Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

How often to this treasure-box,

Tears in her eyes' soft fringes,
She came with key and turned the locks,

And on its brazen hinges
Swung back the quaintly figured lid

And raised a sandal cover,
Disclosing, under trinkets hid,

This message from her lover.

[blocks in formation]

The old man sat his cabin's sill,
His gray head bowed upon his knee,
The child went forth, sang pleasantly,
Where burst the ditch the day before,
And picked some pebbles from the hill.
The old man moaned, moaned o'er and o'er:
"My babe is dowerless, and I
Must fold my helpless hands and die!
Ah, me! what curse comes ever down
On me and mine at Shasta town!"
“Good Grandpa, see!" the glad child said,
And so leaned softly to his side,-
Laid her gold head to his gray head,
And merry-voiced and cheery cried:
“Good Grandpa, do not weep, but see!
I've found a peck of orange seeds!

Then lifting it as 't were a child,

Her hand awhile caressed it Ere to the lips that sadly smiled

Time and again she pressed it; Then drew the small inclosure out

And smoothed the wrinkled paper, Lest any line should leave a doubt

Or any word escape her.

Still held the olden charm its place

Amid the tender phrases — Time seemed unwilling to efface

The love-pervaded praises;

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

LOVE'S BLINDNESS.

In child's Chinese and grown folks' Greek, my

tables oft I said. The higher mathematics — they seem very low

to me

Now do I know that Love is blind, for I

Can see no beauty on this beauteous earth,

No life, no light, no hopefulness, no mirth, Pleasure nor purpose, when thou art not nigh. Thy absence exiles sunshine from the sky,

Seres Spring's maturity, checks Summer's birth, Leaves linnet's pipe as sad as plover's cry,

And makes me in abundance find but dearth. But when thy feet flutter the dark, and thou

With orient eyes dawnest on my distress, Suddenly sings a bird on every bough, The heavens expand, the earth grows less and

less, The ground is buoyant as the ether now,

And all looks lovely in thy loveliness. - National Review.

ALFRED AUSTIN.

I know in Heidelberg's Great Tun how many gills

might be. The thousand answers in my Book will tell you

things like those, But what you ask I cannot tell; and so, there's no

one knows." The Great Wise Man went on his way, as great and

wise men will; I fear me much that foolish child is small and

foolish still. - Wide Awake, April, 1889. ADELINE V. POND.

THE STONES OF MANHATTAN.

| TREAD the stones of Manhattan; I, who have

journeyed far From the meadow-sward and the moss-bank, and

the streamlet's pebbly bar; I, who have wandered hither, allured by the tales

they told Of how the stones of Manhattan were reeking with

ruddy gold.

In the dear old mountain woodland, where maple

and birch and pine Were linked with the swaying reaches of purple

clustered vine, Where violets blue and yellow, and crimson lilies

grew, And the hawthorn's bloom in spring-time was

studded with starry dew. Over the shelving ledges, over the granite floor, Over the bowlders and pebbles, chanting its dryad

WHAT THE GREAT WISE MAN SAID. It was a small and foolish child who met the Great

Wise Man, And opening wide his Question-Bag, 'twas thus the

child began: O, Great Wise Man, I've questions here that long

have puzzled me, And if you've answers that will fit, I'll buy me two

or three. First, can I make a new pig's ear out of my old

silk purse ? Is killing time like eating dates, or is it really

worse? Next, what do little fishes do, to keep their stockings

dry ? And, since the water is so wet, how do they ever

cry? Pray what's the fish that gives us scales where

with we weigh our words ? Could people really kill a stone, if they should use

two birds ? Then, last of all, please tell me, sir- and this is

question seven Is't raining up or raining down, when they have

rain in heaven?The Great Wise Man thought hard and fast; his

finger-ends he bit; He searched in vain his Answer-Book for answers

that would fit. At lası he said, “I know great things; when I was

very young, In nine-and-ninety languages I learned to hold

my tongue. And backwards, even when asleep, or standing

on my head,

lore,

Over its stony pathway, sang a brook with silver

tones God! what a stranger stream is roaring over Man

hattan's stones!

Dazzled by phantom fortune, I followed that brook

adown, Where its turbid waters tarried a space by the

teeming town, And on through the dreary lowland, with deeper

and darker flow, Till its dusky waves were lighted with the city's

lurid glow, Till the crystal stream was swallowed in a slug

gish, polluted tide, Till the echoing forest voices in the babel clamor

died,

Till swept like a leaf on the torrent I was whelmed

where the breakers beat, Where the seething, surging human tide flows

over Manhattan's street.

I tread the stones of Manhattan, the stones that

are hard to my feet As hard as the hearts around me, as hard as the

faces I meet. Hot is their breath in summer, with fever of selfish

greed, Cold is their touch in winter, as hearts to the hand

of need. My heel strikes fire from the flint, but the spark is

dead ere it burns Strikes fire in my angry striding, but is bruised by

the stone it spurns And echo scorns with a stony voice the cry of a

soul's despair Breathed out on the thunderous throbbings of the

city's desert air..

Oh! faithless stones of Manhattan, that tempted

my boyish feet Away from the clover-meadow, from the wind

woven waves of wheat! I thought ye a golden highway; I find ye the path

of shame, Where souls are sold for silver, and gold is the

price of fame! But my weary feet must tread ye, as slaves on the

quarry floor, And my aching brain must suffer your pitiless

uproar, Till the raving tide shall sweep above, and careless

feet shall tread On the fatal stones of Manhattan, over my dream

less bed! - The Open Court. Willis FLETCHER Johnson.

brought me a subject. Her mother, during the morning, had called her attention to an item in a newspaper, in these words: “A very aged man in an alms-house, being asked what he was doing now, replied, 'Only waiting'.” She requested me to write upon this theme and after a little further talk left me and I went to my little study, and in a short time had written the stanzas. I remember that I carried them down stairs and read them to my mother. The young lady who made the suggestion is now the wife of Prof. Marden of Colorado Springs College. Soon afterward I sent the verses to the Waterville Mail for publication and they first appeared in print in that paper, Sept. 7, 1854. It was immediately and widely copied, and for twenty years as a nameless waif found its way into numerous collections of poetry and music. Its fure ther history has not been always a peaceful one. Its authorship was elicited by the inquiries of Dr. James Martineau, of London, England. It was claimed not only by myself but by another lady, a resident of Iowa. Dr. Martineau was sufficiently interested to make a thorough investigation of the double claim. At his request I gave all the circumstances of the original writing, with the address of Mrs. Marden, who gave me the subject, also that of Mrs. Goodwin, of Boston, now a trustee of Wellesley College, who, as the friend of my girl. hood, heard the poem read before its publication. I sent a small manuscript book of verses written between the ages of twelve and twenty, in which “Only Waiting was copied at the time of its composition. The editor of the Waterville Mail furnished the date of its first publication. The other lady was sufficiently generous in furnishing statements, but failed to bring forward dates and addresses. Soon after examining all the testimony, Dr. Martineau wrote me a kind letter of thanks for the poem and expressed his entire confidence in my claim. Several other would be authors of the little hymn have appeared at intervals, the latest appearing within a few months in Pasadena, California. But there are none who attempt to prove any such ownership. The New York Independent of Jan. 24, 1874, published a history of the hymn written by the well-known hymnologist, Prof. Bird, of Lehigh University. The American Bookseller of March, 1886, published the same history with fuller details. All the later collections of poetry credit the poem to me, and it has place in my own volume,“ Legends, Lyrics and Sonnets,” published in 1883. The little hymn was written without a thought of its possible popularity but has not ceased in all these years to claim from me frequent attention.

F. L. M.

NOTES. TODHUNTER. The edition of Mr. Todhunter's poems consulted in the preparation of this study contains many MS. corrections by the author.

Ibid. The “Shan Van Vocht," or Poor Old Woman, is a popular type of Ireland. The Bodachglass (gray goblin) is a phantom appearing to the dooined.

MACE. The poem “Only Waiting" was written by me under these circumstances: In the summer of 1854 a friend and fellow contributor to the Waterville Mail, called on me one afternoon at my father's house in Bangor, Maine. Poetry, as usual, was our theme, and she remarked that she

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »