the sea was sad at heart
At many a crime that he wot of,
Wherein he had played his part.
He thought of the gallant ships gone down
By the will of his wicked waves;
And he thought how the churchyard in the town
Held the sea—made widows’ graves.
The wild wind thought of the love he had left
Afar in an Eastern land,
And he longed, as long the much bereft,
For the touch of her perfumed hand.
In his winding wail and his deep—heaved sigh
His aching grief found vent;
While the sea looked up at the bending sky
And murmured: ‘I repent.’
But e’en as he spoke, a ship came by,
That bravely ploughed the main,
And a light came into the sea’s green eye,
And his heart grew hard again.
Then he spoke to the wind: ‘Friend, seest thou not
Yon vessel is eastward bound?
Pray speed with it to the happy spot
Where thy loved one may be found.’
And the wind rose up in a dear delight,
And after the good ship sped;
But the crafty sea by his wicked might
Kept the vessel ever ahead.
Till the wind grew fierce in his despair,
And white on the brow and lip.
He tore his garments and tore his hair,
And fell on the flying ship.
And the ship went down, for a rock was there,
And the sailless sea loomed black;
While burdened again with dole and care,
The wind came moaning back.
And still he moans from his bosom hot
Where his raging grief lies pent,
And ever when the ships come not,
The sea says: ‘I repent,’
GRASS commence a—comin’
Thoo de thawin’ groun’,
Evah bird dat whistles
Keepin’ noise erroun’;
Cain’t sleep in de mo’nin’,
Case befo’ it’s light
Bluebird an’ de robin
Done begun to fight.
Bluebird sass de robin,
Robin sass him back,
Den de bluebird scol’ him
'Twell his face is black.
Would n’ min’ de quoilin’
All de mo’nin’ long,
'Cept it wakes me early,
Case hit’s done in song.
Wants to sleep ez late
Ez de folks ‘ll ’low him,
An’ I wish to state
(Co’se dis ain’t to scattah,
But 'twix’ me an’ you),
I could stan’ de bedclothes,
Kin’ o’ latah, too.
'T ain’t my natchul feelin’,
Dis hyeah mopin’ spell.
I stan’s early risin’
Mos’ly moughty well;
But de ve’y minute,
I feel Ap’il’s heat,
Bless yo’ soul, de bedclothes
Nevah seemed so sweet.
Mastah, he’s a—scol’in’,
Case de han’s is slow,
All de hosses balkin’
Jes’ cain’t mek 'em go.
Don’ know whut’s de mattah,
Hit’s a funny t’ing,
I ess’n hit’s de fevah
Dat you gits in spring.
MY cot was down by a cypress grove,
And I sat by my window the whole night long,
And heard well up from the deep dark wood
A mocking—bird’s passionate song.
And I thought of myself so sad and lone,
And my life’s cold winter that knew no spring;
Of my mind so weary and sick and wild,
Of my heart too sad to sing.
But e’en as I listened the mock—bird’s song,
A thought stole into my saddened heart,
And I said, 'I can cheer some other soul
By a carol’s simple art.'
For oft from the darkness of hearts and lives
Come songs that brim with joy and light,
As out of the gloom of the cypress grove
The mocking—bird sings at night.
So I sang a lay for a brother’s ear
In a strain to soothe his bleeding heart,
And he smiled at the sound of my voice and lyre,
Though mine was a feeble art.
But at his smile I smiled in turn,
And into my soul there came a ray:
In trying to soothe another’s woes
Mine own had passed away.
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.