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Full text of "Idyls and lyrics of the Ohio Valley"


ii^p il ^U jt' ifllji fo 





1 vol. 16mo. $1.00. 

"Mr. Piatt has written a pleasant series of essays on a capital list of subjects. 
... It is the fashion with critics to make mention, more or less sliglitingly of 
detached pieces, bound up in book form. But, after all, how else should we 
have had Lamb and Hazlitt? . . . Mr. Piatt is a poet, and sees the poetic side of 
everyday things. He is, besides, a genial optimist, and finds in the disagreeables 
of ife— for instance, going to bed in a cold room — a delightful experience."— 
Lippincott's Magazine. 

" These essays are all infused with the same cheerful optimism, reflective spirit, 
sunny wisdom, and flavour of personal allusion wliich make the books of Hazlitt, 
Hunt, and Lamb, such deliglitful companions. Of Hunt, particularly, the writer 
often reminds us by his charm of manner, happy selection of theme, and not 
infrequent felicity of style."— T/ie {New York) Home Journal. 

"Among the wit and humour and easy flow of pleasant things, pleasantly 
said, we have been most impressed with the essay on ' Unexpected News of 
Death.' Serious, without being sombre, it sinks into the heart of the reader and 
carries him on in a stream of thoughtfulness which would not be unworthy of 
Lamb nor of Montaigne. " — The Independent. 

" As -might be inferred from the title, both grave and humorous elements are 
embraced in these essays. Pearls of thought and fancy are scattered through 
them all, and not a few of them are flavoured with that quaintness and jiatlios 
which appeal both to the intellect and the best feelings of our common nature. 
No one but a person of true poetic sensibilities could write these essays. The 
author makes no parade of his mental culture, but he must be dull or blind who 
does not discover, on almost every page, in phrase, thought, image, or allusion, 
the flower and fruit of the writer's wide and sympathetic studies. Here are many 
passages and conceits that would have successfully appealed to the appreciation 
of Isak Walton, Wliite of Selborne, and Charles Lamb."— 27ie Western Christian 

" Mr. Piatt's style is perfectly simple ; it would satisfy Wordsworth with its 
power of beautifying thought with common words. ... The elements of human 
life, the sources of aff'ection, are made much of by Mr. Piatt, in his prose as in 
his poetry, so that life itself gains that value and importance which it is the 
province of literature as well as of religion, to give it, and which can be accom- 
plished, as the result proves, without any straining after imaginative, romantic 
situation or dramatic effect."— Tfte Standard of the Cross. 

"It is exquisite prose, too — pure, fresh, and sweet in every \me."—Ci7icinnati 

For sale by all Booksellers. Sent, post-paid, on receij^t of the 2orice 
hy the Publishers, 

ROBERT CLARKE & CO., Cincinnati, 0. 



Chief Justice Chase (United States Siq^reme Court). 

" I like all I have read, but ' The Pioneer's Chimney ' 
heads the file in my liking, as it does in the book. It is 
painted to the life." 

Henry W. Longfellow. 

" I have had the pleasure of receiving your book of 
poems, and have read it through, from cover to cover, 
wdth very uncommon satisfaction and delight. I congra- 
tulate you on your success. ... It is useless to refer to 
this poem or that. Throughout the volume I find the 
true poetic insight and feeling, without which all verse is 
but as ' sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.' " 

General Garfield (late President of the United States). 

" Accept my thanks for the very beautiful volume you 
have sent me. I am glad to witness the steady growth 
of your reputation as a writer, and I do not doubt that 
there is a large future before you," 

Colonel John Hay. 

" I thank you for a delightful hour which I passed 
yesterday with your Ohio Valley poems. I do not know 
anybody who has caught as you have the open-air im- 
pression of our Western world." 

John G. Whittier. 

" Is doing for the West what some of us older versifiers 
have tried to do for the East." 

Bayard Taylor. 

" The best and completest poems seem to me these : 
' The Pioneer's Chimney,' ' The Mower in Ohio,' ' Riding 

( 2 ) 

to Vote,' and ' The XJnliended Bow.' They please my 
artistic sense the best, though the others sparkle with 
beautiful lines and stanzas. That there is poetry in 
Western subjects, you have fully demonstrated." 

R. H. Stoddard. 

" We question whether any Eastern poet reflects his 
surroundings with the same faithfulness that Mr. Piatt 
reflects what he sees in the West." 

E. C. Stedman (Author of " Victorian Poets "). 

" What is much to his credit, and a mark of natural 
inspiration, is that he is thoroughly American in his choice 
of subjects and in their treatment. Of all our younger 
writers, he has most clearly studied the prairies, the sun- 
sets and sunrises, and the cbaracteristic home-life of his 
native West. His collection is full of very felicitous 
poetry upon these themes." 

James Russell Lowell (in North American Beview'). 

" Yet there is something agreeably and unmistakably 
Western in him, for all that. ' The Mower in Ohio,' 
' The Pioneer's Chimney,' ' Riding to Vote,' and other of 
his poems, are examples of what we mean. In these he 
shows that true poetic insight which creates the ideal 
under the common and familiar, which are but ribs of 
death to the unanointed eye. 'The Pioneer's Chimney,' 
especially, is a simple story, so simply told as to reach a 
natural dignity and pathos that interest and move us 
strongly. Without being in an}^ sense an imitation of 
Wordsworth, it may compare favourably with the best 
narrative parts of ' The Excursion.' ' The Mower in 
Ohio' also has touches of singular beauty and tenderness. 
Indeed, throughout the volume there is a pensiveness, 
without despondency, as of Indian summer. In his 
general choice of subjects, and mode of treating them, we 
find a native sweetness and humanity, a domesticity of 
sontiment, that is very attractive. Whoever likes simple 
thoughts and feelings simply expressed, as much as we do., 
will like this book." 

( 3 ) 

W. D. HowELLS (in Atlantic Monthly). 

" His poetry has that element of growth in it that is sure 
of a future. In material and in form it is so distinctly indi- 
vidual that almost any stanza — we were going to say any 
line — of his books will declare its authorship ; no poetry of 
our time has a more proper or more recognizable atmo- 
sphere. Something very wild and sweet, like the scent of 
dusky woodland depths, or the breath of clover over-running 
the site of fallen homes or the track of deserted highways, 
is its perfume ; its tender light is the clear pensive radiance 
of autumnal eves. So much of it deals with themes which 
are Western in their physical aspects, that a hasty criticism 
might content itself with recognizing their local truth ; 
but we are not disposed to resign Mr. Piatt to the section 
with whose colour and life he had done so wisely to tinge 
and vitalize his rhyme. A man is cosmopolitan only by 
being first patriotic, and Mr. Piatt is broadly American 
because he is so thoroughly Western ; he is true to human 
experience everywhere, because he is true to what he has 
himself known and felt in the locality where he was born. 
It is the poet's duty and privilege to divine the universal 
in the simple and common things ; and the soft pathos of 
these poems, which touch with transfiguring loveliness the 
past of the Western pioneers and farmers, appeals to all 
hearts. The farm devoured by the growing city ; the old 
well, secret and clear beneath its curb, choked with stones 
and brambles ; the chimney tottering, gaunt and lonely, 
above the empty cellar of the vanished log- cabin ; the 
deserted tavern beside the forsaken highway ;— these are 
symbols of the homely past which is dear to the whole 
human race, and which in various symbols stirs alwaj's 
the same fond and piercing regret. The West may well 
be proud of her poet's fealty ; but he belongs to us all in 
moods which come to us all. Not that Mr. Piatt is merely 
the poet of these moods. His range is as great in feeling, 
if not in theme, as that of most of his contemporaries, and 
his work abounds in lines that reveal the thinker as well 
as the dreamer. But there is undeniably and fortunately 
the idyllic and dreamful tendency in him, and this makes 
him a poet. Examine certain of his airiest fancies — butter- 
flies that seemed to toss hither and thither in an air of 
intellectual caprice — and j^ou find them flowers of strong 
and fruitful stem, fast rooted in the soil of experience. 

( i ) 

His dreams, however mystical, have their meaning; they 
prophesy and warn and console. Wherever he touches 
matters of fact and knowledge, as in his poems about the 
war, it is with the transfiguring touch of the poet, but 
also the warm and vigorous grasp of a man. His pensive- 
ness is not morbid ; his regret is impersonal, universal in 
its sense, however intimate its source ; and his sympathy 
with nature is often as joyous and sound as Wordsworth's. 
... In the lyrical pieces the reader who recurs to them 
again and again, as we do, will find a peculiar and alluring 
music ; and in poems w^hich have to do with character, he 
will feel not less the touch of genius. ' The Mower in 
Ohio,' and ' Eiding to Vote,' are studies as diverse as they 
are strong and true. Few things are more alfecting than 
the former, more delicately, more vividly suggestive. Mr. 
Piatt is no mere colourist ; while his diction does not lack 
richness, it is rather refined than opulent, and of his art 
generall}^ it may be said that you have the sense of some- 
thing done rather than of something being done ; he 
values your sympathy rather than your surprise. Pure 
in thought as in ideal, his verse has the charm of the 
best ; . . . . and we cannot but believe that a wider and 
wider appreciation awaits his work." 

Adolf Strodtmann (in German " Anthology of American 
Poets "). 

" Eecently, John James Piatt . . . has furnished us 
with original landscape pictures taken from the farm-life 
of the West, which have not only a strong local colouring, 
but ingenious symbolical allusions have also been inter- 
woven successfully therein." 

Dr. George Kipley (in New York Tribune). 

" His descriptions of external nature are drawn from 
personal experience, and reproduce with a faithful pencil 
many of the grand and beautiful features of his favourite 
scenery in the West. They are unmistaka^Jy inspired by 
genuine love, by sympathy with the human ashsociations 
that cluster around the objects which he celebrates, and in 
many instances are softened and almost glorified by an 
expression of sweet and tender pathos." 



f^ N,./50 





\ll>iV \^^M] 




Author of " Western IVindoms,"^ " Poems of House cinei Home,^^ etc. 



DEC 24 IB 





Copyright, 1887, 

All rights reserved. 

The Riverside Press, Ca^nbridge : 
Printed by H. 0. Houghton & Co 




A Gift of Grace. 


'' I ^HIS volume comprises such of the Author's pieces 
-*- as have reference to the extensive region indicated 
by the title, with a selection from his miscellaneous 




The Pioneer's Chimney 9 

Fire Before Seed 24 

The Mower in Ohio 27 

Reading the Milestone 33 

The Grave of Rose 35 

King's Tavern.... 36 

Fires in Illinois 40 

New Grass 44 

The Blackberry Farm 49 

Land in Cloud 53 

A Lost Graveyard 55 

Sundown 57 

Riding to Vote 60 

The Deserted Smithy 66 

Grandfather Wright , 70 

The Old Man and the Spring-Leaves 71 



The Lost Farm 75 

The Forgotten Well 86 

Apple-Gathering 89 

Farther 92 

Two Harvests 93 

Moore's Cabin 98 

Walking to the Station 103 

Transfiguration 107 


The Golden Hand m 

The Morning Street 114 

To MY Brother Guy 118 

The Three Work-Days... 121 

The Lost Genius 122 

The Unbended Bow 125 

Carpe Diem 127 

A Rose's Journey 128 

Taking the Night Train 129 

Conflagration 131 

The New House 134 

The First Tryst 138 

Rose and Root , 139 

The Lost Horizon 140 

My Nightmare 143 

Marian's First Half-year 144 



Awake in Darkness i^o 

Brevia jej 

The Monk's Vision of Christ i 


Sleep jey 

Home Longing 1^3 

The Dark Street i^g 

Two Watchers ,5o 


\T 7E leave the highway here a Httle space — 

(So much of Hfe is near so much of death : ) 

The chimney of a dwelling still is seen, 

A little mound of ruin, overgrown 

With lithe, long grasses and domestic weeds, 

Among the apple-trees (the ancestors 

Of yonder orchard fruited from their boughs) — 

The apple-trees that, when the place was rough 

With the wild forests, and the land was new. 

He planted: one, departed long ago, 


lO THE pioneer's CHIMNEY. 

But Still a presence unforgotten here, 

Who blessed me in my boyhood, with his hands 

That seemed like one's anointed. Gentle, strong 

And warmed with sunny goodness, warming all, 

Was he, familiar by the reverent name 

Of Uncle Gardner in our neighborhood: 

His love had grown to common property 

By those quick ties that Nature subtly knits. 

And so at last had claimed the bond of blood. 

He was an elder in the land, and held 
His first proprietary right,, it seemed. 
From Nature's self; for, in an earlier day. 
He came, with others who of old had reached 
Their neighbor hands across New England farms, 
Over the mountains to this Western Land, — 
A journey long and slow and perilous, 
With many hardships and the homesick look 


Of wife and children backward; chose his farm, 
Builded his house, and cleared, by hard degrees, 
Acres that soon were meadows deep and broad. 
Or wheat-fields rocking in the summer heat. 

His children grew, and son and daughter passed 
Into the world that grew around, and some 
Into that world which, evermore unseen, 
Is still about us; and the graveyard where 
Their bodies slept (a few half-sinking stones, — 
A stranger's eyes would hardly see them, — show 
Seventy rods yonder in the higher ground) 
Gave still a tenderer title, year by year, 
To the dear places earned by earlier toil. 

Meanwhile the years that made these woody vales 
An eager commonwealth of crowding men 
Passed, one by one, and every thing was changed ; 


And he, whose Hmbs were Hke the hickory's when 
He came with Hfe's wrought vigor here, was changed : 
He heard the voice that tells men they are old. 
Yet not the less he moved his usual rounds, 
Walked his old paths; not idle, sweated still 
With scythe or sickle in the hay or wheat ; 
Followed his plow, when, in the April sun. 
The blackbird chattered after, and the crow 
Far-off looked anxious for the new-dropped corn ; 
And gave the winter hours their services 
With sheep abroad on slopes that, slanting south, 
Breathed off the snow and showed a warming green. 
With cattle penned at home, or bounding flail : 
Thus — not forgetting social offices 
Throughout all seasons, (gaining so the love 
That went acknowledged in his common name,) — 
He, like the Servant in the Parable, 
Doing his duty, waited for his Lord. 


The chimney shows enough for memory, 
And, it may be, a traveler passing close. 
If thoughtful, well might think a tender thought 
Of vanished fireside faces, in his dream 
Suddenly lighted by a vanished fire ; 
And should the apple trees that linger, loth 
To end their blossoming, attract his eye. 
Their fragrance would not pass unrecognized 
For deeper gifts than fragrance. He is gone 
Who planted them, and thirty years are gone. 
Now, if you look a quarter-mile away. 
Beyond the toll-gate and its lifted sweep, 
You see a prouder house, not new nor old. 
Beneath whose later roof no spirit dwells 
That had its tenure here: a stranger holds 
The secondary ownership of law. 

It is a story, common though it seem, 


Tender and having pathos for the heart 

Which knows, but will not know, that he who says 

''My own," and looks to-day on willing fields, 

And sets his family tree in trusted ground. 

To-morrow hears another answer ''Mine. " 

Listen, if you will listen. It is hard 

To go an alien from familiar doors 

When we are young, to wrestle where we go, 

And win or lose quick-hearted — we are strong ; 

But it is pitiful when weak and old, 

When only for the near in hfe we seek. 

And Heaven, yearned after, is not thought afar. 

To lose our shelter and to want for rest. 

Of Uncle Gardner's children three were dead ; 
Yonder they lie. Their mother and two with him — 
Two youngest: one a boy of fourteen years 
His latest child ; a girl of seventeen — 


Breathed in his still, contented atmosphere. 

An elder daughter, wedded years before, 

Lived far away in watery Michigan. 

His eldest son, and the first-born of all. 

Thrived as a merchant in the city near, — 

Had thriven, at least, or so 'twas said; and he 

For some shrewd scheme had won the old man's will 

To be his bond. The father pledged the land — 

Willing for the grown man, yet for the boy 

And for his girl at home reluctantly, 

Holding the chance a rash one. From that day 

He wrought his daily labors ill-content, 

And with a trouble in his countenance. 

To things familiar came a subtle change. 

The brook that long ago, companion-like, 

Had grown acquainted with his solitude, 

And, later, made him music when he walked 

And led his children through the pasture-ground 

l6 THE pioneer's CHIMNEY. 

Up to the haying or the harvest gap, 
A noisy mimic of their prattled words, 
Now seemed to Hft a stranger's face at him, 
Wondering why he came there, who he was, 
Or murmured, with a long and low lament, 
Some undercurrent of an exile's song 
That is not on his lips but in his heart. 
Nothing was as it had been : something vague, 
That Present of the Future which is born 
Within the bosom, whispering what will be, 
Met him and followed him, and would not cease 
To meet and follow him: it seemed to say 
*' The place that knew you shall know you no more. 
And oftentimes he saw the highway stirred 
With slowly-journeying dust, and, passing slow, 
The many who forever in our land 
Were going farther, driven by goads unseen. 
Or not content and looking for the new; 


And then he thought of how in those dear days 
He, too, had ventured, and again he saw 
With steadfast eyes forgotten faces, known 
When he was young, and others dear to him 
From whom he parted with regret but firm 
In the strong purposes which build the world ; 
Thought of his consolation — she most dear 
Was with him, they most helpless with him, too. 
For whom he sought a newer world of hope ; 
*'But I am old," he murmured, ''she is old," 
And saw his hand was shaken like his thought. 

Such were his troubled fancies. When he slept, 
In his slow dreams — with lagging team, the last 
Of many that, in yonder meadows foaled, 
Grew and became a portion of the place — 
Journeying far away, and never more 
Reaching his journey's goal, (a weary road 


1 8 THE pioneer's CHIMNEY. 

Whose end came only with the waking day,) 
He seemed to pass, and always 'twas the same: 
Through new-built villages of joyous homes, 
Homes not for him ; by openings recent-made, 
But not for him ; by cultivated farms 
Of other men — and always 'twas the same. 
Then, when he woke and found the dream a dream, 
And through his window shone the sun and brought 
The faint rich smell of the new-tasseled corn, 
More fragrant from the dew that weighed it down, 
He murmured of his fields — "For other men; 
They are not mine. The mortgage will be closed; 
The mortgage goes wherever I shall go." 

So passed the quarter of a year, and so 
The old man, burdened with his little world, 
Felt it upon his shoulders, stooping down. 
Bent more with this than every other yean 


And summer passed to autumn : in his door 
He sat and saw the leaves, his friends of old, 
Audible in the sunshine, falling, falling, 
With a continuous rustle — music fit 
For his accompanying thought. At last it came, 
The blow that reached his heart before it came, 
For all was lost: the son, whose risk he placed 
Both on his children's home and on his heart, 
Was ruined, as the careless worldlings say — 
Ruined indeed, it seemed, for on his brain 
The quick stroke flashed : for many years the son 
Breathed in a world in which he did not live. 

The old man took the blow but did not fall — 
Its weight had been before. The land was sold. 
The mortgage closed. That winter, cold and long, 
(Permitted by the hand that grasped his all. 
That winter passed he here,) beside his fire 


He talked of moving in the spring; he talked, 
While the shrill sap cried in a troubled blaze, 
Like one whose life was not all broken down, 
Cheerfully garrulous, with words that show 
False witnesses of hope and seeming strength 
When these are gone and come not. In the spring, 
When the first warmth was brooding every-where, 
He sat beside his doorway in that warmth, 
Watching the wagons on the highway pass, 
With something of the memory of his dread 
In the last autumn; and he fell asleep. 
Perhaps within his sleep he seemed again 
Journeying far away for evermore. 
Leaving behind the homes of other men. 
Seeking a newer home for those he loved, 
A pioneer again. And so he slept 

A.nd still he sleeps; his grave is one of those. 


His wife soon joined his sleep beside him there. 

Their children Time has taken and the world. 

The chimney shows enough for memory, 

The graves remain ; all other trace is gone, 

Except the apple-trees that linger, loth 

To end their blossoming. In restless moods 

I used to wander hither oftentimes, 

And often tarried till the twilight came, 

Touched with the melancholy wrought by change; 

And something in the atmosphere, I thought, 

Remained of hours and faces that had been. 

Then, thinking of the Past and all I knew, 

And all remembered, of it — most of him 

Whose vanished fireside blazed so near me here — 

My fancy, half unconscious, shaped the things 

Which had been, and among the quiet trees 


The chimney from its burial mound arose ; 

The ruined farm-house grew a quiet ghost — 

Its walls were thrilled with fitful murmurs, made 

Within by voices scarcely heard without; 

And from the window breathed a vaporous light 

Into the outer mist of vernal dark, 

And lo ! a crowd of sparks against the sky 

Sprang suddenly, at times, and from the wood 

( The wood ? — no wood was here for forty years ! ) 

Barked the shrill fox, and all the stars hung bright ; — 

Till, busy with the silence far away, 

(And whether heard or heard not hardly known,) 

First indistinct, then louder, nearer still. 

And ever louder, grew a tremulous roar; 

Then, sudden, flared a torch from out the night. 

And, eastward half-a-mile, the shimmering train 

Hurried across the darkness and the dream. 

And all mv fantasy was gone, at once — 


The lighted window and the fireside sound : 

I saw the heap of ruin underfoot, 

And overhead the leaves were jarred awake, 

Whispering a moment of the flying fright. 

And far away the whistle, like a cry, 

Shrill in the darkness reached the waiting town. 


T T OW bright to-night Hes all the Vale, 

Where Autumn scattered harvest gold, 
And, far off, hummed the bounding flail 
When dark autumnal noons were cold! 

The fields put on a mask of fire. 
Forever changing, in the dark; — 

Lo, yonder upland village spire 
Flashes in air a crimson spark ! 

*It is customary in some parts of the West to rake the last 
year's stubble of corn into windrows in the Spring, and burn it, 
preparatory to breaking the ground for a new planting. This 
burning is generally done after night-fall: — its effect on the land- 
scape these lines were intended to describe. 



