previous next

Occasional Poems


Suggested by Mrs. Stowe's tale of Uncle Tom's Cabin, and written when the characters in the tale were realities by the fireside of countless American homes.

dry the tears for holy Eva,
With the blessed angels leave her;
Of the form so soft and fair
Give to earth the tender care.

For the golden locks of Eva
Let the sunny south-land give her
Flowery pillow of repose,
Orange-bloom and budding rose.

In the better home of Eva
Let the shining ones receive her,
With the welcome-voiced psalm,
Harp of gold and waving palm!

All is light and peace with Eva;
There the darkness cometh never;
Tears are wiped, and fetters fall,
And the Lord is all in all.

[158] Weep no more for happy Eva,
Wrong and sin no more shall grieve her;
Care and pain and weariness
Lost in love so measureless.

Gentle Eva, loving Eva,
Child confessor, true believer,
Listener at the Master's knee,
‘Suffer such to come to me.’

Oh, for faith like thine, sweet Eva,
Lighting all the solemn river,
And the blessings of the poor
Wafting to the heavenly shore!


A lay of old time.

Written for the Essex County Agricultural Fair, and sung at the banquet at Newburyport, October 2, 1856.

one morning of the first sad Fall,
     Poor Adam and his bride
Sat in the shade of Eden's wall—
     But on the outer side.

She, blushing in her fig-leaf suit
     For the chaste garb of old;
He, sighing o'er his bitter fruit
     For Eden's drupes of gold.

Behind them, smiling in the morn,
     Their forfeit garden lay,
Before them, wild with rock and thorn,
     The desert stretched away.

[159] They heard the air above them fanned,
     A light step on the sward,
And lo! they saw before them stand
     The angel of the Lord!

‘Arise,’ he said, “why look behind,
     When hope is all before,
And patient hand and willing mind,
     Your loss may yet restore?

I leave with you a spell whose power
     Can make the desert glad,
And call around you fruit and flower
     As fair as Eden had.

I clothe your hands with power to lift
     The curse from off your soil;
Your very doom shall seem a gift,
     Your loss a gain through Toil.

Go, cheerful as yon humming-bees,
     To labor as to play. “
White glimmering over Eden's trees
     The angel passed away.

The pilgrims of the world went forth
     Obedient to the word,
And found where'er they tilled the earth
     A garden of the Lord!

The thorn-tree cast its evil fruit
     And blushed with plum and pear,
And seeded grass and trodden root
     Grew sweet beneath their care.

[160] We share our primal parents' fate,
     And, in our turn and day,
Look back on Eden's sworded gate
     As sad and lost as they.

But still for us his native skies
     The pitying Angel leaves,
And leads through Toil to Paradise
     New Adams and new Eves!

A song of Harvest.

For the Agricultural and Horticultural Exhibition at Amesbury and Salisbury, September 28, 1858.

this day, two hundred years ago,
     The wild grape by the river's side,
And tasteless groundnut trailing low,
     The table of the woods supplied.

Unknown the apple's red and gold,
     The blushing tint of peach and pear;
The mirror of the Powow told
     No tale of orchards ripe and rare.

Wild as the fruits he scorned to till,
     These vales the idle Indian trod;
Nor knew the glad, creative skill,
     The joy of him who toils with God.

O Painter of the fruits and flowers!
     We thank Thee for thy wise design [161]
Whereby these human hands of ours
     In Nature's garden work with Thine.

And thanks that from our daily need
     The joy of simple faith is born;
That he who smites the summer weed,
     May trust Thee for the autumn corn.

Give fools their gold, and knaves their power;
     Let fortune's bubbles rise and fall;
Who sows a field, or trains a flower,
     Or plants a tree, is more than all.

For he who blesses most is blest;
     And God and man shall own his worth
Who toils to leave as his bequest
     An added beauty to the earth.

And, soon or late, to all that sow,
     The time of harvest shall be given;
The flower shall bloom, the fruit shall grow,
     If not on earth, at last in heaven.

Kenoza Lake.

This beautiful lake in East Haverhill was the ‘Great Pond’ of the writer's boyhood. In 1859 a movement was made for improving its shores as a public park. At the opening of the park, August 31, 1859, the poem which gave it the name of Kenoza (in the Indian language signifying Pickerel) was read.

As Adam did in Paradise,
     To-day the primal right we claim:
Fair mirror of the woods and skies,
     We give to thee a name.

[162] Lake of the pickerel!—let no more
     The echoes answer back, ‘Great Pond,’
But sweet Kenoza, from thy shore
     And watching hills beyond,

Let Indian ghosts, if such there be
     Who ply unseen their shadowy lines,
Call back the ancient name to thee,
     As with the voice of pines.

The shores we trod as barefoot boys,
     The nutted woods we wandered through,
To friendship, love, and social joys
     We consecrate anew.

Here shall the tender song be sung,
     And memory's dirges soft and low,
And wit shall sparkle on the tongue,
     And mirth shall overflow,

Harmless as summer lightning plays
     From a low, hidden cloud by night,
A light to set the hills ablaze,
     But not a bolt to smite.

In sunny South and prairied West
     Are exiled hearts remembering still,
As bees their hive, as birds their nest,
     The homes of Haverhill.

They join us in our rites to-day;
     And, listening, we may hear, erelong,
From inland lake and ocean bay,
     The echoes of our song.

[163] Kenoza! o'er no sweeter lake
     Shall morning break or noon-cloud sail,—
No fairer face than thine shall take
     The sunset's golden veil.

Long be it ere the tide of trade
     Shall break with harsh-resounding din
The quiet of thy banks of shade,
     And hills that fold thee in.

Still let thy woodlands hide the hare,
     The shy loon sound his trumpet-note,
Wing-weary from his fields of air,
     The wild-goose on thee float.

Thy peace rebuke our feverish stir,
     Thy beauty our deforming strife;
Thy woods and waters minister
     The healing of their life.

And sinless Mirth, from care released,
     Behold, unawed, thy mirrored sky,
Smiling as smiled on Cana's feast
     The Master's loving eye.

And when the summer day grows dim,
     And light mists walk thy mimic sea,
Revive in us the thought of Him
     Who walked on Galilee!


For an Autumn Festival.

the Persian's flowery gifts, the shrine
     Of fruitful Ceres, charm no more;
The woven wreaths of oak and pine
     Are dust along the Isthmian shore.

But beauty hath its homage still,
     And nature holds us still in debt;
And woman's grace and household skill,
     And manhood's toil, are honored yet.

And we, to-day, amidst our flowers
     And fruits, have come to own again
The blessings of the summer hours,
     The early and the latter rain;

To see our Father's hand once more
     Reverse for us the plenteous horn
Of autumn, filled and running o'er
     With fruit, and flower, and golden corn!

Once more the liberal year laughs out
     O'er richer stores than gems or gold;
Once more with harvest-song and shout
     Is Nature's bloodless triumph told.

Our common mother rests and sings,
     Like Ruth, among her garnered sheaves;
Her lap is full of goodly things,
     Her brow is bright with autumn leaves.

[165] Oh, favors every year made new!
     Oh, gifts with rain and sunshine sent!
The bounty overruns our due,
     The fulness shames our discontent.

We shut our eyes, the flowers bloom on;
     We murmur, but the corn-ears fill,
We choose the shadow, but the sun
     That casts it shines behind us still.

God gives us with our rugged soil
     The power to make it Eden-fair,
And richer fruits to crown our toil
     Than summer-wedded islands bear.

Who murmurs at his lot to-day?
     Who scorns his native fruit and bloom?
Or sighs for dainties far away,
     Beside the bounteous board of home?

Thank Heaven, instead, that Freedom's arm
     Can change a rocky soil to gold,—
That brave and generous lives can warm
     A clime with northern ices cold.

And let these altars, wreathed with flowers
     And piled with fruits, awake again
Thanksgivings for the golden hours,
     The early and the latter rain!



The Quaker Alumni.

Read at the Friends' School Anniversary, Providence, R. I., 6th mo., 1860.

from the well-springs of Hudson, the sea-cliffs of Maine,
     Grave men, sober matrons, you gather again;
And, with hearts warmer grown as your heads grow more cool,
     Play over the old game of going to school.

All your strifes and vexations, your whims and complaints,
     (You were not saints yourselves, if the children of saints!)
All your petty self-seekings and rivalries done,
     Round the dear Alma Mater your hearts beat as one!

How widely soe'er you have strayed from the fold,
     Though your ‘thee’ has grown ‘you,’ and your drab blue and gold,
To the old friendly speech and the garb's sober form,
     Like the heart of Argyle to the tartan, you warm.

But, the first greetings over, you glance round the hall;
     Your hearts call the roll, but they answer not all:
Through the turf green above them the dead cannot hear;
     Name by name, in the silence, falls sad as a tear!

[167] In love, let us trust, they were summoned so soon
     From the morning of life, while we toil through its noon;
They were frail like ourselves, they had needs like our own,
     And they rest as we rest in God's mercy alone.

Unchanged by our changes of spirit and frame,
     Past, now, and henceforward the Lord is the same;
Though we sink in the darkness, His arms break our fall,
     And in death as in life, He is Father of all!

We are older: our footsteps, so light in the play
     Of the far-away school-time, move slower to-day;—
Here a beard touched with frost, there a bald, shining crown,
     And beneath the cap's border gray mingles with brown.

But faith should be cheerful, and trust should be glad,
     And our follies and sins, not our years, make us sad.
Should the heart closer shut as the bonnet grows prim,
     And the face grow in length as the hat grows in brim?

Life is brief, duty grave; but, with rain-folded wings,
     Of yesterday's sunshine the grateful heart sings; [168]
And we, of all others, have reason to pay
     The tribute of thanks, and rejoice on our way;

For the counsels that turned from the follies of youth;
     For the beauty of patience, the whiteness of truth;
For the wounds of rebuke, when love tempered its edge;
     For the household's restraint, and the discipline's hedge;

For the lessons of kindness vouchsafed to the Least
     Of the creatures of God, whether human or beast,
Bringing hope to the poor, lending strength to the frail,
     In the lanes of the city, the slave-hut, and jail;

For a womanhood higher and holier, by all
     Her knowledge of good, than was Eve ere her fall,—
Whose task-work of duty moves lightly as play,
     Serene as the moonlight and warm as the day;

And, yet more, for the faith which embraces the whole,
     Of the creeds of the ages the life and the soul,
Wherein letter and spirit the same channel run,
     And man has not severed what God has made one!

For a sense of the Goodness revealed everywhere,
     As sunshine impartial, and free as the air; [169]
For a trust in humanity, Heathen or Jew,
     And a hope for all darkness the Light shineth through.

Who scoffs at our birthright?—the words of the seers,
     And the songs of the bards in the twilight of years,
All the foregleams of wisdom in santon and sage,
     In prophet and priest, are our true heritage.

The Word which the reason of Plato discerned;
     The truth, as whose symbol the Mithra-fire burned;
The soul of the world which the Stoic but guessed,
     In the Light Universal the Quaker confessed!

No honors of war to our worthies belong;
     Their plain stem of life never flowered into song;
But the fountains they opened still gush by the way,
     And the world for their healing is better to-day.

He who lies where the minster's groined arches curve down
     To the tomb-crowded transept of England's renown,
The glorious essayist, by genius enthroned,
     Whose pen as a sceptre the Muses all owned,—

Who through the world's pantheon walked in his pride,
     Setting new statues up, thrusting old ones aside,
And in fiction the pencils of history dipped,
     To gild o'er or blacken each saint in his crypt,

[170] How vainly he labored to sully with blame
     The white bust of Penn, in the niche of his fame!
Self — will is self-wounding, perversity blind:
     On himself fell the stain for the Quaker designed!

For the sake of his true-hearted father before him;
     For the sake of the dear Quaker mother that bore him;
For the sake of his gifts, and the works that out-live him,
     And his brave words for freedom, we freely forgive him!

There are those who take note that our numbers are small,—
     New Gibbons who write our decline and our fall;
But the Lord of the seed-field takes care of His own,
     And the world shall yet reap what our sowers have sown.

The last of the sect to his fathers may go,
     Leaving only his coat for some Barnum to show;
But the truth will outlive him, and broaden with years,
     Till the false dies away, and the wrong disappears.

Nothing fails of its end. Out of sight sinks the stone,
     In the deep sea of time, but the circles sweep on,
Till the low-rippled murmurs along the shores run,
     And the dark and dead waters leap glad in the sun.

[171] Meanwhile shall we learn, in our ease, to forget
     To the martyrs of Truth and of Freedom our debt?—
Hide their words out of sight, like the garb that they wore,
     And for Baiclay's Apology offer one more?

Shall we fawn round the priestcraft that glutted the shears,
     And festooned the stocks with our grandfathers' ears?
Talk of Woolman's unsoundness? count Penn heterodox?
     And take Cotton Mather in place of George Fox?

Make our preachers war-chaplains? quote Scripture to take
     The hunted slave back, for Onesimus' sake?
Go to burning church-candles, and chanting in choir,
     And on the old meeting-house stick up a spire?

No! the old paths we'll keep until better are shown,
     Credit good where we find it, abroad or our own;
And while ‘Lo here’ and ‘Lo there’ the multitude call,
     Be true to ourselves, and do justice to all.

The good round about us we need not refuse,
     Nor talk of our Zion as if we were Jews;
But why shirk the badge which our fathers have worn,
     Or beg the world's pardon for having been born?

[172] We need not pray over the Pharisee's prayer,
     Nor claim that our wisdom is Benjamin's share;
Truth to us and to others is equal and one:
     Shall we bottle the free air, or hoard up the sun?

Well know we our birthright may serve but to show
     How the meanest of weeds in the richest soil grow;
But we need not disparage the good which we hold;
     Though the vessels be earthen, the treasure is gold!

Enough and too much of the sect and the name.
     What matters our label, so truth be our aim?
The creed may be wrong, but the life may be true,
     And hearts beat the same under drab coats or blue.

So the man be a man, let him worship, at will,
     In Jerusalem's courts, or on Gerizim's hill.
When she makes up her jewels, what cares yon good town
     For the Baptist of Wayland, the Quaker of Brown?

And this green, favored island, so fresh and sea-blown,
     When she counts up the worthies her annals have known,
Never waits for the pitiful gaugers of sect
     To measure her love, and mete out her respect.

Three shades at this moment seem walking her strand,
     Each with head halo-crowned, and with palms in his hand,— [173]
Wise Berkeley, grave Hopkins, and, smiling serene
     On prelate and puritan, Channing is seen.

One holy name bearing, no longer they need
     Credentials of party, and pass-words of creed:
The new song they sing hath a threefold accord,
     And they own one baptism, one faith, and one Lord!

But the golden sands run out: occasions like these
     Glide swift into shadow, like sails on the seas:
While we sport with the mosses and pebbles ashore,
     They lessen and fade, and we see them no more.

Forgive me, dear friends, if my vagrant thoughts seem
     Like a school-boy's who idles and plays with his theme.
Forgive the light measure whose changes display
     The sunshine and rain of our brief April day.

There are moments in life when the lip and the eye
     Try the question of whether to smile or to cry;
And scenes and reunions that prompt like our own
     The tender in feeling, the playful in tone.

I, who never sat down with the boys and the girls
     At the feet of your Slocums, and Cartlands, and Earles,—
By courtesy only permitted to lay
     On your festival's altar my poor gift, to-day,—

[174] I would joy in your joy: let me have a friend's part
     In the warmth of your welcome of hand and of heart,—
On your play-ground of boyhood unbend the brow's care,
     And shift the old burdens our shoulders must bear.

Long live the good School! giving out year by year
     Recruits to true manhood and womanhood dear:
Brave boys, modest maidens, in beauty sent forth,
     The living epistles and proof of its worth!

In and out let the young life as steadily flow
     As in broad Narragansett the tides come and go;
And its sons and its daughters in prairie and town
     Remember its honor, and guard its renown.

