Page images
PDF
EPUB

SIMEON TUCKER CLARK.

ities, when they exist, in music and painting. His own melodious verses show so delicate a sense of both color and rhythm that they illustrate forcibly the principle alluded to, and certain quaint graces of rhyme in many of the poems recall the delightful word-music of the Minnesingers. Facility of expression, however, does not constitute Dr. Clark's sole claim to a place among our bards. Two poems peculiarly happy in this respect—"Toward Emmaus” and “ Love is Sweeter than Rest"—the latter developing a thought akin to the great Carmelite's exalted prayer-evidence what we cannot fail to remark throughout his work—that the idea is supreme, and abides with us even if the music of his verses be forgotten; and that the poet is most a Poet when singing of highest things. E. A. C.

TOWARD EMMAUS.

St. Luke, Chap. xxiv, 32. “A JOURNEYING to Emmaus; The grandest man of men with usThe Christ of God was then with us,

As we went down to Emmaus. How burned our hearts upon the way At every word we heard Him say! We never may forget the day

We journeyed down to Emmaus!"

IMEON TUCKER CLARK was born in Canton, Mass., October

10, 1836, the child of the Rev. Nathan Sears Clark and Laura S. Swift. It may well be supposed that the poetic faculty came to him by inheritance, for Mrs. Clark wrote in verse easily and well, and in very early boy hood her son began to give outward signs of the grace that was in him, a grace, we may infer, carefully watched and cultivated by his gifted mother. To love of reading the future physician joined a hearty delight in the study of natural science, this latter disposition very probably influencing his subsequent choice of the medical profession as pre-eminently a calling in which he might most usefully to his fellowmen and most honorably to himself exercise those talents with which Heaven had so bountifully blessed him. In 1860 he was graduated from the Berkshire Medical College; and sometime later Genesee College gave him an honorary degree of Master of Arts.

The year 1861 saw Doctor Clark beginning practice in Lockport, N. Y., where ever since he has devoted himself unwearyingly to the multifarious duties of his vocation-at times turning from watches at the bedside to write a paper for some learned society, or from the teacher's chair summoned to take part in the debates of the ablest thinkers in his profession; everywhere leaving the impress of his strong individuality and many-sided genius. Inclination and experience having led him to give particular attention to medico-legal studies, he was offered, -and accepted—the Professorship of Medical Jurisprudence in Niagara University, the department of medicine in that school being then in the second year of its existence. His lectures, always attended by enthusiastic classes, attract no less through the charm of the lecturer's eloquence than by reason of the subjects treated. With Dr. Clark fidelity to the requirements of his profession has not meant disloyalty to his muse: rather have those close relations with suffering humanity which it entails stimulated the creative spirit, and he has sung when inspired to sing. Many of his poems have been contributed to our best periodicals, and many more have been first published in leading newspapers, the most popular among them reappearing in various collec. tions, notably in “Waifs and their Authors,” which contains a discriminating sketch of the poet's work. It can easily be understood that a man of such broad culture must feel strongly the influence of the sister arts of music and painting. Indeed, Dr. Clark has always been, as he himself expresses it, “a firm believer in the unity of the æsthetics," and holds that the same critical faculty guiding his appreciation of what is true and beautiful in poetry enables him to discern these qual

Oh! blest disciples-chosen two-
How gladly had we walked with you
And talked of Him, who talked with you

As you went down to Emmaus!
Have touched the hand, and found it warm,
That raised the dead and stilled the storm;
Have worshipped God in human form

As He walked down to Emmaus!

But Jesus walks and talks with men
As perfectly to-day, as then,
And hearts burn now, as yours burned when

You walked with Christ to Emmaus!
In starless night or sunless day,
Whoever walks life's weary way
Forgetting not to watch and pray,

Is journeying to Emmaus.

MOTHER MUSIC.
When Eve-our fair mother-in Eden dwelt,

Ere the doughty Cain was born,
She noticed a change in the notes of the birds

As she walked in the cool of morn; “Oh! what has come into your lives bright birds?

And why is your song so sweet?

As two souls upon the boundary which divides

that world from this, Met and parted, in the melting of a first and last

fond kiss!

With a weary wail of welcome saw the little child

the day! With a song of praise triumphant passed the pa.

triarch away!

And what is this strange new joy that makes

Your happiness complete?” Then she carefully peeped in a sparrow's nest,

Where she knew four eggs were laid, And saw the very first baby-birds

That ever were hatched-not made And her heart felt a thrill so strange and wild

That she knew, when the days should bring Her fullness of joy with another's life,

She too, like the birds might sing!
And since that morn, there never has been

A mother, so voiceless, quite,
That she could not sing her own little Cain

A sleepy song for the night;
And the bearded man whose mother has gone

With the ransomed ones to rest,
Remembers the songs she softly sung

As he slept on her peaceful breast;
And the hardest heart in its tender mood

Will welcome the tear-drop's gush,
When he hears a mother sing to her babe

"Now hush thee my darling! hush !

All the same—the cradled cherub or the pulseless,

coffined clodLife and death alike are angels and the messen

gers of God.

CASSIE AND I.

1. Over the mountain road,

Watching a cloudless sky, Out in the morning air,

Ride I right royally! From my steed's bounding hoof

Rings out this roundelayGod and the beautiful

Everywhere”-all the way.

HUSKS.

He wed my sister yesterday! Ah, me!

The while he gives to her love's golden grain

He feeds me husks; but I so love the twain That I can smile and starve! It shall not be

That ever he shall hear my heart complain! But when I greeted them, he kissed me thrice,

And it did seem, from out the husks he gave
I might have gleaned one grain I so much

crave;
And so I should, but my poor lips were ice,

And love itself lost in a living grave!

A soft little emerald.tinge

On the old brown trees is seen, A promise the springtime gives

Of a glorious garb of green, And the west wind murmurs low

The lesson on every tree, Is the little joy of now

And the glory that is to be!

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

THE EASTER MOON. THE Easter full-moon rises, Lo!

It shines not with its wonted sheen; But with a dusky, ruddy glow,

Unlike the virgin queen!

Dost thou, thus clad in crimson come,

Because all holy-days will fall According to thy coming, dumb

But nightly cardinal!

Grant me, O God! the glory of gray hairs!

To sit awhile among my friends-my peers,

My passions all subdued, my foolish fears Forever flown with all earth's cumbering cares! Life's morning hours were consecrate to prayers,

So be its evening! Penitential tears

May fade the stains of more ambitious years, Before fate falls upon ine unawares! Awaiting, not expecting Death that night

My lifelong, fondest friend shall sing, or say The grand old songs, in which we both delight,

Until I sleep and sleeping pass away, Nor shall she know, though gazing on my face, When Death usurps his sister-Slumber's place.

No! Paschal moon, thy rosy flood

Of light, that falls to-night on me, Is but the shadow of the blood

Poured out on Calvary!

“LOVE IS SWEETER THAN REST." LIFE brings no burden to be borne so great,

Heaven has no rest so sweet to offer me

That I would seek repose, if it must be
Without thy love, and from thee separate.
For “love is sweeter than rest," and that estate

Is mine in thee. The fruit of every tree
May turn to ashes in my mouth: the sea

HONOR.
As to the stroke of the Woodman
Yields the bare oak, so the good man

Dies! and as falling the forest tree
Shaketh the valley and mountain,
Filleth with ripples the fountain,
So his death moveth the multitude.

-Josephine.

MAY RILEY SMITH.

IT

months ago, the responsible post of corresponding secretary of Sorosis, discharging her nervous and often irksome duties always with quiet patienc: and marked efficiency. There is no member of that large and distinguished organization more beloved and honored than she. She is also a prized member of other women's clubs, always a most acceptable speaker, with quick common sense to guide her vote, and a refreshing sense of humor, which tones into harmony the story ethical and didactic bent of her mind, with the practical and wise. Mrs. Smith's personality is marked. She is a sweet-faced blonde, dignified, refined, keenly interested in others, full of an eager delight in the success of her friends far greater than in her own, and womanly in the highest sense of that muchabused word. Men and women alike respect and love her, and there is probably not a literary woman in the land who is not proud and joyful in her success.

K. U. C.

IF WE KNEW

T is said to be the gift of genius which can take

a commonplace subject and invest it with the full charm of novelty and fresh beauty.

Thus a hackneyed love-story under the touch of Shakespeare or St. Pierre or Alfred Tennyson becomes a classic; and thus we now and then find among our singers one whose words, flowing spontaneously forth, present to us, as though we had never known them before, the old and common topics of home and motherhood, sorrow for sin, longings for a better life, and the doubts and fears and hopes familiar to every earnest soul. Among the most successful and sweet-voiced of the poets of our day in this direction is the author of His Name Shall Be Written on Their Foreheads," "Sometime,” “If," and other equally well-known verses. Wherever the English language is spoken and read, there these poeins have a foothold, for they appeal to the “universal and everlasting humanities" within us.

In contemplating the true and tender feeling which never fails to animate Mrs. May Riley Smith's work, and that indescribable charm of genius which pervades it, the literary merit which attaches to most of her lines is often lost sight of. Very many of them are polished to a high degree. Her images and phrases are original and striking, and the exquisite refinement of the artist is apparent throughout the whole. It is a source of regret to all who know and admire her work, that Mrs. Smith should have chosen to glean so continuously from so narrow a field. The essays she has made outside of this have been eminently successful, as in “The Weary Model” and “The Perfect Niche," and as she has not yet reached the zenith of her powers, it is to be hoped that she will venture still further in paths which she has hitherto seemed not to care to tread.

We gain a clue to the lack of variety and of extent in Mrs. Smith's writings, when we remember the saying that “out of the depths of anguish are born the vast majority of literary works.” Though no doubt into her life as into all human existences has entered that “intrusive guest,'

"The sullen foe Of every sweet enjoyment here below," yet surely she has had more than most mortals know, of delight. It is largely in imagination that she has borne the woes of life, and from that source that she has obtained that sympathy with grief which runs throughout her poems. Happily married in early life, enjoying every advantage of travel and of society, and with an almost ideal son, now developing into early manhood, she lives a life of great content in a beautiful home on 74th street, in New York City, surrounded by hosts of friends. She has held for years, and until a few

If we knew the baby fingers

Pressed against the window-pane Would be cold and stiff to-morrow

Never trouble us again; Would the bright eyes of our darling

Catch the frown upon our brow? Would the prints of rosy fingers

Vex us then as they do now?

Ah, these little ice-cold fingers,

How they point our memories back To the hasty words and actions

Strewn along our backward track!
How those little hands remind us,

As in snowy grace they lie,
Not to scatter thorns - but roses —

For our reaping by and by!
Strange we never prize the music

Till the sweet-voiced bird has flown; Strange that we should slight the violets

Till the lovely flowers are gone; Strange that summer skies and sunshine

Never seem one-half so fair
As when Winter's snowy pinions

Shake their white down in the air!

Lips from which the seal of silence

None but God can roll away, Never blossomed in such beauty

As adorns the mouth to-day; And sweet words that freight our memory

With their beautiful perfume, Come to us in sweeter accents

Through the portals of the tomb.

« PreviousContinue »