I see the farm-house roofs arise, 

Among their guardian elms asleep : 
Redly the flame each window dyes, 

Through vines that chill and leafless creep. 

Along the lonely lane, that goes 

Darkening beyond the dusky hill, 
Amid the light the cattle doze 

And sings the awakened April rill. 

The mill by rocks is shadowed o'er. 
But, overhead, the shimmering trees 

Stand sentinels of the rocky shore 

And bud with fire against the breeze! 

Afar the restless riffle shakes 

Arrows of splendor through the wood, 

Then all its noisy water breaks 
Away in glimmering solitude. 


Gaze down into the bottoms near, 

Where all the darkness broadly warms: 

The priests who guard the fires appear 
Gigantic shadows, pigmy forms ! 

The enchanted Year shall here awake 
With harvest hope among her flowers; 

And nights of holy dew shall make 
The morning smile for toiling hours. 

Behold the Sower's sacrifice 

Upon the altars of the Spring ! — 

O dead Past, into flame arise: 

New seed into the earth we fling! 



nnHE bees in the clover are making honey, and I 

am making my hay: 
The air is fresh, I seem to draw a young man's 
breath to-day. 

The bees and I are alone in the grass : the air is so 

very still 
I hear the dam, so loud, that shines beyond the 

sullen mill. 

Yes, the air is so still that I hear almost the sounds 

I can not hear — 



That, when no other sound is plain, ring in my empty 

The chime of striking scythes, the fall of the heavy 

swaths they sweep — 
They ring about me, resting, when I waver half asleep ; 

So still, I am not sure if a cloud, low down, unseen 

there be, 
Or if something brings a rumor home of the cannon 

so far from me : 

Far away in Virginia, where Joseph and Grant, I know, 
Will tell them what I meant when first I had my 
mowers go ! 

Joseph, he is my eldest one, the only boy of my three 
Whose shadow can darken my door again, and 
lighten my heart for me. 


Joseph, he is my eldest — how his scythe was striking 

ahead ! 
WilHam was better at shorter heats, but Jo in the 

long-run led. 

William, he was my youngest; John, between them, 

I somehow see. 
When my eyes are shut, with a little board at his 

head in Tennessee. 

But William came home one morning early, from 

Gettysburg, last July, 
(The mowing was over already, although the only 

mower was I : ) 

William, my captain, came home for good to his 

mother; and I'll be bound 
We were proud and cried to see the flag that wrapt 

his coffin around; 


For a company from the town came up ten miles 

with music and gun : 
It seemed his country claimed him then — as well as 

his mother — her son. 

But Joseph is yonder with Grant to-day, a thousand 

miles or near, 
And only the bees are abroad at work with me in the 

clover here. 

Was it a murmur of thunder I heard that hummed 

again in the air ? 1 

Yet, may be, the cannon are sounding now their j 

Onward to Richmond there. 

But under the beech by the orchard, at noon, I sat 

an hour it would seem — 
It may be I slept a minute, too, or wavered into a 



For I saw my boys, across the field, by the flashes 

as they went, 
Tramping a steady tramp as of old, with the strength 

in their arms unspent; 

Tramping a steady tramp, they moved Hke soldiers 

that march to the beat 
Of music that seems, a part of themselves, to rise 

and fall with their feet; 

Tramping a steady tramp, they came with flashes of 

silver that shone. 
Every step, from their scythes that rang as if they 

needed the stone — 

(The field is wide and heavy with grass) — and, com- 
ing toward me, they beamed 

With a shine of light in their faces at once, and — 
surely I must have dreamed! 


For I sat alone in the clover-field, the bees were 

working ahead. 
There were three in my vision — remember, old man: 

and what if Joseph were dead ! 

But I hope that he and Grant ( the flag above them 

both, to boot,) 
Will go into Richmond together, no matter which is 

ahead or afoot ! 

Meantime, alone at the mowing here — an old man 

somewhat gray — 
I must stay at home as long as I can, making, myself, 

the hay. 

And so another round — the quail in the orchard 

whistles blithe; — 
But first I '11 drink at the spring below, and whet 

again my scythe. 


T STOPPED to read the Milestone here, 

A laggard school-boy, long ago ; 
I came not far — my home was near — 
But ah, how far I longed to go! 

Behold a number and a name, — 
A finger. Westward, cut in stone: 

The vision of a city came, 

Across the dust and distance shown. 

Around me lay the farms asleep 

In hazes of autumnal air, 
And sounds that quiet loves to keep 

Were heard, and heard not, every-where. 



I read the Milestone, day by day: 
I yearned to cross the barren bound, 

To know the golden Far-away, 

To walk the new Enchanted Ground! 


T CAME to find her blithe and bright, 

Breathing the household full of bloom, 
Wreathing the fireside with delight; — 
I found her in her tomb ! 

I came to find her gathering flowers — 
Their fragrant souls, so pure and dear, 

Haunting her face in lonely hours; — 
Her single flower is here ! 

For, look: the gentle name that shows 
Her love, her loveliness, and bloom, 

(Her only epitaph a rose,) 
Is growing on her tomb ! 



T^AR-OFF spires, a mist of silver, shimmer from 

the far-off town ; 
Haunting here the dreary turnpike, stands the tavern, 
crumbHng down. 

Half a mile before you pass it, half a mile when you 

are gone, 
Like a ghost it comes to meet you, ghost-like still it 

follows on. 

Never more the sign-board, swinging, flaunts its 
gilded wonder there : 

** Philip King" — a dazzled harvest shocked in West- 
ern sunset air! 


Never, as with nearer tinkle through the dust of 

long ago 
Creep the Pennsylvania wagons up the twilight — 

white and slow. 

With a low, monotonous thunder, yonder flies the 

hurrying train — 
Hark, the echoes in the quarry! — in the woodland 

lost again ! 

Never more the friendly windows, red with warmth 

and Christian light, 
Breathe the traveler's benediction to his brethren 

in the night. 

Old in name, The Haunted Tavern holds the barren 

rise alone ; — 
Standing high in air deserted, ghost-like long itself 

has grown. 

38 king's tavern. 

Not a pane in any window — many a ragged cor- 
ner-bit : 

Boys, the strolling exorcisors, gave the ghost their 
notice— "Quit." 

Jamestown-weeds have close invaded, year by year, 

the bar-room door, 
Where, within, in damp and silence gleams the lizard 

on the floor. 

Through the roof the drear Novembers trickle down 

the midnight slow ; 
In the summer's warping sunshine green with moss 

the shingles grow. 

Yet in Maying wind the locust, sifting sunny blossom, 

And the rose-vine still remembers some dear face 

that loved the rose, — 


Climbing up a southern casement, looking in neg- 
lected air; 

And, in golden honey-weather, careful bees are hum- 
ming there. 

In the frozen moon at midnight some have heard, 

when all was still — 
Nothing, I know ! A ghostly silence keeps the 

tavern on the hill ! 


T T W bright this weird autumnai eve — 

While the wild twilight clings around, 
Clothing the grasses every-where, 
With scarce a dream of sound ! 

The high horizon's northern line, 

With many a silent-leaping spire, 

Seems a dark shore — a sea of flame — 

Quick, crawling waves of fire ! 


I stand in dusky solitude, 

October breathing low and chill, 
And watch the far-off blaze that leaps 

At the wind's wayward will. 

These boundless fields, behold, once more. 

Sea-like in vanished summers stir; 
From vanished autumns comes the Fire — 

A lone, bright harvester! 

I see wide terror lit before — 

Wild steeds, fierce herds of bison here; 

And, blown before the flying flames,' 
The flying-footed deer! 

Long trains (with shaken bells, that move 

Along red twilights sinking slow) 
Whose wheels grew weary on their way 

Far westward, long ago: 


Lone wagons bivouacked in the blaze, 
That, long ago, streamed wildly past; 

Faces, from that bright solitude, 
In the hot gleam aghast! 

A. glare of faces like a dream. 

No history after or before, 
Inside the horizon with the flames, 

The flames — nobody more ! 

That vision vanishes in me. 

Sudden and swift and fierce and bright; 
Another gentler vision fills 

The solitude, to-night: 

The horizon lightens every-where. 

The sunshine rocks on windy maize ; — 

Hark, every-where are busy men. 
And children at their plays ! 


Far church-spires twinkle at the sun, 
From villages of quiet born, 

And, far and near, and every-where, 
Homes stand amid the corn. 

No longer, driven by wind, the Fire 
Makes all the vast horizon glow. 

But, numberless as the stars above, 
The windows shine below ! 


A LONG the sultry city street, 

Faint subtile breaths of fragrance meet 
Me, wandering unaware 
(In April warmth, while yet the sun 
For Spring no constant place has won,) 
By many a vacant square. 

Whoever reads these lines has felt 

That breath whose long-lost perfumes melt 

The spirit — newly found 
While the sweet, banished families 
Of earth's forgotten sympathies 

Rise from the sweating ground. 



It is the subtile breath of grass; 
And as I pause, or lingering pass, 

With half-shut eyes, behold! 
Bright from old baptisms of the dew, 
Fresh meadows burst upon my view, 

And new becomes the old ! 

Old longings (Pleasure kissing Pain), 
Old visions visit me again — 

Life's quiet deeps are stirred 
The fountain-heads of memory flow 
Through channels dry so long ago, 

With music long unheard. 

I think of pastures, evermore 
Greener than any hour before. 

Where cattle wander slow, 
Large-uddered in the sun, or chew 


The cud content in shadows new, 

Or, shadowy, homeward low. 

I dream of prairies dear to me : 
Afar in town I seem to see 

Their widening miles arise, 
Where, like the butterfly anear. 
Far off in sunny mist the deer. 

That seems no larger, flies. 

Thy rural lanes, Ohio, come 

Back to me, grateful with the hum 

Of every thing that stirs : 
Dear places, saddened by the years. 
Lost to my sight send sudden tears 

Their secret messengers. 

I think of paths a-swarm with wings 
Of bird and bee — all lovely things 


From sun or sunny clod; — 
Of play-grounds where we children play, 
And fear not Time will come to-day, 

And feel the warming sod. 

New grass: it grows by cottage doors. 
In orchards hushed with bloom, by shores 

Of streams that flow as green. 
On hill-slopes white with tents or sheep, 
And where the sacred mosses keep 

The holy dead unseen. 

It grows o'er distant graves I know: — 
Sweet grass! above them greener grow, 

And guard them tenderly ! 
My brother's, not three summers green ; 
My sister's — new made, only seen 

Through far-off tears by me ! 



It grows on battle-fields — alas, 
Old battle-fields in withered grass! 

New battles wait the new: 
Hark, is it the Hving warmth I hear? 
The cannon far or bee anear? 

The bee and cannon tool 
Washington, D. C, April, 1863. 


IVTATURE gives with freest hands 
Richest gifts to poorest lands. 
When the lord has sown his last 
And his field's to desert passed, 
She begins to claim her own, 
And — instead of harvests flown, 
Sunburnt sheaves and golden ears 
Sends her hardier pioneers: 
Barbarous brambles, outlawed seeds, 
The first families of weeds 
Fearing neither sun nor wind, 
With the flowers of their kind 
(Outcasts of the garden-bound) 



Colonize the expended ground, 
Using (none her right gainsay) 
Confiscations of decay : — 
Thus she clothes the barren place, 
Old disgrace, with newer grace. 
Title-deeds, which cover lands 
Ruled and reaped by buried hands, 
She — disowning owners old. 
Scorning their **to have and hold" 
Takes herself; the moldering fence 
Hides with her munificence ; 
O'er the crumbled gatepost twines 
Her proprietary vines; 
On the doorstep of the house 
Writes in moss ''Anonymous," 
And, that beast and bird may see, 
''This is Public property;" 
To the bramble makes the sun 


Bearer of profusion : 

Blossom-odors breathe in June 

Promise of her later boon, 

And in August's brazen heat 

Grows the prophecy complete; — 

Lo, her largess glistens bright, 

Blackness diamonded with light! 

Then, behold, she welcomes all 

To her annual festival: 

"Mine the fruit but yours as well," 

Speaks the Mother Miracle; 

''Rich and poor are welcome; come, 

Make to-day millennium 

In my garden of the sun : 

Black and white to me are one. 

This my freehold use content 

Here no landlord rides for rent • 
I proclaim my jubilee, 



In my Black Republic, free. 
Come," she beckons; ''enter, through 
Gates of gossamer, doors of dew 
(Lit with Summer's tropic fire). 
My Liberia of the brier." 


A BOVE the sunken sun the clouds are fired 

With a dark splendor; the enchanted hour 

Works momentary miracles in the sky; 

Weird shadows take from fancy what they lack 

For semblance, and I see a boundless plain, 

A mist of sun and sheaves in boundless air, 

Gigantic shapes of Reapers moving slow 

In some new harvest: — so I can but dream 

Of my great Land, that takes its Morning star 

Out of the dusky Evening of the East : 

My Land, that lifted into vision gleams 

Misty and vast, a boundless plain afar, 



(Like yonder fading fantasy of cloud,) 
With shadowy Reapers moving, vague and slow, 
In some wide harvest of the days to be — 
A mist of sun and sheaves in boundless air ! 


XT EAR by, a soundless road is seen, o'ergrown 

with grass and brier; 
Far off, the highway's signal flies — a hurrying dust 
of fire. 

But here, among forgotten graves, in June's delicious 

I linger where the living loved to dream of lovely 


Worn letters, lit with heavenward thought, these 

crumbled headstones wear; 
Fresh flowers (old epitaphs of Love) are fragrant 

here and there. 



Years, years ago, these graves were made ; — no mourn- 
ers come to-day : 

Their footsteps vanished, one by one, moving the 
other way. 

Through the loud world they walk, or He — like 

those here left at rest — 
With two long-folded useless arms on each forgotten 



\ T 7HILE fitful breezes kiss to frosty gold 

The swells of foliage down the vale serene, 
And all the sunset fills 
The dreamland of the hills, 
Now all the enchantment of October old 
Feels a cold veil fall o'er its passing scene. 

Low sounds of Autumn creep along the plains. 
Through the wide stillness of the woodlands brown, 
Where the weird waters hold 
The melancholy gold ; 
The cattle, lingering slow through river lanes, 
Brush yellowing vines that swing through elm- 
trees down. 



The forests, climbing up the northern air, 

Wear far an azure slumber through the light, 
Showing, in pictures strange, 
The stealthy wand of change; 
The corn shows languid breezes, here and there — 
Faint-heard o'er all the bottoms wide and bright. 

On many a silent circle slowly blown, 

The hawk, in sun-flushed calm suspended high, 
With careless trust of might 
Slides wing-wide through the light, — 
Now golden through the restless dazzle shown, 
Now drooping down, now swinging up the sky. 

Wind-worn along their sunburnt gables old, 
The barns are full of all the Indian sun, 
In golden quiet wrought 
Like webs of dreamy thought^ 


And in their Winter shelter safely hold 
The green year's earnest promise harvest-won. 

With evening bells that gather, low or loud, 

Some village, through the distance, poplar-bound, 
O'er meadows silent grown. 
And lanes with crisp leaves strown. 
Lifts up one spire, aflame, against a cloud 
That slumbers eastward, slow and silver-crowned. 


[the old democrat in the west.] 

X/ONDER the bleak old tavern stands — the 

faded sign before, 
That years ago a setting sun and banded harvest 

The tavern stands the same to-day, — the sign you 

look upon 
Has glintings of the dazzled sheaves, but nothing 

of the sun. 

In Jackson's days, a gay young man, with spirit 

hale and bhthe, 



And form like the young hickory, so tough and 
tali and lithe, 

I first remember coming up — we came a wagon- 

A dozen for Old Hickory — this rough November 

Ah! forty years — they help a man, you see, in 

getting gray; 
They can not take the manly soul, that makes a 

man, away ! 
It's forty years, or near: to-day I go to vote once 

more ; 

Here, half a mile away, we see the crowd about the 

My boys, in Eighteen Sixty — what! my boys? my 

men, I mean! 


( No better men, no braver souls, in flesh-and-blood 

are seen ! ) — 
One twenty-six, one twenty-three, rode with their 

father then : 
The ballot-box remembers theirs — my vote I'll try 

again ! 

The ballot-box remembers theirs, the country well 

might know — 
Though in a million only two for little seem to go; 
But, somehow, when my ticket slipped I dreamed 

of Jackson's day : 
The land, I thought, has need of one whose will 

will find a way! 

^^ He did not waver when the need had called for 

steadfast thought, — 
The word he spoke made plain the deed that lay 

behind it wrought;" 



And while I mused the Present fell, and, breathing 

back the Past, 
Again it seemed the hale young man his vote for 

Jackson cast! 

Thank God it was not lost!— my vote I did not 
cast in vain! 

I go alone to drop my vote, the glorious vote, 
again ; 

Alone -where three together fell but one to-day 
shall fall; 

But though I go alone to-day, one voice shall speak 
for all! 

For when our men, awaking quick, from hearth and 

threshold came. 
Mine did not say, -Another day!" but started 

like a flame • 


I'll vote for them as well as me; they died as 

soldiers can, 
But in my vote their voices each shall claim the 

right of man. 

The elder left his wife and child — my vote for 

these shall tell ; 
The younger's sweet-heart has a claim — I '11 vote 

for her as well ! 
Yes ! for the myriad speechless tongues, the myriad 

offered Hves, — 
Oh, desolation at the heart of orphans and of 

wives ! 

I go to give my vote alone — I curse your shameless 

Who fight for traitors here at home in Peace's holy 

name ! 


I go to give my vote alone, but, even while I do, 
I vote for dead and living, all — the living dead and 
you ! 

See yonder tree beside the field, caught in the sud- 
den sough, 

How conscious of its strength it leans, how straight 
and steadfast now ! 

If Lincoln bends (for all, through him, my vote I 
mean to cast) — 

What winds have blown ! what storms he 's known ! 
the hickory's straight at last! 

November, 1864, 


A T the end of the lane and in sight of the mill 

Is the smithy ; I pass it to-day, in a dream 

Of the days whose red blood in my bosom is warm, 

While the real alone as the vanished I deem : 
For the years they may crumble to dust in the heart, 
But the roses will bloom though the grave-stones 

In the loneliest evenings of long ago, 

The smithy was dear in the darkness to me, 
When the clouds were all heaping the world with 
their snow, 



And the wind shivered over dead leaves on the 

tree ; 
Through the snow-shower it seemed to be bursting 

aflame : — 
How the sparks in the dark from the chimney came ! 

It was dear in the Past; and still it is dear, 
In the memory fond of the far-away time, 
When the binging and banging, and clinging and 
In the heart of my boyhood, were music and 
rhyme ; 
When the bellows groaned to the furnace-glow. 
And the lights through the chinks danced out in the 

The irons within on the anvils were ringing: 
There were glowing arms in the bursting gleam ; 


And shadows were glowering away in the gloaming, 

That, suddenly bounding to giants, would seem 
Now out of the open doorways to spring, 
Now up in the rafters vanishing! 

The smith I remember: oh, many a smile 
Has played on his lips with me, and kind 

Were the words that would lighten the dusk of his 
face — 
His face, at the memory, gleams in my mind — 

With a heart that could beat in the heart of a boy, 

A heart for his grief, and a heart for his joy! 

Adown from the farm of my father once more, 
That so long has forgotten us up on the hill, — - 

With the wings in my blood to the bound of the 
That passes the breezes so merry and shrill, — 


I seem to be flying; then, suddenly, seem 

To drop to the earth from the wings of my dream! 

Vain dream of the Past! — But I pass it to-day: 
No longer the furnace is bursting with flame ; 

No longer the music comes out of the door, 
That, long ago, to the schoolboy came : 

The winds whisper low through the window and door, 

The chimney is part of the dust of the floor. 

. . . Phoebe Morris ! sweet Phoebe! — the sweetest 
of girls 

That brightened old dreams with a beautiful face ! — 
It may be that she smiled from her father's lips. 

And blossomed her smile in the dusky place ! 
Ah, she smiles, to-day, in my boyhood for me, 
With her lips that are kissing — a memory! 


T T E knew of the great pioneering days, 

And the dread Indian times that only live 
In dreams of old men when the ember-ghost 
Of long December evenings, Memory, 
Rising from the white ashes of the hearth 
And from the ashes of their outburnt lives, 
Haunts them, and fills them with a tender breath 
From the rough forests, full of wolves and deer, 
Where their young hearts made the fierce land their 



T TNDERNEATH the beechen tree 
All things fall in love with me ! 
Birds, that sing so sweetly, sung 
Ne'er more sweet when I was young; 
Some shy fay, (I will not see!) 
Steals to kiss me, lovingly; 
All the leaves, so blithe and bright, 
Dancing sing in Maying light 
Over me : * * At last, at last. 

He is stolen from the Past ! " 



Wherefore, leaves, so merrily mad? 

I am rather sad than glad. 

''He is the happy child that played 
Underneath our beechen shade. 
Years ago, — whom all things bright 
Gladdened, glad with his delight ! " 

I am not the child that played 

Underneath your beechen shade; 

I am not the boy ye sung 

Songs to, in lost fairy-tongue. 

He read fairy dreams below: 

Legends leaves and flowers must know ; 

He dreamed fairy dreams, while ye 

Changed to fairies, in your glee 

Dancing, singing, on the tree; 

And, awakened, fairy-land 


Circled childhood's magic wand ! 

Joy warmed his heart, joy kissed his brow; — 

I am following funerals now. 

Fairy shores from Time depart ; 

Lost horizons flush my heart. 

I am not the child that played 

Underneath your beechen shade. 

" ' T is the merry child that played 
Underneath our beechen shade, 
Years ago, — whom all things bright 
Gladdened, glad with his delight ! " 

Ah, the bright leaves will not know 
That an old man dreams below ! 
No; they will not hear nor see, — 
Clapping their hands at finding me, 
Singing, dancing, on their tree ! 


Ah, their happy voices steal 
Years away ; — again I feel, 
While they sing to me apart, 
The lost child come in my heart: 
In the enchantment of the Past, 
The old man is the child at last ! 


THE schoolmaster's STORY. 

\ T 7HEN my strong fathers came into the West, 
They chose a tract of land which seemed the 
Near a swift river, in whose constant flow 
Peacefully earth and heaven were one below ; 
Gigantic wardens, on the horizon, stood 
F'ar-circling hills, rough to their tops with wood. 

They came, a long and dangerous journey then, 
Through paths that had not known of civil men ; 
With wives and children looking back, and still 

Returning long in dreams confusing will, 



They came, and in the panther-startled shade 

The deep foundations of a State were laid. 

The axe, in stalwart hands, with steadfast stroke. 

The savage echoes of the forest woke. 

And, one by one, breaking the world-old spell, 

The hardy trees, long-crashing, with thunder fell. 

The log-house rose, within the solitude, 

And civilized the tenants of the wood. 

It was not long before the shadow'd mold 

Open'd to take the sunshine's gift of gold ; 

In the dark furrow dropp'd the trusted seed, 

And the first harvest bless'd the sower's need. 

Oh, dear the memory of their simpler wealth, 
Whose hardship nursed the iron flower of health ; 
Oh, sweet the record of the lives they spent. 
Whose breath was peace, whose benison content ; 
Unenvied now by us, their delicate sons, 


The dangers which they braved, those heartier ones ! 

The Indian's midnight coming, long ago, 

And the wolf's howl in nights that shone with snow. 

These are but dreams to us (who would but dream), 

Pictured far off, heard as lost sounds that seem : 

They knew the terror, seventy years gone by. 

Of the realities we may not try, 

Who left the farm on which my new-born eyes 

Saw the great miracle of earth and skies. 

The fields were clear'd ; the farm-house, girt around 
With meadow-lands and orchards, held its ground ; 
The goodly place had wavering uplands, sweet 
With cattle-pastures, hot with ripening wheat. 
The house look'd Westward, where the river lay 
Shimmering o'er level lands at close of day, 
Or, many-twinkling through the autumnal morn, 
In the hazy heat rustled the languid corn. 


Not far were neighbors — heirs of acres wide, 
Or the small farms in which the old divide. 
By the close pike, a half-mile off to the north, 
The tavern, with old-fashion'd sign thrust forth, 
Show'd Washington, a little faded then, 
(Too faded now, among new-famous men !) 
And, close beside, the blacksmith-shop was found, 
In August noons obtrusive with its sound. 
Or late in winter eves, a welcome sight. 
Burning and brightening through with bursting 
light ! 

Such was the farm — how dear to my regret! — 
Whose fresh life runs into my bosom yet. 
My dreams may bear me thither even now . 
Again, with eager heart and sunburnt brow. 
Homesick at times, I take a noiseless train, 
Wandering, breath-like, to my home again; 


See my glad brothers, in the June-sweet air, 

Toss the green hay, the hot sheaves of harvest bear ; 

The fireside warms into my heart — how plain ! 

And my lost mother takes her boy again ; 

My sisters steal around me tenderly — 

And all that can not be yet seems to be ! 

In thirty years what changes there have been ! — 
How disappear the landmarks that were seen ! 
If I should go to seek my boyhood's place, 
What chart would show the way, what guide would 
trace ? 

New people came. Around the tavern grew 
New dwellings and new manners — all things new. 
The impetus of something in the land 
(Some gold, unseen, diviners understand), 
Some mystic loadstone of the earth or air, 


Drew all the nimble spirits of action there. 

The village, not without a conscious pride, 

Grew fast and gather'd in the country-side, 

Then took the style of town. And now, behold, 

A wild, strange rumor through the country roll'd ! — 

A railroad was projected. East and West, 

Which would not slight us, so the shrewd ones 

Strange men with chain and compass came at last 
Among the hills, across the valley pass'd ; 
Through field and woodland, pasture, orchard, they 
Turn'd not aside, but kept straight on their way. 
Old farmers threaten'd, but it did no good — 
The quick conservatives of the neighborhood. 
"We do not want it !" many said, and one, 
" Through field of mine I swear it shall not run 1 " 
And paced his boundary-line with loaded gun. 
Others replied (wise, weather-sighted, they !) 


" You '11 think a little different, friend, some day. 
The wheels of progress will you block — good speed ! 
(Cut off your nose to spite your face, indeed !) 
'T will make the land worth double, where you walk." 
"Stuff! stuff!" the old fogies answer'd — "how you 

The road was open'd. Soon another, down 
Northward and Southward, cut across the town : 
Both pass'd through meadows where my boyhood 

stray'd : 
One through the barn within whose mow I play'd. 
And then a newer force of circumstance 
Took hold and pull'd the place in quick advance: 
The lovely river — swift, and deep, and strong — 
Upon whose shore I fish'd and idled long, 
(The still companion of my dreaming hour,) 
Had great advantages of water-power. 


Saw-mills and grist-mills, factories builded there, 
Cover'd the banks and jarr'd the quiet air. 
The river could not sleep nor dream its old 
Beautiful dream, in morn or evening gold, 
Or as a fallen soul had fitful glance 
At its divine and lost inheritance. 

The town became a city — growing still, 

And growing ever, with a giant's will 

Gathering and grasping, changing all it took. 

A city sewer was my school-boy brook. 

The farm remain'd, but only in the name ; 

The old associations lived the same. 

The approaching city drew its arm around, 

And threaten'd more and more the invaded ground 

Near and more near its noises humm'd and groan'd, 

(Higher and higher priced the land we own'd !) 

My father held his ground, and would not sell. 


The stiff wiseacres praised his wisdom well. 

At last I came from home. At college long 

Absent, at home something, meanwhile, jwent wrong. 

I need not tell the fact. What house is proof. 

With jealous threshold and protected roof, 

Against the subtle foes that every-where 

Stand waiting to attack in safest air — 

The insidious foes of Fortune or of Fate, 

Who plan our ruin while we estimate 

Our sum of new success ? My father died — 

(My mother soon was buried by his side ;) 

The farm pass'd into speculative hands, 

Who turn'd to sudden profit all its lands. 

The greedy city seized upon them fast, 

And the dear home was swept into the Past 

Across its quiet meadows streets were laid, 

White-hot, the dusty thoroughfares of trade. 


Where the gray farm-house had its sacred hearth 
Sprang buildings hiding heaven and crowding earth. 

A score of years were pass'd. Return'd by chance 

(A railway accident the circumstance) 

To that strange city only known by name, 

Unwilling visitor by night I came ; 

And, sleeping there within some great hotel, 

There rose a dream that fills my heart to tell. 

I came, a boy — it seem'd not long away — 

Close to my father's house at shut of day. 

I cross'd the pasture and the orchard where 

Glimmer'd the cider-mill in golden air ; 

The faint, soft tremor of the wandering bell 

Of cattle mingled with the old clover-smell. 

I leap'd the brook that twinkled darkly bright, 

And saw the farm-house dusk'd in mellow light. 

The river, painted with the Western gleam, 


Show'd through the leaves a Paradisal dream. 

By the side-door my father met me then, 

My mother kiss'd me in the porch again — 

A moment all that was not was ! I 'woke 

And through my window saw the morning smoke 

Of the loud city. And my dream, behold, 

Was on the spot of the dear hearth of old ! 

A man's vain tears hung vague within my eyes. 

The Lost Farm underneath the city lies. 


T3Y the old high road I find, 

(The weeds their story tell,) 
With fallen curb and fill'd with stones, 
A long-forgotten well. 

The chimney, crumbling near, 

A mute historian stanas, 
Of human joy and human woe — 

Far, faded fireside bands ! 

Here still the apple blows 

Its bloom of rose-lit snow ; 
The rose-tree bless'd some gentle hands 

With roses, long ago. 



I can not choose but dream 

Of all thy good foredone ; — 
Old alms-giver, thy gifts once more 

Show diamonds in the sun ! 

From yonder vanished home, 

Bhthe children therein born ; 
The mother with her crowing babe ; 

The grands ire palsy-worn ; 

Strong men, whose weighted limbs 
Falter through dust and heat ; 

Lithe youths in dreamland sowing deeds ; 
Shy maidens blushing sweet ; 

The reaper from his sheaves ; 
The mower from his hay — 


These take thy freshness in their hearts, 
And pass — my dream — away ! 

Forgotten by the throng, 

Uncared for and unknown, 
None seek thee through the wood of weeds 

Neglect has slowly sown. 

Yet, under all, thou'rt there — 
Exhaustless, pure, and cold — 

If but the sunshine came to see ; 
The fountain ne'er grows old ! 


^ I ^HE beautiful apples, so golden and mellow 

They will fall at a kiss of the breeze, 
While it breathes through the foliage frosty and 
And the sunshine is filling the trees ! 
Though high in the light wind they gladly would 
On the boughs where their blossoms were found, 
Yet they drop at a breath, at the touch of a finger 
They shatter their cores on the ground ! 

Through the morn of October while Autumn is trying 
With all things to make-believe Spring, 


How the leaves of the orchard around us are fly- 
ing !— 
The heavens with jubilee ring ! 
The ladders in breezes of sunshine are swinging, 

The farmer-boys gladden and climb : 
To gather the fruit they are swaying and sing- 
Glad hearts to glad voices keep time ! 

Far down the bright air they are happy to listen 

To the noise of the mill and the flail, 
And the waters that laugh as they leap and they 

From the dam that is lighting the vale! — 
The wild flutter of bells that so dreamily rises 

From glades where the cows wander slow. 
And the laughter of faces in childish surprises 

When the wind flings an apple below ! 


Oh, see ! in the trees that are drinking the splendor, 

How the gladness of boyhood is seen ! — 
How they shake all the branches so windy and slen- 

And a quick golden rain is between ! 
High and higher they climb, till the grasses are cover'd 

With the fruits that were sweet April flowers, 
And the yellowing leaves that all over them hover'd 

Flutter down with the apples in showers ! 

The harvests are garner'd, the meadows are burning, 

At sunset, in golden and brown ; 
The apples are gather'd, the wagons returning : 

The Winter may bluster and frown ! 
The blind-drifting snows may make barren the even, 

Dark twilights may shiver with rain ; 
But the apples and cider by Summer are given — 

Give Winter to Summer again ! 


T7AR-0FF a young State rises, full of might : 
I paint its brave escutcheon. Near at hand 

See the log cabin in the rough clearing stand ; 
A woman by its door, with steadfast sight, 
Trustful, looks Westward, where, uplifted bright, 

Some city's Apparition, weird and grand, 

In dazzling quiet fronts the lonely land, 
With vast and marvelous structures wrought of light, 
Motionless on the burning cloud afar : — 

The haunting vision of a time to be, 
After the heroic age is ended here. 
Built on the boundless, still horizon's bar 

By the low sun, his gorgeous prophecy 

Lighting the doorway of the pioneer ! 




A LL day the reapers through the wheat 
Have wrought amid the sultry heat, 
Reaping the harvest wide and fleet. 

All day the binders* stooping train 

Have swelter'd through the sweating grain, 

Binding the bearded sheaves amain : 

With shouted jest, with breaks of song. 
Lightening their heavy toil along, 
A merry-hearted, boisterous throng ! 

But now, where all alone I stand, 

The shocks like tents of gold expand, 

The camp of Plenty in the Land ! 



Through the wide solitude around 
Shrills but the empty dream of sound ; 
The Hours in golden sheaf lie bound. 

Bathed in the crimsoning hush of air, 
Yon mound, against the twilight bare 
Breathes from a deeper twihght there. 

The long grass rustled, year by year ; 
The herded bison thunder'd near ; 
Bounding in sunshine flew the deer. 

The summers went, the summers came — 
Years, years, years, years ! — and all the same ; 
November's winding-sheet was flame ! 

The trees that hedge the prairies in 
Have whispers dim of what has been, 
Traditions of their crumbled kin. 


Yon mound was still while centuries fled 
And at their feet forgot their dead ; 
Nothing was ask'd and nothing said. 

Now, vast with twilight's glamoury, 
It whispers weirdly unto me ; 
Great dusky mirages I see. 

In far-oif days the Atlantic morn 
Came not to find a world new-born ; 
Wide fields of sunshine shake with com. 

Lo, here an elder harvest land, 
With many another reaper band ! — 
The tents of Plenty thickly stand. 

All day the binders* stooping train, 
Sweltering through the sweating grain. 
Bind the hot-bearded sheaves amain : 


With shouted jest, with breaks of song, 
Lightening their heavy toil along, 
A merry-hearted, boisterous throng 1 

And, as in those fair fields we see, 
Through Bible-gates of memory. 
In the high East shine beauteously : 

Some Boaz owns the harvest plain. 
Where, following the reapers' train, 
See, Ruth, the gleaner, walks again! 

Love, that had flush'd the centuries, 
Lovely, as yonder, dwells with these ; 
And Faith, with nations at her knees ' 

The same sun shines, the same earth glows, 
With the same transient joys and woes 
The last man as the first man knows. 


For Nature, swarthy mother, warms 
(However changed their faces, forms,) 
One human family in her arms ! 

The cattle low from field to fold ; 

The harvesters in evening gold 

Leave the dusk shocks — the tale is told ! 

The silence falls, the twilight deep ; 
Myriads of morns the grasses creep 
Across vast solitudes of sleep. 

The herded bison thunder'd near ; 
Bounding in sunshine flew the deer ; 
The long grass rustled year by year. 

Wolf, deer, and bison ! — lo ! the Wind, 
A huntsman wild, to mad and blind, 
Flinging his fiery torch behind ! 





OUND US lies a Land of Shadow, not a footstep 
echoes o'er ; 

Song of peace and cry of battle falter, dying, ever- 

War-fires in the vales are leaping, with the glaring 

dance of war. 
But the fiercely-gleaming faces are a painted dream 


O'er the valley, clothed in shadow, sunlit stands the 

startled deer, 


From the cliff against the morning flashing away, 
breath-like, with fear. 

Lo, the golden light of morning o'er the Land of 

Shadow cast. 
Where the tomahawk is buried in the grave-mound 

of the Past ! 

Nothing of that Land remains, now, save these gray 

historic trees. 
Shaking through their glittering branches dews of 

olden memories ! 



Here among the greenery hidden, warder of that 

Near the noisy-trampled highway, see the old dead 

chimney stand ! — 


Hidden from the busy highway 'mong the cherries 

large and low, 
Whose new blossoms fill the breezes with a gentle 

drift of snow I 

Dead ! — no more a flame is leaping through it toward 

the wintry cold ; 
Dead ! — no more its smoke is wreathing woodlands 

deep and dim and old. 

Dead ! — no more its azure welcome gladdens eyes 

that houseless roam ; 
Dead! — no more it seems uplifting incense from the 

heart of Home ! 

Gone the hands that shook the forest, burying in the 

furrow'd soil 
Careful seeds of trust, returning harvest-guerdon for 

their toil. 


Gone the hearts that made pale faces, when the 
wolves came starved with cold, 

And the fireside still was waiting through the twi- 
light snows of old. 

Gone the homely cabin-threshold, with the feet that 
cross'd it o'er ; 

Gone the closely-gather'd household, with their dwell- 
ing low and poor. 

Yet I see a Hght of sparkles redden up old evenings 

Like the fancies sent to wander up the chimney by 

a child. 

Hearts, I think, there may be, somewhere, echoing 

through the vanish'd door. 
Dreaming dreams returning, hearing footsteps from 

the crumbled floor. 


Children, whose new lives were darken'd here wit 

shades of sudden fears, 
May be children, wandering hither, while old gra 

men lose their years ; 

They may hear the red-man's voices through th 

night the silence start, 
And, awaking, the old terror shiver newly throug 

the heart. 

You may find them growing weary, faltering throug 

the busy lands. 
Wrinkled by the years their faces, shaken by th 

years their hands. 

Of them here no token lingers, save the chimne^ 

gray and low. 
With a gleam of lighted faces from a fireside lonj 



T WANDER down the woodland lane, 
That to the turnpike greenly steals : 
In breathless twilight gold, again, 

To wait the far-approaching wheels; 
To hear the driver's horn once more 

Wind all around the river wood, 
Shy echoes start along the shore 

And thrill the bosky solitude. 

Here, coming back last night, I 've found, 

Of folk familiar once, how few ! — 

Some, blacken'd names in graveyard ground, 

Forgotten on the farms they knew. 



In our quick West the ruthless plow 
Spares not dear landmarks to displace ; 

The old Home, so long regretted, now 
Stared at me with a stranger's face ! 

Hark ! the vague hum of wheels is blown, 

Fitful, across the evening calm — 
No ; 't is the far-off sound, well known 

To boyish ears, of Mower's dam. 
I started later than I ought. 

It may be, and the stage is pass'd 

Fond fancy ! — disenchanting thought, 

That will not let the fancy last ! 

Ah, broken dream ! The wheels no more 
Ring faint beyond the Southern hill ; 

No longer down the valley roar. 
Waking the twilight bridges still ; 


No more the lonely farm it cheers 

To see the tavern's added light — 
The stage is gone these seventeen years ; 

I walk to meet the train to-night. 

Yet here 's the crossing (ne'er a trace 

Of the old toll-gate toward the mill)— 
The parting and the meeting place, 

Dear, dear to homesick memory still ! 
Oh, schoolboy-time of joy and woe, 

Of sad farewells, of blithe returns ! — 
I feel again the pang to go, 

The homeward rapture in me burns ! 

A sound grows busy with the breeze, 

A Hearing roar, a glancing light, 
A tremor through yon darkling trees — 

The fiery pant, the rushing might ! 


The head-light glares, the whistle screams ; 

I cross the field, the platform gain. 
Give back, for old regrets and dreams. 

Warm love and dear ones, flying train ! 


/^^RIMSONING the woodlands dumb and hoary, 
Bleak with long November winds and rains, 
Lo, at sunset, breathes a sudden glory, 
Breaks a fire on all the western panes ! 

Eastward far I see the restless splendor 

Shine through many a window-lattice bright; 

Nearer all the farm-house gables render 

Flame for flame, and melt in breathless light. 

Many a mansion, many a cottage lowly, 

Lost in radiance, palpitates the same 

At the touch of Beauty strange and holy. 

All transfigured in the evening flame. 




Luminous, within, — a marvelous vision, — 
Things familiar half-unreal show; 

In the effluence of Land Elysian, 
Every bosom feels a hoHer glow. 

Faces lose, as at some wondrous portal. 

Earthly masks, and heavenly features wear; 

Many a mother, like a saint immortal. 
Folds her child, a haloed angel fair ! 



T O, from the city's heat and dust 

A Golden Hand forever thrust. 
UpHfting from a spire on high 
A shining finger in the sky ! 

I see it when the morning brings 
Fresh tides of hfe to living things, 
And the great world awakes: behold, 
That lifted Hand in morning gold ! 

I see it when the noontide beats 
Pulses of fire in busy streets ; 
The dust flies in the flaming air: 
Above, that quiet Hand is there. 



I see it when the twilight clings 
To the dark earth with hovering wings: 
Flashing with the last fluttering ray, 
That Golden Hand remembers day. 

The midnight comes — the holy hour; 
The city, like a giant flower. 
Sleeps full of dew : that Hand, in light 
Of moon and stars, how weirdly bright ! 

Below, in many a noisy street. 
Are toiling hands and striving feet ; 
The weakest rise, the strongest fall: 
That equal Hand is over all. [ 

Below, in courts to guard the land, 
Gold buys the tongue and binds the hand ; 
Dropping in God's great scales the gold, 
That awful Hand, above, behold ! 


Below, the Sabbaths walk serene 
With the great dust of days between; 
Preachers within their pulpits stand: 
See, over all, that heavenly Hand! 

But the hot dust, in crowded air 
Below, arises never there : — 
O speech of one who can not speak! 
O Sabbath-witness of the Week! 
Cincinnati, Ohio, 1859. 


A LONE I walk the Morning Street, 

Filled with the silence vague and sweet: 
All seems as strange, as still, as dead. 
As if unnumbered years had fled. 
Letting the noisy Babel lie 
Breathless and dumb against the sky. 
The light wind walks with me, alone, 
Where the hot day, flame-like, was blown; 
Where the wheels roared, the dust was beat : — 
The dew is in the Morning Street ! 



Where are the restless throngs that pour 

Along this mighty corridor 

While the noon shines ? — the hurrying crowd 

Whose footsteps make the city loud? — 

The myriad faces, hearts that beat 

No more in the deserted street? 

Those footsteps, in their dreaming maze, 

Cross thresholds of forgotten days ; 

Those faces brighten from the years 

In rising suns long set in tears ; 

Those hearts — far in the Past they beat, 

Unheard within the Morning Street ! 

Some city of the world's gray prime, 
Lost in some desert far from Time, 
Where noiseless ages, ghding through, 
Have only sifted sand and dew, — 
Yet a mysterious hand of man 


Lying on all the haunted plan, 
The passions of the human heart 
Quickening the marble breast of Art, — 
Were not more strange, to one who first 
Upon its ghostly silence burst, 
Than this vast quiet, where the tide 
Of Life, upheaved on either side. 
Hangs trembling, ready soon to beat 
With human waves the Morning Street! 

Ay, soon the glowing morning flood 
Breaks through the charmed solitude : 
This silent stone, to music won. 
Shall murmur to the rising sun ; 
The busy place, in dust and heat, 
Shall roar with wheels and swarm with feet; 
The Arachne-threads of Purpose stream. 
Unseen, within the morning gleam ; 


The life shall move, the death be plain ; 
The bridal throng, the funeral train, 
Together, face to face, shall meet 
And pass, within the Morning Street! 



