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Amid the splendor of emblazoned gules,
Youth has needs, I know,
-On the Threshold.
- Isabel Maynor. STARS.
The very stars
-Sunrise from the Mountains.
That till that time had never known
The current of life's undertone.
While life and love are pure and sweet
In which all hopeful fancies meet,
It were to see
said that Elizabeth wrote poetry in childhood. She kept on writing after she had passed from girlhood into womanhood. But she kept the secret of her composition to herself. After the death of her little girl she turned to literature in earnest as the only comfort of her life beside caring for her people. She no longer concealed her gifts and aspirations for authorship. She translated poems, tales and novels to learn the writer's art, of which she admitted she knew nothing. She was hard at original compositions when the Turko-Russian war broke
She and her husband did noble work in the war — the Prince in the field and the Princess in the hospital. In acknowledgment of his services, Rumania was recognized as an independent kingdom in 1881, and Charles and Elizabeth became King and Queen of Rumania.
Since the end of the war Elizabeth has been untiring in her literary activity. In 1880 the first book was published with “ Carmen Sylva" on the title page. It was a volume of poems, translated from Rumanian into German. The next year she published her first book of original poems, entitled “Stürme." I cannot here even enumerate all the books that I have described in the introduction to
' Songs of Toil." The mere enumeration would indicate the Queen's remarkable productivity. In 1882 appeared “Die Hexe" (poems), and "Jehovah” (poem); in 1883 “ Meine Ruh'" (poems); in 1884 Mein Rhein" (poems). Other poems
· Mein Buch " (poem), and a collection of poems upon Egypt, and the “ Handwerkerlieder," the second part of which has been published only in Songs of Toil." The Queen's prose writings are numerous, consisting of some fourteen publications, being of novels, stories and tales. Such is the work that this gifted woman has accomplished in less than a decade. It is amazing that one woman could have done as much, and that woman a queen upon a throne.
J. E. B.
LIZABETH, Princess of Wied, now known as
Carmen Sylva, Queen of Rumania, was born December 29, 1843, in the ancestral castle of her family at Neuwied, on the banks of the Rhine. Her childhood was passed amid influences that made her a woman long before the first bloom of youth was past. Her life was solitary. She had no other companionship than that of her invalid little brother; she did not play with boys and girls - she talked with the friends of her parents, with artists, poets and philosophers. She had duties and tasks that would have made her life a drudge, if she had not possessed imagination. This was her solace. It was her delight to dream, to let her fancy play, especially when she was at Monrepos, the family summer home, and could wander through the Westerwald and listen to the singing of the birds and the signing of the trees. She began to write poetry when a mere child. At nine years of age she read poetry, learned it, and wrote it, all with great ardor. At fourteen she wrote tragedies. She was chafing under her restraints. She said: “I cannot be gentle; I must rage." A drama of horrors was the result.
When the princess was eighteen, a series of sorrows befell her. First her invalid brother died, then her dearest friend, then her father. For several years, now, she studied, travelled and taught. She always had a strong inclination to become a teacher. When she was twenty-four years old she had about made up her mind to prepare for the examination with this end in view. Her friends wanted her to marry and said she was fit for a throne. She laughingly said to them one day that the only throne that could lure her would be the Rumanian, for in Rumania there would be a chance to accomplish some good. There was no king of Rumania at that time. But in 1866 an acquaintance of Elizabeth's was put at the head of the Rumania state, with the title of Prince Charles I, of Rumania. Her romantic acquaintance with this Hohenzollern prince is well known, - how, when a girl visiting in Berlin, she fell down a palace stair and was caught by him at the landing. Her marriage with him was less romantic. It was arranged by her mother in the German fashion. A day's courting and a month's engagement and the Princess of Wied became the Princess of Rumania. That was in November, 1869.
Elizabeth began at once to devote herself to the needs of her people. She established hospitals, schools, asylums, poor-unions, etc. It was not long before she came to be called the “Mother of her people." In 1874 she met with the greatest sorrow of her life. She lost her only child. The loss has proved the world's gain, for but for it we hould never have heard of Carmen Sylva. I have
I'm ground by grief, but the work is ill,
THE CARPENTER'S SONG.
My lot grew lighter day by day;
The children grew apace;
No palace like that place.
That once we ate dry bread ? Into our own house now we go!"
The mother, she is dead!
Her house the undertaker made,
And not the carpenter; My grace unsaid, the pastor prayed
In loud tones over her. The day that's spent with merriment,
'Mid blossoms blue and red, No music lent - my heart was rent!
The mother, she is dead.
We pulled together many a year;
Like old bird-mates were we; But who e'er thinks of dying here
While both together be ?
I care not what is said;
The mother, she is dead!
How sweet the manger smells! The cows all listen
With outstretched necks, and with impatient
And now I must deceive the darling bossy
With hand in milk must make it suck my finger.
Its tender lips cling close like joys that linger, And feel so warm with dripping white and flossy.
This very hand my people with devotion
Do kiss, which paints and plays and writes
I would it had done naught but pile the clover To feed the kine that know no base emotion!
BENEATH the mild sun vanish the vapor's last wet
traces, And for the autumn sowing the mellow soil lies
steeping; The stubble fires have faded and ended is the
reaping; The piercing plow has leveled the rough resisting
The solitary sower along the brown field paces
peeping. He sows; but all the increase accomplished by
God's grace is.
And whether frost be fatal or drought be devastat
ing, The blades rise green and slender for spring-time
winds to flutter, As time of golden harvest the coming fallawaiting. None see the silent yearnings the sower's lips
half utter, The carping care he suffers, distressing thoughts
creating With steady hand he paces afield without a mutter.
showing And how they lick their noses till they glisten!
The velvet-coated beauties do not languish
Beneath the morning's golden light that's
The unexhausted spring of life awaking, Their golden eyes of velvet full of anguish.
The island city sleeps. The twilight rideth
Guld-shod above San Marco's treasure-plunder;
As if it would enjoy this golden wonder,
They patiently endure their pains. Bestowing
Their sympathy, the other cows are ruing
Their unproductive udders and renewing At milking-time their labor and their lowing.
Along Christ's head and trembleth there and strideth
To earth where columns cut the light asunder; It gildeth, sent of God, the choir, where, under
The dome, the glory of the ages bideth.
HARRIET M. CONVERSE.
High in an attic room this decoration
In splendor wakens, where a man, deft-handed, Sets tiny bits of bright illumination
To shield his fading sight, his white locks banded With green shade. — What profits lamentation ?
The work's eternal God hath so commanded!
If only 'twere not Christmas Eve,
Nor bright other places, Nor loaded the boards I perceive,
Nor happy the faces,
And not so wretched at home,
And none of this whining And begging for bread when I come
By little cheeks pining
To-day for hunger again,
To deeply depress me! If they, who forget now my pain,
Could see it distress me!
Too listlessly come I and go;
All dirty I never Must faint in the twilight glow
But toil on forever.
COTCH by ancestry, American by birth — an
Indian by adoption! So her poems in Scotch dialect are born of an inherited tenderness for all things Scotch, from a bit of Scottish bloom, to the sublimity of Scotland's stern devotion to freedom and the wild, untamable spirit that plunged into numberless contests in defense of Scotch homeshighland and lowland. In a different key is that verse which expresses the heart, thought, and experiences of the American woman, alive to modern, intellectual activity and to the inner life hidden from ordinary apprehension. While her poems of Indian legend and belief come warm from her love of, sympathy with, and relationship to the red race so swiftly disappearing.
The history of the Maxwells, lineal descendants of the Earls of Nithsdale, is full of romance and adventure, extending to the private lives of the later representatives of the family. The grandfather of Mrs. Converse was born on the shores of County Down, Ireland, his father and mother being cast there by shipwreck, having embarked for America in 1770. After the babe was some months old they finally reached these shores, and settled in Berkley, Virginia, in 1772. In 1792 the baby Guy Maxwell was a young man, and removed to the spot now Elmira, N. Y. Of the children of Guy who became especially prominent, the father of Mrs. Converse, Thomas Maxwell, was remarkable. A man of great natural ability, he was an influential factor in a region of country where, it is yet said, "The word of a Maxwell was law." He served his locality as a Member of Congress, and occupied various important positions. He was a graceful writer, and a valued contributor to the knicker bocker Magasine. From him his daughter Harriet inherited her most prominent characteristics.
Harriet Maxwell Converse was born in Elmira, N. Y., of Thomas Maxwell and Maria Purdy his wife. Left motherless at a tender age, she was sent to Milan, Ohio, and there put to school under the eye of an aunt who there resided. Early mar. ried, she became a widow while her former companions were yet girls, and in the year 1861 she married, for her second husband, Frank B. Converse, a playmate of her childhood days. For five years after her last marriage she travelled in the United States and Europe, writing occasionally prose and verse under a pseudonym. Not until 1881 did she begin to make use of her own
wn name in print. She then set herself seriously to her work and in 1883 published her first volume, “Sheaves," which has passed through several edi. tions. Of this book Whittier wrote to its author, “ It is a sheaf in which there are no tares." The last edition contains several poems added at Mr. Whittier's suggestion.
Six children I have to relieve
How blanched are their faces! If only 'twere not Christmas Eve,
Nor bright other places!
We hammer, hammer, hammer on and on,
Day-out, day-in, throughout the year,
God's house we slowly heavenward rearWe'll never see it done!
We hammer, hammer, hammer, might and main.
The sun torments, the rain drops prick,
Our name in dust, too, fadeth quick —
We hammer, hammer, hammer ever on.
O blessed God on Heaven's throne,
And leave the toiling poor alone,