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ROBERT BURNS WILSON.
OBERT BURNS WILSON was born near Wash
father, but the family removed within a few months to West Virginia, where his childhood was passed. His mother, from whom he, in a measure, inherited his genius, and who seems to have been the ideal mother of a poet and painter, was his inseparable companion; and her death, by consumption, when he was only ten years old, was a bitter grief to the sensitive child, and changed his whole life.
His affections were with the woods and fields, and when, a few years later, he was sent to Wheeling to school he felt so keenly the change from these beloved companions to the brick and mortar, smoke and dust of a city, that to this day, he says, the sound of bells, usually so suggestive to a poetic mind, is disagreeable to him from association with those first months of misery. After some years at school in Wheeling, and afterwards in Pittsburgh, he settled in the latter place, when about nineteen years old, to begin his artistic labors. Although he had been drawing all his life, his first professional effort was a life-size crayon portrait, which proved a complete success.
About fourteen years ago he embarked with a friend on a canoe voyage down the Ohio River. After some weeks of this adventure, they found themselves one morning stranded in a strange land, near Caseyville, Ky., with their boat and all their belongings stolen. In this unfortunate state of affairs the friend returned to the East, and Mr. Wilson, after some hesitation, cast in his lot with Kentucky. He went first to Louisville for a year or two, where he pursued his profession as a painter, gaining much reputation, also, by a crayon likeness of Mr. Watterson, editor of the Courier-Journal.
About twelve years ago he went to Frankfort, Ky., on the invitation of a friend, and was so pleased with its beautiful and romantic surroundings that he has ever since made it his home. He painted a good many portraits in oil and watercolors for the first few years, much to the satisfaction of the subjects. But the sister spirit of poetry in his nature struggled for utterance, and he began to write the poems which have made his reputation. His first poem published was "A Wild Violet in November," which appeared in the Chicago Current. This was followed by others, which were promptly accepted by the leading magazines, and he at once took rank with the first poets of the South.
Mr. Wilson is most truly the poet of Nature. He has loved and studied her in all her manifestations,
in all seasons, and at all hours. His pen, like his brush, can reproduce not only the color, the light, the form, but the underlying spirit of truth and beauty, which consecrates and animates the whole. In person, Mr. Wilson is tall, over six feet in height, rather slender, but muscular; and he would be noticeable in any assembly by his marked individuality. He is unmarried, but has hosts of friends in the little city of his adoption, whose pride in his fame was strikingly evinced by the sale in Frankfort of nearly three hundred copies of his first book in the first few days of its appearance.
M. A. B.
IF ONE COULD EASE AN ACHING HEART.
By breathing of the mountain air,
In some forgetful resting place;
The common highway of mankind,
Tread down the dust of death-to find, But once, some dewy, cool retreat,
In which the fevered heart and mind
If one could lose Love's vain regret
To take each faded garland up,
The temples with a tinsel crown:—
If there were never maddening sneer
To be a blind and poisoned thing,
His cold, white lips close to her heart she pressed;
Ye fair, frail children of the woodland wide,
Some hold the blush that on her cheek did glow, Some from her lips have caught the scarlet hue, But more still keep the whiteness of the snow.
SUNRISE AND SUNSET.
FLAME-HEARTED lover of the earth-great Sun! Rise from thy purple couch; stretch forth thine
Through morning's parted curtains; let the
Of waiting love-which it were death to shun-
Enfold the fond Earth in the deathless glowing Of thy fierce love; bend from the shimmering skies Which burn before thee in thine onward going. No cheer have we and not of thy bestowing: Thou art the joy of all hope-lifted eyes.
Within thy burning palace in the West
WOULD WE RETURN?
WOULD we return
If once the gates which close upon the past