T HAVE watched you, little Guy, 

Chasing many a butterfly ; 
I have seen you, boy, by stealth 
Strive to pluck the flying wealth 
From the blossoms where it grew. 
Miracle of a moment new ; 
I have seen your reddened face, 
Radiant from the bootless chase, 
Happy-eyed, with gladness sweet 
Laugh away each late defeat ; 
I have heard your panting heart, 
Eager for another start, 



Taking newer chances fair 

For the elusive flower of air. 

I '11 not check your joyous chase, 

Calling it a useless race ; 

I will not discourage you 

With experience seeming-true ; 

I '11 not whisper, prophesying, 

That the wings are golden, flying — 

Dropping all their pretty dust 

At the touch of the sweet trust : 

— Words of warm simplicity, 

Fusing cold philosophy, 

These would light your lips and brow — 

You would chase them anyhow ! 

Chase them, fleet-foot champion, 

Lithe knight-errant of the sun ! 

Chase the sultry butterflies, 

Tropic summers in disguise ! 


Chase them, while your buoyant feet 
Take the heart's ecstatic beat, 
While your playmate is the breeze, 
While the flowers will hide the bees, 
While the birds come singing to you, 
While the sunshine gladdens through you! 
Butterflies, if caught or not, 
Thorough many a gentle spot 
They will lead — though vain the chase, 
It must be in the heaven's face : 
For they fly among the flowers. 
In bright air, through sunny hours. 
Chase them — nothing 's dead nor dying : 
Look, your butterflies are flying ! 


OO much to do, so little done! 

In sleepless eyes I saw the sun ; 
His beamless disk in darkness lay, 
The dreadful ghost of Yesterday ! 

So little done, so much to do! 
The morning shone on harvests new ; 
In eager light I wrought my way. 
And breathed the spirit of To-day ! 

So much to do, so little done ! 
The toil is past, the rest begun ; 
Though little done, and much to do, 
To-morrow Earth and Heaven are new ! 



A GIANT came to me when I was young, 
My instant will to ask — 
My earthly Servant, from the earth he sprung 
Eager for any task ! 

" What wilt thou, O my Master ? " he began ; 

"Whatever can be," I. 
" Say thy first wish — whate'er thou wilt I can," 

The Strong Slave made reply. 

"Enter the earth and bring its riches forth, 

For pearls explore the sea." 
He brought, from East and West and South and North, 

All treasures back to me ! 



" Build me a palace wherein I may dwell." 

"Awake and see it done," 
Spake his great voice at dawn. Oh, miracle 

That glitter'd in the sun ! 

" Find me the princess fit for my embrace. 

The vision of my breast ; 
For her search every clime and every race." 

My yearning arms were bless'd ! 

" Get me all knowledge." Sages with their lore, 

And poets with their songs, 
Crowded my palace halls at every door. 

In still, obedient throngs ! 

" Now bring me wisdom." Long ago he went ; 
(The cold task harder seems :) 


He did not hasten with the last content — 
The rest, meanwhile, were dreams ! 

Houseless and poor, on many a trackless road, 

Without a guide, I found 
A white-hair'd phantom, with the world his load 

Bending him to the ground ! 

" I bring thee wisdom, Master." Is it he, 

I marvel'd then, in sooth.!* 
"Thy palace-builder, beauty-seeker, see ! " 

I saw the Ghost of Youth i 


T N some old realm, we read, when war had 
The bended bow, a warlike sign, was sent 
Across the land — a summoner fierce but dumb ; 
When peace returned the bow was passed 

O sacred Land ! not many years ago 

(The symbol breathes its meaning evermore). 

Thy holy summons, came the bended bow — 
Thy fiery bearers moved from door to door. 

Then sprang thy brave from threshold and from 

hearth ; 

Their angry footsteps sounded, moving far, 



As when an earthquake moves across the earth ; 
Shone on thy hills the flame-lit tents of war. 

O tender wife, in all thy weakness stern 

With the great purpose which thy husband 
drew ; 
O mother, dreaming of thy son's return, 

Strong with the arm whose strength thy 
country knew ; 

O maiden, proud to hold a hero's name 

Close in thy prayerful silence, blameless : lo. 

Transfigured in the light of love and fame, 
They come, the bearers of the unbended bow I 



'T^O-DAY I can not choose but share 
The indolence of earth and air ; 

In dreamful languor lying, 
I see, like thistle-flowers that sail 
Adown some hazed autumnal vale, 

The Hours to Leth^ flying. 

The hour-glass twinkles in the sun ; 
Unchanged its ceaseless course is run 

Through ever-changeful weathers— 
^^ Time flies I' its motto: 'tis no crime, 
I think, to pluck the wings of Time, 

And sleep upon his feathers ! 



T T ASTE on your gentle journey, sent 
To sweetest goal flower ever went : 
Ah me, that can not follow close — 
But my heart runs before you, rose ! 

O happy rose, I envy you — 
But sweetness makes such sweet grace due: 
First to her lips one moment press'd, 
Then your long Heaven on her dear breast ! 



A TREMULOUS word, a lingering hand, the 

Of restless passion smouldering — so we part. 
Ah, slowly from the dark the world is turning 
When midnight stars shine in a heavy heart. 

The streets are lighted, and the myriad faces 

Move through the gaslight, and the homesick feet 

Pass by me, homeless ; sweet and close embraces 
Charm many a threshold— laughs and kisses sweet. 

From great hotels the stranger throng is streaming, 

The hurrying wheels in many a street are loud ; 

Within the depot, in the gaslight gleaming, 

A glare of faces, stands the waiting crowd. 

I (129) 


The whistle screams ; the wheels are rumbling slowly, 
The path before us glides into the light : 

Behind, the city sinks in silence wholly ; 
The panting engine leaps into the night. 

I seem to see each street a mystery growing, 
In mist of dreamland — vague, forgotten air : 

Does no sweet soul, awakened, feel me going ? — 
Loves no dear heart, in dreams, to keep me there ? 



P LAYING with little children on the hearth, 

An hour ago — 

With fitful mirth 
Their gentle eyes were lighted — lo! the Flame, 
Like a lithe Fairy, to their fancies came, 
Whispering whispers low ! 


All sleep. The harmless Fairy wakes and chases 
Across the floor, and from the darkness crawls, 

Clambering up the walls. 
And looks into the children's sleeping faces - 

Now through the window shines 

On the dew-burden'd vines ; 



Then, Fiend-like, leaps, 

Upon the roof I 
The city sleeps. 
It waves its myriad hands, 
And laughs and dances, a maniac lost from bands t 


The scared bells ring ! — 
All sleepers, wakening, start 

With fluttering heart ! 
Look ! the gigantic Thing 
The unimprison'd Fury, tosses high 
Bloodiest arms against the frighten'd sky. 
O'er streets that glare with men ! Midnight gives way 

To the flame-cradled day ! 
White Fear and red Confusion mingle cries : 
"Arise! arise! 


The city is in flame!" 
The hearth-born Terror keeps its hurrying march, 
The world aghast before, the clouds its victory-arch, 
(The Lar^s on their altars die, 

The wives and children fly r) 

And ashes are its fame I 



A STRANGER in the village street, 

Shines the new house in morning light- 
No quick enchantment sprung by night, 
A vision for the sun, complete, 
Like that the Arabian story shows : 
For the slow toil of hours and days, 
With steadfast hands and stalwart blows, 
Wrought with the builder's brain, to raise 
This temple, yet unconsecrate. 
Of Home and Household Deities, 
The stronghold of Domestic Peace, 

FamiUar Church and private State ! 


The builder he has watch'd it long, 
Since first the pencil-plan was made 
And the deep under-stone was laid, 
The fast foundation firm and strong, 
Through slow processes, day by day, 
While floors were fix'd and rafters huncc 
Till now— the workmen pass'd away— 
He wakes from slumber, blithe and young 
Behold, at last, his work is done — 
His house-in-air no longer dream, 
Illumined by the morning gleam, 
Transfigured by the rising sun ! 



Come at Morning — you shall see 
What a blissful company 
Enter in the open door ! 


Children, children, evermore, 
Dancing, singing, laughing, play, 
Making merry holiday — 
Happy faces, garments gay ! — 
Introducing Fairy-land, 
Back to barren desert sand 
Bringing flowers flown from earth 
The long coming-in of Birih ! 

Come at Midnight — you shall see 
What a ghostly company 
Pass from out the open door ! 
Old men, old men, evermore, 
Wrinkled, dusty, travel-spent. 
Burden-bearers bow'd and bent, 
Songless, sighing, halting:, slow, 
In funereal garments go. 
But, upon the threshold, lo ! 


Sudden children, vanish there, 
Lost in light and lifting air, 
Beautiful with blissful breath : 
The long going-forth of Death ! 



O HE pulls a rose from her rose-tree, 

Kissing its soul to him — 
Far over years, far over dreams, 
And tides of chances dim. 

He plucks from his heart a poem ; — 
A flower-sweet messenger, 

Far over years, far over dreams, 
Flutters its soul to her. 

These are the world-old lovers, 

Clasped in one twilight's gleam : 

Yet he is but a dream to her, 

And she a poet's dream. 



'TpHE Rose aloft in sunny air, 

Beloved alike by bird and bee, 
Takes for the dark Root little care, 
That toils below it ceaselessly. 

I put my question to the flower : 

" Pride of the Summer, garden queen, 

Why livest thou thy little hour?" 

And the Rose answered, " I am seen. ' 

I put my question to the Root — 
" I mine the earth content," it said, 

"A hidden miner underfoot ; 
I know a Rose is overhead." 



T STOOD at evening in the crimson air : 

The trees shook off their dusky tvvihght 
The wind took up old burdens of despair. 

And moaned like Atlas with his world of 

Like the great circle of a bronzed ring, 

That clasped the vision of the vanished day, 

I saw the vague horizon vanishing 
Around me into darkness, far away. 

Then, while the night came fast with cloudy 
Lo, all about me, rays of hearths unknown 



Sprang from the gloom with light unseen before, 
And made a warm horizon of their own. 

I sighed : " The wanderer in the desert sees 
Strange ghosts of summer lands arising, sweet 

With restless waters, green with gracious trees 
Whose shadows beckon welcome to his feet. 

" For erst, where now the desert far away 
Stretches a wilderness of hopeless sand, 

Clasping fair fields and sunburnt harvests lay 
The heavenly girdles of a fruitful land." 

I thought of a sweet mirage now no more : 
Warm windows radiant with a dancing flame — 

Dear voices heard within a happy door — 
A face that to the darkness, lighted, came. 


No hearth of mine was waiting, near or far ; 

No threshold for my coming footstep yearned 
To touch its slumber ; no warm window star, 

The tender Venus, to my longing burned. 

The darkened windows slowly lost their fire, 
But shimmered with the ghostly ember light : 

A wanderer, with old embers of desire, 
The lost horizon held me in the night. 


A LL day my nightmare in my thought I keep: 
Spell-bound, it seemed,bysome magician's charm, 

A giant slumbered on my slothful arm — 
His great, slow breathings jarred the land of sleep 
(Like far-off thunder, rumbling low and deep), 

Lifting his brawny bosom bronzed and warm ; — 

When lo! a voice shook me with stern alarm: 
" Who art thou here that dost not sow nor reap ? 

Behold the Sleeping Servant of thy Day — 
Arouse him to thy deed : if thou but break 

His slumberous spell, awake he will obey." 
I lifted up my voice and cried, " Awake !" 
And I awoke ! — my arm, unnerved, lay dead, 

A useless thing beneath my sleeping head ! 



A /r AIDEN MARIAN, born in May, 

When the earth with flowers was gay, 
And the Hours by day and night 
Wore the jewels of delight : 
Half a year has vanished by 
Like a wondrous pageantry — 
Mother May with fairy flowers, 
June with dancing leaf-crowned Hours, 
July red with harvest rust, 
Swarthy August white with dust, 
Mild September clothed in gold, 

Wise October, hermit old — 



And the world, so new and strange. 

Circled you in olden change, 

Since the miracle-morn of birth 

Made your May-day on the earth. 

Half a year, sweet child, has brought 

To your eyes the soul of thought ; 

To your lips, with cries so dumb, 

Baby-syllables have come, 

Dreams of fairy language known 

To your mother's heart alone — 

Paradisal words complete 

(To old Adam obsolete) ; 

You have learned expressions strange, 

Miracles of facial change, 

Winning gestures, supplications, 

Stamped entreaties, exhortations — 

Oratory eloquent 

Where no more is said than meant ; 


You have lived philosophies 
Older far than Socrates — 
Holiest life you 've understood 
Better than oldest wise and good : 
Such as erst in Eden's light 
Shunned not God's nor angels' sight ; 
You have caught with subtler eyes 
Close Pythagorean ties 
In the bird and in the tree, 
And in everything you see ; 
You have found and practise well 
(Moulding life of principle) 
Epicurean doctrines old 
Of the Hour's fruit of gold : 
Lifted, Moses-like you stand, 
Looking, where the Promised Land 
Dazzles far away your sight — 
Milk-and-honey's your delight ! 


Maiden Marian, born in May, 
Half a year has passed away ; 
Half a year of cannon-pealing 
(Twas your era of good feeling), 
You have scarce heard dreader sound 
Than those privateers around, 
Buzzing flies, a busy brood, 
Lovers of sweet babyhood — 
Than the hum of lullaby, 
Rocked to dreamland tenderly ; 
Half a year of dreadest sights 
Through bright days and fairy nights, 
You have seen no dreader thing 
Than the marvel of a wing. 
Than the leaves whose shadows warm 
Played in many a phantom swarm 
On the floor, the table under. 
Lighting your small face with wonder ! 


Maiden Marian, born in May, 
Half a year has passed away : 
'Tis a dark November day ; 
Lifted by our window, lo ! 
Washington is whirled in snow 1 
But, within, the fluttering flame 
Keeps you summer-warm the same, 
And your mother (while I write), 
Crimsoned by the ember light. 
Murmurs sweeter things to you 
Than I 'd write a half-year through : 
Baby-lyrics, lost to art. 
Found within a mother's heart. 

Maiden Marian, born in May, 
I '11 not question Time to-day 
For the mysteries of your morrows. 
Girlhood's joys or woman's sorrows. 
But (while — side by side, alone — 


We recall your summer flown, 
And, with eyes that cannot look, 
Hold his clasped Mystery-Book) 
I will trust when May is here 
He shall measure you a year, 
With another half-year sweet 
Make the ring of light complete : 
We will date our New- Years thence, 
Full of summer songs and sense — 
All the years begun that day 
Shall be born and die in May ! 

Washington, November ']th, 1862. 


IV /r OTHER, if I could cry from out the night 

And you could come (O tearful memory !) 
How softly close ! to soothe and comfort me, 
As when a child awakened with affright, 
My lips again, as weak and helpless quite, 
Would call you, call you, sharp and plaintively — 
Ah me ! in vain ! Your face I should not see ; 
Your voice no more would bring my darkness light. 
To this shut room, though I should wail and weep, 
You would not come to speak one brooding word 
And let its comfort warm me into sleep 
And leave me dreaming of its comfort heard : 
Though all the night to morn at last should creep, 
My cry would fail, your answer be deferred. 

November 1865. 


He holds a chrysalis aloft, infirm, 
Forgetting wings have borne away the worm. 

Look down into the Microscope, and know 

The boundless wonder in the hidden small ; 
Look up into the Telescope, and, lo ! 

The hidden greatness in the boundless all ! 


To number sunny hours by shadows, why 

Here is the dial shown, 
Where from the Sunshine of Eternity 

The Shadow, Time, has flown? 


152 BREVIA. 


{Vej'sion from the Greek Anthology^ 

Either Jove came to earth from Heaven to show 

His very self to thee, 
Or, Phidias, thou from earth to Heaven didst go, 

The god himself to see. 


The withered flower shall raise 
A ghost of vanished days : — 
From crumbled leaves a rose, 
All fragrant-souled, shall rise 
Within the heart and eyes 
Of one who, dreaming, knows 
The dust that was a rose ! 

{A Persian Fable.) 

A TRAVELLER, toiling on a weary way, 
Found in his path a piece of fragrant clay. 

BREVIA. 153 

" This seems but common earth," says he ; " but how 

Delightful ! — it is full of sweetness now ! 

— Whence is thy fragrance ? " From the clay there 

A voice, " I have been very near a rose." 

I LIFT this sumach-bough with crimson flare, 

And, touched with subtle pangs of dreamy pain, 
Through the dark wood a torch I seem to bear 

In Autumn's funeral train. 


{To M. H., on his Silver Wedditig-Day.) 

Take my warm wish for this your happy Day, — 
Sweet with spent griefs, if glad with joys unspent, 

Remembering that one happier far away; 
And let wild March bear flower of heart's-content 

1 54 BREVIA. 

For you, while the white sun, now noon-beholden, 
Sinks slow, until your Silver Day be Golden ! 


The winter day is done : 
From early morn blown over restless crowds 
Of slow-advancing clouds. 
With chilly azure-lighted intervals. 
Now, low and large beneath their lifted veil, 

Breathlessly bright, the sun 
Against the eastern distance falls, 
Reddening the far forests, empty and cold, 
Whence the dumb river draws its icy trail 
Through valley-farms the barren hills enfold. 
And on the slope, under the spark-like spire, 
The village windows shiver, all a-fire ! 


TOEHOLD, unto a monk the vision grew 

Of Him who waits for all, his loving Lord, 
Him who, all-suffering, all patience knew. 
And wore the crown of Hate for Love's 

The perfect vision of most holy light. 

The Guest of man, unto His follower dear, 

Gave (He who gave the blind his mortal sight) — 
Immortal light to see his Master near. 

Long gazed the monk ; his rapture grew the 
more : 
The Sight remained, nor grew his soul 


156 THE monk's vision OF CHRIST. 

Till in his heart a message from the poor. 
Fed by his bounty, whispered, and he went. 

His duty called, Christ's own beloved care, 
While, in his room, Christ seemed Himself 
to stay; 

But Christ was in his heart : so, keeping there 
The vision sweet, he walked his Master's way. 

He walked His way, fulfilling, as he went. 
His Master's word and unforgotten will: 

Returning — heaven-rewarded, self-content — 
Lo, the dear vision waited for him still! 

" Thy Will be done," in many a prayer before 
His heart had uttered. Lo, the Vision said 

(His Will being done who visits still the poor). 
Lowly: " Hadst thou remained, I must have 


^T^HE mist crawls over the river, 

Hiding the shore on either side, 
And, under the veiHng mist for ever, 
Neither hear we nor feel we the tide. 

But our skiff has the will of the river. 
Though nothing is seen to be passed ; 

Though the mist may hide it for ever, for ever 
The current is drawing as fast. 

The matins sweet from the far-off town 

Fill the air with their beautiful dream ; 

The vespers were hushing the twilight down 

When we lost our oars on the stream. 



T LONG for thee, O native Western Land ! 

I long for thy full rivers, moving slow 
In their old dream, that changes not but takes 
The ever-changing vision of the air ; 
I long for these, the kinsmen of my youth, 
And thy vast woodlands, murmuring weirdly stil 
Lost Indian legends, and thy prairies, where 
The bison's thunder, sinking far and vague. 
Grows loud and near, and is the hurrying train. 



/^ WEARY feet that fill the nightly air ! 

No hearts I hear, no faces see above ; — 
I feel your single yearning, everywhere, 
Moving the way of Love ! 

For ever crowding weary, one by one 

Ye pass no more through all the shadowy air ; 

The footsteps cease on thresholds dearly lone — 
Quick hearts, glad faces there ! 

There all the voices of the heart arise, 

Unheard along the darkling street before ; 
The faces light their loving lips and eyes. 

The footsteps are no more ! 



'' I ^WO ships sail on the ocean ; 

Two watchers walk the shore 
One wrings wild hands and cries, 
"Farewell for evermore." 

One sees, with face uplifted, 
(Soft homes of dream her eyes,) 

Her sail, beyond the horizon, 
Reflected in the skies ! 

[The above piece furnished Mr. George H. Boughton the sug- 
gestion for his beautiful picture, "The Two Farewells." The wood- 
cut on the opposite page is made from the large steel engraving of 
that picture.] 



1 volume. 16ino. S1.50. 

Il^e 1lo0t farm: ilaatimarfe^ ann otier 

1 volume. 16mo. $1.50. 

^oem0 of Iftou^e auD l^ome. 

1 volume. 16mo. $l.BO. 

" He is to the West, we think, what Mr, Bryant is to the East."— i2. H. 
Stoddard, in Scribner's Monthly. 

" His poems are totally unlike the products of the Atlantic coast ; they have a 
racy flavour of tlieir own, and are a positive addition to our national literature." — 
Underwood's "Handbook of English Literature." 

"He has made himself the poetic voice of Ohio."— Bayard Taylor, in New 
York Tribune, 

"That Mr. Piatt is a true and good poet, there can, we think, be no doubt, 
and tliere is a new element in his poetry, as distinguishing it from most American 
verse, which deserves special attention. This is his strong feeling for Earth, as 
opposed to the mere admiration of some phases of Earth's being. He is in full 
sympathy with all Nature, and derives his inspiration as a poet, and his true 
happiness as a man, from the actual sense of life, the simple fact that the world 
is fair and sweet." — The {London) Graphic. 

" The lovely home feeling of many of the other poems seems to hang a new 
garland on every domestic edtar."— The (Neio York) Independent. 

For sale by all Booksellers, and sent, post-xmid, on receipt of price hy 
the Publishers, 

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"Since Mrs. Browning, no woman has given a more impassioned 
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of the profoundest instincts of the womanly nature."— Tfee Library Table. 

" Her strain is as beautiful as it is singular : there is not in English 
poetry one more original, more purely the singer's own."— Springfield 
(Mass. ) Republican. 

"She has a special gift of seeing into a child's heart, and her songs to 
or about children are full of the heaven that lies about us in our infancy."— 
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