Not vainly the gift of its founder was made;
     Not prayerless the stones of its corner were laid:
The blessing of Him whom in secret they sought
     Has owned the good work which the fathers have wrought.

To Him be the glory forever! We bear
     To the Lord of the Harvest our wheat with the tare.
What we lack in our work may He find in our will,
     And winnow in mercy our good from the ill!


Our River.

For a summer Festival at ‘the laurels’ on the Merrimac.

Jean Pierre Brissot, the famous leader of the Girondist party in the French Revolution, when a young man travelled extensively in the United States. He visited the valley of the Merrimac, and speaks in terms of admiration of the view from Moulton's hill opposite Amesbury. The ‘Laurel Party’ so called, was composed of ladies and gentlemen in the lower valley of the Merrimac, and invited friends and guests in other sections of the country. Its thoroughly enjoyable annual festivals were held in the early summer on the pine-shaded, laurel-blossomed slopes of the Newbury side of the river opposite Pleasant Valley in Amesbury. The several poems called out by these gatherings are here printed in sequence.

once more on yonder laurelled height
     The summer flowers have budded;
Once more with summer's golden light
     The vales of home are flooded;
And once more, by the grace of Him
     Of every good the Giver,
We sing upon its wooded rim
     The praises of our river:

Its pines above, its waves below,
     The west-wind down it blowing,
As fair as when the young Brissot
     Beheld it seaward flowing,—
And bore its memory o'er the deep,
     To soothe a martyr's sadness,
And fresco, in his troubled sleep,
     His prison-walls with gladness.

[176] We know the world is rich with streams
     Renowned in song and story,
Whose music murmurs through our dreams
     Of human love and glory:
We know that Arno's banks are fair,
     And Rhine has castled shadows,
And, poet-tuned, the Doon and Ayr
     Go singing down their meadows.

But while, unpictured and unsung
     By painter or by poet,
Our river waits the tuneful tongue
     And cunning hand to show it,—
We only know the fond skies lean
     Above it, warm with blessing,
And the sweet soul of our Undine
     Awakes to our caressing.

No fickle sun-god holds the flocks
     That graze its shores in keeping;
No icy kiss of Dian mocks
     The youth beside it sleeping:
Our Christian river loveth most
     The beautiful and human;
The heathen streams of Naiads boast,
     But ours of man and woman.

The miner in his cabin hears
     The ripple we are hearing;
It whispers soft to homesick ears
     Around the settler's clearing:
In Sacramento's vales of corn,
     Or Santee's bloom of cotton, [177]
Our river by its valley-born
     Was never yet forgotten.

The drum rolls loud, the bugle fills
     The summer air with clangor;
The war-storm shakes the solid hills
     Beneath its tread of anger;
Young eyes that last year smiled in ours
     Now point the rifle's barrel,
And hands then stained with fruits and flowers
     Bear redder stains of quarrel.

But blue skies smile, and flowers bloom on,
     And rivers still keep flowing,
The dear God still his rain and sun
     On good and ill bestowing.
His pine-trees whisper, ‘Trust and wait!’
     His flowers are prophesying
That all we dread of change or fate
     His love is underlying.

And thou, O Mountain-born!—no more
     We ask the wise Allotter
Than for the firmness of thy shore,
     The calmness of thy water,
The cheerful lights that overlay
     Thy rugged slopes with beauty,
To match our spirits to our day
     And make a joy of duty.




Read at ‘the laurels,’ on the Merrimac, 6th month, 1865.

the roll of drums and the bugle's wailing
     Vex the air of our vales no more;
The spear is beaten to hooks of pruning,
     The share is the sword the soldier wore!

Sing soft, sing low, our lowland river,
     Under thy banks of laurel bloom;
Softly and sweet, as the hour beseemeth,
     Sing us the songs of peace and home.

Let all the tenderer voices of nature
     Temper the triumph and chasten mirth,
Full of the infinite love and pity
     For fallen martyr and darkened hearth.

But to Him who gives us beauty for ashes,
     And the oil of joy for mourning long,
Let thy hills give thanks, and all thy waters
     Break into jubilant waves of song!

Bring us the airs of hills and forests,
     The sweet aroma of birch and pine,
Give us a waft of the north-wind laden
     With sweetbrier odors and breath of kine!

Bring us the purple of mountain sunsets,
     Shadows of clouds that rake the hills,
The green repose of thy Plymouth meadows,
     The gleam and ripple of Campton rills.

[179] Lead us away in shadow and sunshine,
     Slaves of fancy, through all thy miles,
The winding ways of Pemigewasset,
     And Winnipesaukee's hundred isles.

Shatter in sunshine over thy ledges,
     Laugh in thy plunges from fall to fall;
Play with thy fringes of elms, and darken
     Under the shade of the mountain wall.

The cradle-song of thy hillside fountains
     Here in thy glory and strength repeat;
Give us a taste of thy upland music,
     Show us the dance of thy silver feet.

Into thy dutiful life of uses
     Pour the music and weave the flowers;
With the song of birds and bloom of meadows
     Lighten and gladden thy heart and ours.

Sing on! bring down, O lowland river,
     The joy of the hills to the waiting sea;
The wealth of the vales, the pomp of mountains,
     The breath of the woodlands, bear with thee.

Here, in the calm of thy seaward valley,
     Mirth and labor shall hold their truce;
Dance of water and mill of grinding,
     Both are beauty and both are use.

Type of the Northland's strength and glory,
     Pride and hope of our home and race,—
Freedom lending to rugged labor
     Tints of beauty and lines of grace.

[180] Once again, O beautiful river,
     Hear our greetings and take our thanks;
Hither we come, as Eastern pilgrims
     Throng to the Jordan's sacred banks.

For though by the Master's feet untrodden,
     Though never His word has stilled thy waves,
Well for us may thy shores be holy,
     With Christian altars and saintly graves.

And well may we own thy hint and token
     Of fairer valleys and streams than these,
Where the rivers of God are full of water,
     And full of sap are His healing trees!

‘The laurels.’

At the twentieth and last anniversary.

from these wild rocks I look to-day
     O'er leagues of dancing waves, and see
The far, low coast-line stretch away
     To where our river meets the sea.

The light wind blowing off the land
     Is burdened with old voices; through
Shut eyes I see how lip and hand
     The greeting of old days renew.

O friends whose hearts still keep their prime,
     Whose bright example warms and cheers,
Ye teach us bow to smile at Time,
     And set to music all his years!

[181] I thank you for sweet summer days,
     For pleasant memories lingering long,
For joyful meetings, fond delays,
     And ties of friendship woven strong.

As for the last time, side by side,
     You tread the paths familiar grown,
I reach across the severing tide,
     And blend my farewells with your own.

Make room, O river of our home!
     For other feet in place of ours,
And in the summers yet to come,
     Make glad another Feast of Flowers!

Hold in thy mirror, calm and deep,
     The pleasant pictures thou hast seen;
Forget thy lovers not, but keep
     Our memory like thy laurels green.

Isles of Shoals, 7th mo., 1870.

June on the Merrimac.

O dwellers in the stately towns,
     What come ye out to see?
This common earth, this common sky,
     This water flowing free?

As gayly as these kalmia flowers
     Your door-yard blossoms spring;
As sweetly as these wild-wood birds
     Your caged minstrels sing.

[182] You find but common bloom and green,
     The rippling river's rune,
The beauty which is everywhere
     Beneath the skies of June;

The Hawkswood oaks, the storm-torn plumes
     Of old pine-forest kings,
Beneath whose century-woven shade
     Deer Island's mistress sings.

And here are pictured Artichoke,
     And Curson's bowery mill;
And Pleasant Valley smiles between
     The river and the hill.

You know full well these banks of bloom,
     The upland's wavy line,
And how the sunshine tips with fire
     The needles of the pine.

Yet, like some old remembered psalm,
     Or sweet, familiar face,
Not less because of commonness
     You love the day and place.

And not in vain in this soft air
     Shall hard-strung nerves relax,
Not all in vain the o'erworn brain
     Forego its daily tax.

The lust of power, the greed of gain
     Have all the year their own;
The haunting demons well may let
     Our one bright day alone.

[183] Unheeded let the newsboy call,
     Aside the ledger lay:
The world will keep its treadmill step
     Though we fall out to-day.

The truants of life's weary school,
     Without excuse from thrift
We change for once the gains of toil
     For God's unpurchased gift.

From ceiled rooms, from silent books,
     From crowded car and town,
Dear Mother Earth, upon thy lap,
     We lay our tired heads down.

Cool, summer wind, our heated brows;
     Blue river, through the green
Of clustering pines, refresh the eyes
     Which all too much have seen.

For us these pleasant woodland ways
     Are thronged with memories old,
Have felt the grasp of friendly hands
     And heard love's story told.

A sacred presence overbroods
     The earth whereon we meet;
These winding forest-paths are trod
     By more than mortal feet.

Old friends called from us by the voice
     Which they alone could hear,
From mystery to mystery,
     From life to life, draw near.

[184] More closely for the sake of them
     Each other's hands we press;
Our voices take from them a tone
     Of deeper tenderness.

Our joy is theirs, their trust is ours,
     Alike below, above,
Or here or there, about us fold
     The arms of one great love!

We ask to-day no countersign,
     No party names we own;
Unlabelled, individual,
     We bring ourselves alone.

What cares the unconventioned wood
     For pass-words of the town?
The sound of fashion's shibboleth
     The laughing waters drown.

Here cant forgets his dreary tone,
     And care his face forlorn;
The liberal air and sunshine laugh
     The bigot's zeal to scorn.

From manhood's weary shoulder falls
     His load of selfish cares;
And woman takes her rights as flowers
     And brooks and birds take theirs.

The license of the happy woods,
     The brook's release are ours;
The freedom of the unshamed wind
     Among the glad-eyed flowers.

[185] Yet here no evil thought finds place,
     Nor foot profane comes in;
Our grove, like that of Samothrace,
     Is set apart from sin.

We walk on holy ground; above
     A sky more holy smiles;
The chant of the beatitudes
     Swells down these leafy aisles.

Thanks to the gracious Providence
     That brings us here once more;
For memories of the good behind
     And hopes of good before!

And if, unknown to us, sweet days
     Of June like this must come,
Unseen of us these laurels clothe
     The river-banks with bloom;

And these green paths must soon be trod
     By other feet than ours,
Full long may annual pilgrims come
     To keep the Feast of Flowers;

The matron be a girl once more,
     The bearded man a boy,
And we, in heaven's eternal June,
     Be glad for earthly joy!




For the Opening of Thomas Starr King's House of Worship, 1864.

The poetic and patriotic preacher, who had won fame in the East, went to California in 1860 and became a power on the Pacific coast. It was not long after the opening of the house of worship built for him that he died.

amidst these glorious works of Thine,
The solemn minarets of the pine,
And awful Shasta's icy shrine,—

Where swell Thy hymns from wave and gale,
And organ-thunders never fail,
Behind the cataract's silver veil,—

Our puny walls to Thee we raise,
Our poor reed-music sounds Thy praise:
Forgive, O Lord, our childish ways!

For, kneeling on these altar-stairs,
We urge Thee not with selfish prayers,
Nor murmur at our daily cares.

Before Thee, in an evil day,
Our country's bleeding heart we lay,
And dare not ask Thy hand to stay;

But, through the war-cloud, pray to Thee
For union, but a union free,
With peace that comes of purity!

[187] That Thou wilt bare Thy arm to save
And, smiting through this Red Sea wave,
Make broad a pathway for the slave

For us, confessing all our need,
We trust nor rite nor word nor deed,
Nor yet the broken staff of creed.

Assured alone that Thou art good
To each, as to the multitude,
Eternal Love and Fatherhood,—

Weak, sinful, blind, to Thee we kneel,
Stretch dumbly forth our hands, and feel
Our weakness is our strong appeal.

So, by these Western gates of Even
We wait to see with Thy forgiven
The opening Golden Gate of Heaven!

Suffice it now. In time to be
Shall holier altars rise to Thee,—
Thy Church our broad humanity!

White flowers of love its walls shall climb,
Soft bells of peace shall ring its chime,
Its days shall all be holy time.

A sweeter song shall then be heard,—
The music of the world's accord
Confessing Christ, the Inward Word!

[188] That song shall swell from shore to shore,
One hope, one faith, one love, restore
The seamless robe that Jesus wore.


For the House of Worship at Georgetown, Erected in memory of a Mother.

The giver of the house was the late George Peabody, of London.

thou dwellest not,O Lord of all!
     In temples which thy children raise;
Our work to thine is mean and small,
     And brief to thy eternal days.

Forgive the weakness and the pride,
     If marred thereby our gift may be,
For love, at least, has sanctified
     The altar that we rear to thee.

The heart and not the hand has wrought
     From sunken base to tower above
The image of a tender thought,
     The memory of a deathless love!

And though should never sound of speech
     Or organ echo from its wall,
Its stones would pious lessons teach,
     Its shade in benedictions fall.

Here should the dove of peace be found,
     And blessings and not curses given; [189]
Nor strife profane, nor hatred wound,
     The mingled loves of earth and heaven.

Thou, who didst soothe with dying breath
     The dear one watching by Thy cross,
Forgetful of the pains of death
     In sorrow for her mighty loss,

In memory of that tender claim,
     O Mother-born, the offering take,
And make it worthy of Thy name,
     And bless it for a mother's sake!


A Spiritual Manifestation.

Read at the President's Levee, Brown University, 29th 6th month, 1870.

to-day the plant by Williams set
     Its summer bloom discloses;
The wilding sweetbrier of his prayers
     Is crowned with cultured roses.

Once more the Island State repeats
     The lesson that he taught her,
And binds his pearl of charity
     Upon her brown-locked daughter.

Is't fancy that he watches still
     His Providence plantations?
That still the careful Founder takes
     A part on these occasions?

[190] Methinks I see that reverend form,
     Which all of us so well know:
He rises up to speak; he jogs
     The presidential elbow.

‘Good friends,’ he says, “you reap a field
     I sowed in self-denial,
For toleration had its griefs
     And charity its trial.

Great grace, as saith Sir Thomas More,
     To him must needs be given
Who heareth heresy and leaves
     The heretic to Heaven!

I hear again the snuffled tones,
     I see in dreary vision
Dyspeptic dreamers, spiritual bores,
     And prophets with a mission.

Each zealot thrust before my eyes
     His Scripture-garbled label;
All creeds were shouted in my ears
     As with the tongues of Babel.

Scourged at one cart-tail, each denied
     The hope of every other;
Each martyr shook his branded fist
     At the conscience of his brother!—

How cleft the dreary drone of man
     The shriller pipe of woman,
As Gorton led his saints elect,
     Who held all things in common!

[191] Their gay robes trailed in ditch and swamp,
     And torn by thorn and thicket,
The dancing-girls of Merry Mount
     Came dragging to my wicket.

Shrill Anabaptists, shorn of ears;
     Gray witch-wives, hobbling slowly;
And Antinomians, free of law,
     Whose very sins were holy.

Hoarse ranters, crazed Fifth Monarchists,
     Of stripes and bondage braggarts,
Pale Churchmen, with singed rubrics snatched
     From Puritanic fagots.

And last, not least, the Quakers came,
     With tongues still sore from burning,
The Bay State's dust from off their feet
     Before my threshold spurning;

A motley host, the Lord's debris,
     Faith's odds and ends together;
Well might I shrink from guests with lungs
     Tough as their breeches leather:

If, when the hangman at their heels
     Came, rope in hand to catch them,
I took the hunted outcasts in,
     I never sent to fetch them.

I fed, but spared them not a whit;
     I gave to all who walked in,
Not clams and succotash alone,
     But stronger meat of doctrine.

[192] I proved the prophets false, I pricked
     The bubble of perfection,
And clapped upon their inner light
     The snuffers of election.

And looking backward on my times,
     This credit I am taking;
I kept each sectary's dish apart,
     No spiritual chowder making.

Where now the blending signs of sect
     Would puzzle their assorter,
The dry-shod Quaker kept the land,
     The Baptist held the water.

A common coat now serves for both,
     The hat's no more a fixture;
And which was wet and which was dry,
     Who knows in such a mixture?

Well! He who fashioned Peter's dream
     To bless them all is able;
And bird and beast and creeping thing
     Make clean upon His table!

I walked by my own light; but when
     The ways of faith divided,
Was I to force unwilling feet
     To tread the path that I did?

I touched the garment-hem of truth,
     Yet saw not all its splendor;
I knew enough of doubt to feel
     For every conscience tender.

[193] God left men free of choice, as when
     His Eden-trees were planted;
Because they chose amiss, should I
     Deny the gift He granted?

So, with a common sense of need,
     Our common weakness feeling,
I left them with myself to God
     And His all-gracious dealing!

I kept His plan whose rain and sun
     To tare and wheat are given;
And if the ways to hell were free,
     I left them free to heaven! “

Take heart with us, O man of old,
     Soul-freedom's brave confessor,
So love of God and man wax strong,
     Let sect and creed be lesser.

The jarring discords of thy day
     In ours one hymn are swelling;
The wandering feet, the severed paths,
     All seek our Father's dwelling.

And slowly learns the world the truth
     That makes us all thy debtor,—
That holy life is more than rite,
     And spirit more than letter;

That they who differ pole-wide serve
     Perchance the common Master,
And other sheep He hath than they
     Who graze one narrow pasture!

[194] For truth's worst foe is he who claims
     To act as God's avenger,
And deems, beyond his sentry-beat,
     The crystal walls in danger!

Who sets for heresy his traps
     Of verbal quirk and quibble,
And weeds the garden of the Lord
     With Satan's borrowed dibble.

To-day our hearts like organ keys
     One Master's touch are feeling;
The branches of a common Vine
     Have only leaves of healing.

Co-workers, yet from varied fields,
     We share this restful nooning;
The Quaker with the Baptist here
     Believes in close communing.

Forgive, dear saint, the playful tone,
     Too light for thy deserving;
Thanks for thy generous faith in man,
     Thy trust in God unswerving.

Still echo in the hearts of men
     The words that thou hast spoken;
No forge of hell can weld again
     The fetters thou hast broken.

The pilgrim needs a pass no more
     From Roman or Genevan;
Thought-free, no ghostly tollman keeps
     Henceforth the road to Heaven!



The great fire at Chicago was on 8-10 October, 1871.

men said at vespers: ‘All is well!’
In one wild night the city fell;
Fell shrines of prayer and marts of gain
Before the fiery hurricane.

On threescore spires had sunset shone,
Where ghastly sunrise looked on none.
Men clasped each other's hands, and said:
‘The City of the West is dead!’

Brave hearts who fought, in slow retreat,
The fiends of fire from street to street,
Turned, powerless, to the blinding glare,
The dumb defiance of despair.

A sudden impulse thrilled each wire
That signalled round that sea of fire;
Swift words of cheer, warm heart-throbs came;
In tears of pity died the flame!

From East, from West, from South and North,
The messages of hope shot forth,
And, underneath the severing wave,
The world, full-handed, reached to save.

Fair seemed the old; but fairer still
The new, the dreary void shall fill
With dearer homes than those o'erthrown,
For love shall lay each corner-stone.

[196] Rise, stricken city! from thee throw
The ashen sackcloth of thy woe;
And build, as to Amphion's strain,
To songs of cheer thy walls again!

How shrivelled in thy hot distress
The primal sin of selfishness!
How instant rose, to take thy part,
The angel in the human heart!

Ah! not in vain the flames that tossed
Above thy dreadful holocaust;
The Christ again has preached through thee
The Gospel of Humanity!

Then lift once more thy towers on high,
And fret with spires the western sky,
To tell that God is yet with us,
And love is still miraculous!



Died at the Island of Panay (Philippine group), aged nineteen years.

where ceaseless Spring her garland twines,
     As sweetly shall the loved one rest,
As if beneath the whispering pines
     And maple shadows of the West.

Ye mourn, O hearts of home! for him,
     But, haply, mourn ye not alone;
For him shall far-off eyes be dim,
     And pity speak in tongues unknown.

[197] There needs no graven line to give
     The story of his blameless youth;
All hearts shall throb intuitive,
     And nature guess the simple truth.

The very meaning of his name
     Shall many a tender tribute win;
The stranger own his sacred claim,
     And all the world shall be his kin.

And there, as here, on main and isle,
     The dews of holy peace shall fall,
The same sweet heavens above him smile,
     And God's dear love be over all!


The golden Wedding of Longwood.

Longwood, not far from Bayard Taylor's birthplace in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, was the home of my esteemed friends John and Hannah Cox, whose golden wedding was celebrated in 1874.

with fifty years between you and your well-kept wedding vow,
The Golden Age, old friends of mine, is not a fable now.

And, sweet as has life's vintage been through all your pleasant past,
Still, as at Cana's marriage-feast, the best wine is the last!

Again before me, with your names, fair Chester's landscape comes,
Its meadows, woods, and ample barns, and quaint, stone-builded homes.

[198] The smooth-shorn vales, the wheaten slopes, the boscage green and soft,
Of which their poet sings so well from towered Cedarcroft.

And lo! from all the country-side come neighbors, kith and kin;
From city, hamlet, farm-house old, the wedding guests come in.

And they who, without scrip or purse, mob-hunted, travel-worn,
In Freedom's age of martyrs came, as victors now return.

Older and slower, yet the same, files in the long array,
And hearts are light and eyes are glad, though heads are badger-gray.

The fire-tried men of Thirty-eight who saw with me the fall,
Midst roaring flames and shouting mob, of Pennsylvania Hall;

And they of Lancaster who turned the cheeks of tyrants pale,
Singing of freedom through the grates of Moyamensing jail!

And haply with them, all unseen, old comrades, gone before,
Pass, silently as shadows pass, within your open door,—

[199] The eagle face of Lindley Coates, brave Garrett's daring zeal,
The Christian grace of Pennock, the steadfast heart of Neal.

Ah me! beyond all power to name, the worthies tried and true,
Grave men, fair women, youth and maid, pass by in hushed review.

Of varying faiths, a common cause fused all their hearts in one.
God give them now, whate'er their names, the peace of duty done!

How gladly would I tread again the old-remembered places,
Sit down beside your hearth once more and look in the dear old faces!

And thank you for the lessons your fifty years are teaching,
For honest lives; that louder speak than half our noisy preaching;

For your steady faith and courage in that dark and evil time,
When the Golden Rule was treason, and to feed the hungry, crime;

For the poor slave's house of refuge when the hounds were on his track,
And saint and sinner, church and state, joined hands to send him back.

[200] Blessings upon you!—What you did for each sad, suffering one,
So homeless, faint, and naked, unto our Lord was done!

Fair fall on Kennett's pleasant vales and Long wood's bowery ways
The mellow sunset of your lives, friends of my early days.

May many more of quiet years be added to your sum,
And, late at last, in tenderest love, the beckoning angel come.

Dear hearts are here, dear hearts are there, alike below, above;
Our friends are now in either world, and love is sure of love.



For the Opening of Plymouth Church, St. Paul, Minnesota.

all things are Thine: no gift have we,
Lord of all gifts, to offer Thee;
And hence with grateful hearts to-day,
Thy own before Thy feet we lay.

Thy will was in the builders' thought;
Thy hand unseen amidst us wrought;
Through mortal motive, scheme and plan,
Thy wise eternal purpose raim.

[201] No lack Thy perfect fulness knew;
For human needs and longings grew
This house of prayer, this home of rest,
In the fair garden of the West.

In weakness and in want we call
On Thee for whom the heavens are small;
Thy glory is Thy children's good,
Thy joy Thy tender Fatherhood.

O Father! deign these walls to bless,
Fill with Thy love their emptiness,
And let their door a gateway be
To lead us from ourselves to Thee!




No Berserk thirst of blood had they,
     No battle-joy was theirs, who set
Against the alien bayonet
     Their homespun breasts in that old day.

Their feet had trodden peaceful ways;
     They loved not strife, they dreaded pain;
They saw not, what to us is plain,
     That God would make man's wrath his praise.

No seers were they, but simple men;
     Its vast results the future hid:
The meaning of the work they did
     Was strange and dark and doubtful then.

[202] Swift as their summons came they left
     The plough mid-furrow standing still,
The half-ground corn grist in the mill,
     The spade in earth, the axe in cleft.

They went where duty seemed to call,
     They scarcely asked the reason why;
They only knew they could but die,
     And death was not the worst of all!

Of man for man the sacrifice,
     All that was theirs to give, they gave.
The flowers that blossomed from their grave
     Have sown themselves beneath all skies.

Their death-shot shook the feudal tower,
     And shattered slavery's chain as well;
On the sky's dome, as on a bell,
     Its echo struck the world's great hour.

That fateful echo is not dumb:
     The nations listening to its sound
Wait, from a century's vantage-ground,
     The holier triumphs yet to come,—

The bridal time of Law and Love,
     The gladness of the world's release,
When, war-sick, at the feet of Peace
     The hawk shall nestle with the dove!—

The golden age of brotherhood
     Unknown to other rivalries
Than of the mild humanities,
     And gracious interchange of good,

[203] When closer strand shall lean to strand,
     Till meet, beneath saluting flags,
The eagle of our mountain-crags,
     The lion of our Motherland!


The Library.

Sung at the opening of the Haverhill Library, November 11, 1875.

‘let there be light!’ God spake of old,
And over chaos dark and cold,
And through the dead and formless frame
Of nature, life and order came.

Faint was the light at first that shone
On giant fern and mastodon,
On half-formed plant and beast of prey,
And man as rude and wild as they.

Age after age, like waves, o'erran
The earth, uplifting brute and man;
And mind, at length, in symbols dark
Its meanings traced on stone and bark.

On leaf of palm, on sedge-wrought roll,
On plastic clay, and leathern scroll,
Man wrote his thoughts; the ages passed,
And lo! the Press was found at last!

Then dead souls woke; the thoughts of men
Whose bones were dust revived again;
The cloister's silence found a tongue,
Old prophets spake, old poets sung.

[204] And here, to-day, the dead look down,
The kings of mind again we crown;
We hear the voices lost so long,
The sage's word, the sibyl's song.

Here Greek and Roman find themselves
Alive along these crowded shelves;
And Shakespeare treads again his stage,
And Chaucer paints anew his age.

As if some Pantheon's marbles broke
Their stony trance, and lived and spoke,
Life thrills along the alcoved hall,
The lords of thought await our call!

‘I was A stranger, and ye took me in.’

An incident in St. Augustine, Florida.

Neath skies that winter never knew
     The air was full of light and balm,
And warm and soft the Gulf wind blew
     Through orange bloom and groves of palm.

A stranger from the frozen North,
     Who sought the fount of health in vain,
Sank homeless on the alien earth,
     And breathed the languid air with pain.

God's angel came! The tender shade
     Of pity made her blue eye dim;
Against her woman's breast she laid
     The drooping, fainting head of him.

[205] She bore him to a pleasant room,
     Flower-sweet and cool with salt sea air,
And watched beside his bed, for whom
     His far-off sisters might not care.

She fanned his feverish brow and smoothed
     Its lines of pain with tenderest touch.
With holy hymn and prayer she soothed
     The trembling soul that feared so much.

Through her the peace that passeth sight
     Came to him, as he lapsed away
As one whose troubled dreams of night
     Slide slowly into tranquil day.

The sweetness of the Land of Flowers
     Upon his lonely grave she laid:
The jasmine dropped its golden showers,
     The orange lent its bloom and shade.

And something whispered in her thought,
     More sweet than mortal voices be:
“The service thou for him hast wrought
     O daughter! hath been done for me.”


Centennial Hymn.

Written for the opening of the International Exhibition, Philadelphia, May 10, 1876. The music for the hymn was written by John K. Paine, and may be found in The Atlantic Monthly for June, 1876.


our fathers' God! from out whose hand
     The centuries fall like grains of sand, [206]
We meet to-day, united, free,
     And loyal to our land and Thee,
To thank Thee for the era done,
     And trust Thee for the opening one.


Here, where of old, by Thy design,
     The fathers spake that word of Thine
Whose echo is the glad refrain
     Of rended bolt and falling chain,
To grace our festal time, from all
     The zones of earth our guests we call.


Be with us while the New World greets
     The Old World thronging all its streets,
Unveiling all the triumphs won
     By art or toil beneath the sun;
And unto common good ordain
     This rivalship of hand and brain.


Thou, who hast here in concord furled
     The war flags of a gathered world,
Beneath our Western skies fulfil
     The Orient's mission of good-will,
And, freighted with love's Golden Fleece,
     Send back its Argonauts of peace.


For art and labor met in truce,
     For beauty made the bride of use,
We thank Thee; but, withal, we crave
     The austere virtues strong to save, [207]
The honor proof to place or gold,
     The manhood never bought nor sold!


Oh make Thou us, through centuries long,
     In peace secure, in justice strong;
Around our gift of freedom draw
     The safeguards of Thy righteous law:
And, cast in some diviner mould,
     Let the new cycle shame the old!

At School-close.

Bowdoin Street, Boston, 1877.

the end has come, as come it must
     To all things; in these sweet June days
The teacher and the scholar trust
     Their parting feet to separate ways.

They part: but in the years to be
     Shall pleasant memories cling to each,
As shells bear inland from the sea
     The murmur of the rhythmic beach.

One knew the joy the sculptor knows
     When, plastic to his lightest touch,
His clay-wrought model slowly grows
     To that fine grace desired so much.

So daily grew before her eyes
     The living shapes whereon she wrought, [208]
Strong, tender, innocently wise,
     The child's heart with the woman's thought.

And one shall never quite forget
     The voice that called from dream and play,
The firm but kindly hand that set
     Her feet in learning's pleasant way,—

The joy of Undine soul-possessed,
     The wakening sense, the strange delight
That swelled the fabled statue's breast
     And filled its clouded eyes with sight!

O Youth and Beauty, loved of all!
     Ye pass from girlhood's gate of dreams;
In broader ways your footsteps fall,
     Ye test the truth of all that seems.

Her little realm the teacher leaves,
     She breaks her wand of power apart,
While, for your love and trust. she gives
     The warm thanks of a grateful heart.

Hers is the sober summer noon
     Contrasted with your morn of spring,—
The waning with the waxing moon,
     The folded with the outspread wing.

Across the distance of the years
     She sends her God-speed back to you;
She has no thought of doubts or fears:
     Be but yourselves, be pure, be true,

[209] And prompt in duty; heed the deep,
     Low voice of conscience; through the ill
And discord round about you, keep
     Your faith in human nature still.

Be gentle: unto griefs and needs,
     Be pitiful as woman should,
And, spite of all the lies of creeds,
     Hold fast the truth that God is good.

Give and receive; go forth and bless
     The world that needs the hand and heart
Of Martha's helpful carefulness
     No less than Mary's better part.

So shall the stream of time flow by
     And leave each year a richer good,
And matron loveliness outvie
     The nameless charm of maidenhood.

And, when the world shall link your names
     With gracious lives and manners fine,
The teacher shall assert her claims,
     And proudly whisper, ‘These were mine!’

Hymn of the children.

Sung at the anniversary of the children's mission, Boston, 1878.

thine are all the gifts, O God!
     Thine the broken bread;
Let the naked feet be shod,
     And the starving fed.

[210] Let Thy children, by Thy grace,
     Give as they abound,
Till the poor have breathing-space,
     And the lost are found.

Wiser than the miser's hoards
     Is the giver's choice;
Sweeter than the song of birds
     Is the thankful voice.

Welcome smiles on faces sad
     As the flowers of spring;
Let the tender hearts be glad
     With the joy they bring.

Happier for their pity's sake
     Make their sports and plays,
And from lips of childhood take
     Thy perfected praise!

The Landmarks.

This poem was read at a meeting of citizens of Boston having for its object the preservation of the Old South Church famous in Colonial and Revolutionary history.


through the streets of Marblehead
Fast the red-winged terror sped;

Blasting, withering, on it came,
With its hundred tongues of flame,

[211] Where St. Michael's on its way
Stood like chained Andromeda,

Waiting on the rock, like her,
Swift doom or deliverer!

Church that, after sea-moss grew
Over walls no longer new,

Counted generations five,
Four entombed and one alive;

Heard the martial thousand tread
Battleward from Marblehead;

Saw within the rock-walled bay
Treville's lilied pennons play,

And the fisher's dory met
By the barge of Lafayette,

Telling good news in advance
Of the coming fleet of France!

Church to reverend memories dear,
Quaint in desk and chandelier;

Bell, whose century-rusted tongue
Burials tolled and bridals rung;

Loft, whose tiny organ kept
Keys that Snetzler's hand had swept;

[212] Altar, o'er whose tablet old
Sinai's law its thunders rolled!

Suddenly the sharp cry came:
‘Look! St. Michael's is aflame!’

Round the low tower wall the fire
Snake-like wound its coil of ire.

Sacred in its gray respect
From the jealousies of sect,

‘Save it,’ seemed the thought of all,
‘Save it, though our roof-trees fall!’

Up the tower the young men sprung;
One, the bravest, outward swung

By the rope, whose kindling strands
Smoked beneath the holder's hands,

Smiting down with strokes of power
Burning fragments from the tower.

Then the gazing crowd beneath
Broke the painful pause of breath;

Brave men cheered from street to street,
With home's ashes at their feet;

Houseless women kerchiefs waved:
‘Thank the Lord! St. Michael's saved!’



In the heart of Boston town
Stands the church of old renown,

From whose walls the impulse went
Which set free a continent;

From whose pulpit's oracle
Prophecies of freedom fell;

And whose steeple-rocking din
Rang the nation's birth-day in!

Standing at this very hour
Perilled like St. Michael's tower,

Held not in the clasp of flame,
But by mammon's grasping claim.

Shall it be of Boston said
She is shamed by Marblehead?

City of our pride! as there,
Hast thou none to do and dare?

Life was risked for Michael's shrine;
Shall not wealth be staked for thine?

Woe to thee, when men shall search
Vainly for the Old South Church;

When from Neck to Boston Stone,
All thy pride of place is gone;

[214] When from Bay and railroad car,
Stretched before them wide and far,

Men shall only see a great
Wilderness of brick and slate,

Every holy spot o'erlaid
By the commonplace of trade!

City of our love! to thee
Duty is but destiny.

True to all thy record saith,
Keep with thy traditions faith;

Ere occasion's overpast,
Hold its flowing forelock fast;

Honor still the precedents
Of a grand munificence;

In thy old historic way
Give, as thou didst yesterday

At the South-land's call, or on
Need's demand from fired St. John.

Set thy Church's muffled bell
Free the generous deed to tell.

Let thy loyal hearts rejoice
In the glad, sonorous voice,

[215] Ringing from the brazen mouth
Of the bell of the Old South,—

Ringing clearly, with a will,
‘What she was is Boston still!’



A hymn for the American Horticultural Society, 1882.

O Painter of the fruits and flowers,
     We own Thy wise design,
Whereby these human hands of ours
     May share the work of Thine!

Apart from Thee we plant in vain
     The root and sow the seed;
Thy early and Thy later rain,
     Thy sun and dew we need.

Our toil is sweet with thankfulness,
     Our burden is our boon;
The curse of Earth's gray morning is
     The blessing of its noon.

Why search the wide world everywhere
     For Eden's unknown ground?
That garden of the primal pair
     May nevermore be found.

But, blest by Thee, our patient toil
     May right the ancient wrong, [216]
And give to every clime and soil
     The beauty lost so long.

Our homestead flowers and fruited trees
     May Eden's orchard shame;
We taste the tempting sweets of these
     Like Eve, without her blame.

And, North and South and East and West,
     The pride of every zone,
The fairest, rarest, and the best
     May all be made our own.

Its earliest shrines the young world sought
     In hill-groves and in bowers,
The fittest offerings thither brought
     Were Thy own fruits and flowers.

And still with reverent hands we cull
     Thy gifts each year renewed;
The good is always beautiful,
     The beautiful is good.

A greeting.

Read at Harriet Beecher Stowe's seventieth anniversary, June 14, 1882, at a garden party at ex-Governor Claflin's in Newtonville, Mass.

thrice welcome from the Land of Flowers
And golden-fruited orange bowers
To this sweet, green-turfed June of ours!
To her who, in our evil time,
Dragged into light the nation's crime [217]
With strength beyond the strength of men,
And, mightier than their swords, her pen!
To her who world-wide entrance gave
To the log-cabin of the slave;
Made all his wrongs and sorrows known,
And all earth's languages his own,—
North, South, and East and West, made all
The common air electrical,
Until the o'ercharged bolts of heaven
Blazed down, and every chain was riven!

Welcome from each and all to her
Whose Wooing of the Minister
Revealed the warm heart of the man
Beneath the creed-bound Puritan,
And taught the kinship of the love
Of man below and God above;
To her whose vigorous pencil-strokes
Sketched into life her Oldtown Folks;
Whose fireside stories, grave or gay,
In quaint Sam Lawson's vagrant way,
With old New England's flavor rife,
Waifs from her rude idyllic life,
Are racy as the legends old
By Chaucer or Boccaccio told;
To her who keeps, through change of place
And time, her native strength and grace,
Alike where warm Sorrento smiles,
Or where, by birchen-shaded isles,
Whose summer winds have shivered o'er
The icy drift of Labrador,
She lifts to light the priceless Pearl
Of Harpswell's angel-beckoned girl! [218]
To her at threescore years and ten
Be tributes of the tongue and pen;
Be honor, praise, and heart-thanks given,
The loves of earth, the hopes of heaven!

Ah, dearer than the praise that stirs
The air to-day, our love is hers!
She needs no guaranty of fame
Whose own is linked with Freedom's name.
Long ages after ours shall keep
Her memory living while we sleep;
The waves that wash our gray coast lines,
The winds that rock the Southern pines,
Shall sing of her; the unending years
Shall tell her tale in unborn ears.
And when, with sins and follies past,
Are numbered color-hate and caste,
White, black, and red shall own as one
The noblest work by woman done.


Written on the occasion of a voyage made by my friends Annie Fields and Sarah Orne Jewett.

Outbound, your bark awaits you. Were I one
     Whose prayer availeth much, my wish should be
Your favoring trade-wind and consenting sea.
     By sail or steed was never love outrun,
And, here or there, love follows her in whom
     All graces and sweet charities unite,
The old Greek beauty set in holier light; [219]
     And her for whom New England's byways bloom,
Who walks among us welcome as the Spring,
     Calling up blossoms where her light feet stray.
God keep you both, make beautiful your way,
     Comfort, console, and bless; and safely bring,
Ere yet I make upon a vaster sea
     The unreturning voyage, my friends to me.


Winter roses.

In reply to a flower gift from Mrs. Putnam's school at Jamaica Plain.

my garden roses long ago
     Have perished from the leaf-strewn walks;
Their pale, fair sisters smile no more
     Upon the sweet-brier stalks.

Gone with the flower-time of my life,
     Spring's violets, summer's blooming pride,
And Nature's winter and my own
     Stand, flowerless, side by side.

So might I yesterday have sung;
     To-day, in bleak December's noon,
Come sweetest fragrance, shapes, and hues,
     The rosy wealth of June!

Bless the young hands that culled the gift,
     And bless the hearts that prompted it;
If undeserved it comes, at least
     It seems not all unfit.

[220] Of old my Quaker ancestors
     Had gifts of forty stripes save one;
To-day as many roses crown
     The gray head of their son.

And with them, to my fancy's eye,
     The fresh-faced givers smiling come,
And nine and thirty happy girls
     Make glad a lonely room.

They bring the atmosphere of youth;
     The light and warmth of long ago
Are in my heart, and on my cheek
     The airs of morning blow.

O buds of girlhood, yet unblown,
     And fairer than the gift ye chose;
For you may years like leaves unfold
     The heart of Sharon's rose!


The Reunion.

Read September 10, 1885, to the surviving students of Haverhill Academy in 1827-1830.

the gulf of seven and fifty years
     We stretch our welcoming hands across;
The distance but a pebble's toss
     Between us and our youth appears.

For in life's school we linger on
     The remnant of a once full list;
Conning our lessons, undismissed,
     With faces to the setting sun.

[221] And some have gone the unknown way,
     And some await the call to rest;
Who knoweth whether it is best
     For those who went or those who stay?

And yet despite of loss and ill,
     If faith and love and hope remain,
Our length of days is not in vain,
     And life is well worth living still.

Still to a gracious Providence
     The thanks of grateful hearts are due,
For blessings when our lives were new,
     For all the good vouchsafed us since.

The pain that spared us sorer hurt,
     The wish denied, the purpose crossed,
And pleasure's fond occasions lost,
     Were mercies to our small desert.

Tis something that we wander back,
     Gray pilgrims, to our ancient ways,
And tender memories of old days
     Walk with us by the Merrimac;

That even in life's afternoon
     A sense of youth comes back again,
As through this cool September rain
     The still green woodlands dream of June.

The eyes grown dim to present things
     Have keener sight for bygone years,
And sweet and clear, in deafening ears,
     The bird that sang at morning sings.

[222] Dear comrades, scattered wide and far,
     Send from their homes their kindly word,
And dearer ones, unseen, unheard,
     Smile on us from some heavenly star.

For life and death with God are one,
     Unchanged by seeming change His care
And love are round us here and there;
     He breaks no thread His hand has spun.

Soul touches soul, the muster roll
     Of life eternal has no gaps;
And after half a century's lapse
     Our school-day ranks are closed and whole.

Hail and farewell! We go our way;
     Where shadows end, we trust in light;
The star that ushers in the night
     Is herald also of the day!

Norumbega Hall.

Norumbega Hall at Wellesley College, named in honor of Eben Norton Horsford, who has been one of the most munificent patrons of that noble institution, and who had just published an essay claiming the discovery of the site of the somewhat mythical city of Norumbega, was opened with appropriate ceremonies, in April, 1886. The following sonnet was written for the occasion, and was read by President Alice E. Freeman, to whom it was addressed.

not on Penobscot's wooded bank the spires
Of the sought City rose, nor yet beside
The winding Charles, nor where the daily tide
Of Naumkeag's haven rises and retires, [223]
The vision tarried; but somewhere we knew
The beautiful gates must open to our quest,
Somewhere that marvellous City of the West
Would lift its towers and palace domes in view,
And, lo! at last its mystery is made known—
Its only dwellers maidens fair and young,
Its Princess such as England's Laureate sung;
And safe from capture, save by love alone,
It lends its beauty to the lake's green shore,
And Norumbega is a myth no more.

The Bartholdi Statue.


the land, that, from the rule of kings,
     In freeing us, itself made free,
Our Old World Sister, to us brings
     Her sculptured Dream of Liberty:

Unlike the shapes on Egypt's sands
     Uplifted by the toil-worn slave,
On Freedom's soil with freemen's hands
     We rear the symbol free hands gave.

O France, the beautiful! to thee
     Once more a debt of love we owe:
In peace beneath thy Colors Three,
     We hail a later Rochambeau!

Rise, stately Symbol! holding forth
     Thy light and hope to all who sit
In chains and darkness! Belt the earth
     With watch-fires from thy torch uplit!

[224] Reveal the primal mandate still
     Which Chaos heard and ceased to be,
Trace on mid-air th' Eternal Will
     In signs of fire: ‘Let man be free!’

Shine far, shine free, a guiding light
     To Reason's ways and Virtue's aim,
A lightning-flash the wretch to smite
     Who shields his license with thy name!

One of the Signers.

Written for the unveiling of the statue of Josiah Bartlett at Amesbury, Mass., July 4, 1888. Governor Bartlett, who was a native of the town, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Amesbury or Ambresbury, so called from the ‘anointed stones’ of the great Druidical temple near it, was the seat of one of the earliest religious houses in Britain. The tradition that the guilty wife of King Arthur fled thither for protection forms one of the finest passages in Tennyson's Idyls of the King.

O storied vale of Merrimac
     Rejoice through all thy shade and shine,
And from his century's sleep call back
     A brave and honored son of thine.

Unveil his effigy between
     The living and the dead to-day;
The fathers of the Old Thirteen
     Shall witness bear as spirits may.

Unseen, unheard, his gray compeers
     The shades of Lee and Jefferson,
Wise Franklin reverend with his years
     And Carroll, lord of Carrollton!

[225] Be thine henceforth a pride of place
     Beyond thy namesake's over-sea,
Where scarce a stone is left to trace
     The Holy House of Amesbury.

A prouder memory lingers round
     The birthplace of thy true man here
Than that which haunts the refuge found
     By Arthur's mythic Guinevere.

The plain deal table where he sat
     And signed a nation's title-deed
Is dearer now to fame than that
     Which bore the scroll of Runnymedee

Long as, on Freedom's natal morn,
     Shall ring the Independence bells,
Give to thy dwellers yet unborn
     The lesson which his image tells.

For in that hour of Destiny,
     Which tried the men of bravest stock,
He knew the end alone must be
     A free land or a traitor's block.

Among those picked and chosen men
     Than his, who here first drew his breath,
No firmer fingers held the pen
     Which wrote for liberty or death.

Not for their hearths and homes alone,
     But for the world their work was done;
On all the winds their thought has flown
     Through all the circuit of the sun.

[226] We trace its flight by broken chains,
     By songs of grateful Labor still;
To-day, in all her holy fanes,
     It rings the bells of freed Brazil.

O hills that watched his boyhood's home,
     O earth and air that nursed him, give,
In this memorial semblance, room
     To him who shall its bronze outlive!

And thou, O Land he loved, rejoice
     That in the countless years to come,
Whenever Freedom needs a voice,
     These sculptured lips shall not be dumb!

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Amesbury (Massachusetts, United States) (6)
Eden (Georgia, United States) (5)
Saint Michael (Pennsylvania, United States) (4)
Quaker (Missouri, United States) (3)
Marblehead (Massachusetts, United States) (3)
Providence, R. I. (Rhode Island, United States) (2)
Pleasant Valley (Maryland, United States) (2)
Norumbega (Maine, United States) (2)
New England (United States) (2)
Longwood (Missouri, United States) (2)
France (France) (2)
Chicago (Illinois, United States) (2)
United States (United States) (1)
Time (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)
St. Paul (Minnesota, United States) (1)
St. Augustine (Florida, United States) (1)
Sorrento (Ohio, United States) (1)
Sinai (Mississippi, United States) (1)
Shasta City (California, United States) (1)
Sharon (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
Salem (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
Sacramento City (Missouri, United States) (1)
Puritan (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)
Penobscot (Maine, United States) (1)
Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)
Newtonville (Mississippi, United States) (1)
Newburyport (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
Narragansett (Rhode Island, United States) (1)
Maine (Maine, United States) (1)
Lancaster (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)
Labrador (Canada) (1)
Kitchener (Canada) (1)
Kingville (South Carolina, United States) (1)
Kenoza Lake (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
Kennett Square (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)
Jamaica Plain (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
Haverhill (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
Essex (United Kingdom) (1)
Deer Island (Canada) (1)
Chester, S. C. (South Carolina, United States) (1)
Carrollton, La. (Louisiana, United States) (1)
Cana (South Carolina, United States) (1)
Cana (North Carolina, United States) (1)
Campton (New Hampshire, United States) (1)
California (California, United States) (1)
Brazil, Clay County, Indiana (Indiana, United States) (1)
Accomack (Massachusetts, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: