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LLA RHOADS HIGGINSON was born near Council Grove, Kansas, in the beautiful valley of the Neosho, in the year 1862. Her birth-place was the typical log-cabin prairie home of those days, with morning glories blooming about its humble door, and miles of waving, flower-lit prairie -Nature's own lawn-stretching further than her baby-eyes could reach. When she was two years of age her parents joined the westward-flowing tide of emigration, and thus the far-off land" where rolls the Oregon" came to be the home of her girlhood. The early development of a poetic temperament found vent in short stories of romance, written in a desultory fashion, at the fitful dictation of girlish fancy, many of which were published in various Pacific Coast periodicals, long before she dreamed of achieving a literary career. Humble birth and surroundings and imperfect educational advantages were obstacles that should not be overlooked when considering the literary achievements of Ella Higginson. After her marriage, in 1882, to Russell C. Higginson, and prior to June, 1888, she had written but little poetry; but about that date she wrote one or two strikingly beautiful poems that, when published in an eastern journal, at once attracted favorable notice, and thenceforth she gave herself up to the sway of the rhythmic Muse. In the brief space of two years she has written more than one hundred poems, which have appeared in all parts of the United States, and have been widely copied and read.
Whatever of success has come, or is destined yet to come, to Ella Higginson has been won by her own unaided efforts. With few to encourage and but little to inspire her, she has worked on, and by sheer force of will has overcome obstacles and risen above failures beneath which many a woman would have sunk, disheartened. She has nobly earned the rewards she is now gathering, and that, perchance, makes them doubly welcome.
Her present home is at Sehome, on the shores of Puget Sound, which fair land has been fitly described in her sonnet, "Winter on Puget Sound." C. B. M.
WINTER ON PUGET SOUND.
I KNOW a land all rich with purple bloom,
Here sap runs riot in the proud fir's veins
This is the sunset land-sweet past belief.
ONE broad, blue sweep of dancing, sunlit sea, Fleck'd here and there with blown sails, white as foam.
Here, warm lights die and restless sea-gulls roam, And winds steal in from ocean wantonly. Southward, the chaste Olympics, snow-washed, free,
Gleam through the purple mist; eastward, the dome
Of all the Cascades guards our western home. Here, wild birds pour their souls out, mad with glee,
And, downward dipping in the blue wave's crest,
Soft-toned frogs make sweet the solemn night
THERE is within a western wood a place
Where spring doth wanton as she dallies by, With many a warm, voluptuous kiss and sigh; Her bare soft arms she twines with nameless grace About the fir's strong throat. In his embrace,
With yielding bosom, she doth strive to lie,With wiles the passion of his life to buy. At her soft touch hot saps do leap and race Along his swelling veins; his strong limbs thrill Beneath the force of her seductive will; At first he but submits to her caress,—
As one might smile at some sweet child at play : Then, passions, bursting into bloom, confess His will is her's-Spring has regained her sway.
Down thro' the field in the fading light,
And holds them, waiting, till drenched and cool;
Then rises and goes thro' the long, wet, grass,
Over the hill where the dying sun
For his heart is clean and his soul is free:
Out to the barnyard the farmer goes,
Where the stream steals thro' and sings as it flows,
He yet finds something vaguely sweet
Out to the orchard the housewife goes,
"Ch-uck-e! Ch-uck-e! Ch-uck-e-e!”
In a little white chamber where all is still,
Dimpled hands fondle her bosom of snow,
THE ANGEL IN HELL.
THE devil he stood at the gates of hell
And he sighed:—“Come down, sweet siren, and learn
The lesson of passion and love!"
Too well I know that an angel you are,"
The devil with cunning, replied:
"And that is the reason I covet you,
For a safe-guard at my side.
"You'll find the atmosphere balmy and warm,
Here are red, red roses, and passionate bliss,
"O, come! angel, come! I'll stretch out my arms, And draw you to infinite rest,
And all the delights of this beautiful hell,
The angel she leaned from the gates of gold,
"Don't struggle, sweet angel,” the devil he cried,
WHERE THE DIFFERENCE LIES.
IT may be; yet I would not have it so:
That I would not have in hers; for I know Woman forgives each day what no man can.
It may be; yet I feel it is not so;
Man loathes in her the sins he calls his own. And I believe that each man lives to know That one pure woman holds his heart alone. And still they say: "It may be!"-yet I know, That man may sin, and rise to honors great; While God's unwritten law has made it so, That she who sins forever yields to fate.
Ten thousand furies rise to crush to earth,
THIS thought my fancy doth impart,
As birds strange music troll;
The blossom is the thistle's heart,
LIFE AND DEATH,
As one may breathe without a sigh,
THE OLD STORY.
A SPIRIT, looking backward, sighed,
I THOUнGT I did not care till you had gone,
The while I danced with tireless feet, and light, You held no place within my care-free mind; Nor when, upon my dappled mare, I raced, Flushed, triumphant, buoyant, with the wind.
For then, my very soul was full of life
That throbbed and pulsed and raced my being through;
And I was all-sufficient to myself,
And gave no lightest thought or care to you.
But when I crossed a field, one winter's day,
And when I hear the restless, wind-vex'd leaves, And the soft rhythm of the winter rain, Through all my being thrills the vain desire
That I might have you here with me again.
CHARLES WASHINGTON COLEMAN.
HE subject of this sketch was born November
22, 1862, at Richmond, Va., his father being stationed there at that time as a surgeon in the Confederate hospital. Mrs. Coleman is a niece of John Randolph, of Roanoke, and daughter of Judge Beverley Tucker, sometime professor of law at William and Mary College, an eminent man, distinguished alike as jurist and litterateur. Judge Tucker's father was no less well and favorably known as author and jurist than his son, and fought gallantly in the Revolution, attaining the rank of Colonel, and was afterwards Judge of the United States Court. The Colemans and the Tuckers had, from the first, lived in or near Williamsburg, Va., that quaint old town at which for many years the social, literary and political life of the Old Dominion centered.
Reared in a highly cultured family, it is no wonder that young Coleman should promise to shine as brightly among his co-laborers in the new Southern literature as did his talented ancestors in Southern politics. Mr. Coleman's first effort was the natural result of his environment and ancestry. In 1881, while rummaging among some old papers, he came across letters written by his great grandfather, St. George Tucker. The letters addressed to the Colonel's wife, and, along with sparkling bon-mots, jests and bits of doggerel, contained much valuable historic information concerning the events just preceding the surrender at Yorktown. These were put together into a perfect whole, forwarded to The Magazine of American History and were accepted. Even at this early period the seventeen-year-old boy showed he had inherited the poetic talent of the Tuckers.
The next year Mr. Coleman went to the University of Virginia, remaining there three years, and in the meantime contributing to the University Magazine and, less frequently, to The Century and other periodicals. He studied law at the same institution, and since his return to Williamsburg he has devoted much time to literary work, contributing to all the prominent periodicals.
Harper's Magazine for May, 1887, contained an article by Mr. Coleman entitled "The Recent Movement in Southern Literature," which attracted much attention all over the country. The only unfair part of the article consisted in the fact that Mr. Coleman's writing it prevented his name from being placed along with those of the other rising young southern writers, among whom he is prominent as a poet.
Although Mr. Coleman has produced some highly creditable prose, his talent, and a most decided talent it is, is in the field of poetry. H. S. B.
THE PASSING OF THE SINGER.
He came alone, the pale singer,
'Long the dusty road to the town; His feet were worn and his heart was torn, His eyes were wide and brown.
He paused in the street of the city,
To the surging throng that hurried along
But some had to buy in the market,
And others to sell in the shop,
So they did not hear the music,
They did not turn to look,
Men had no time to listen,
And he no heart to wait; So he hushed his song and passed along Out through the city gate.
He went alone, the pale singer,
'Long the dusty road from the town; His cheeks were thin and tears stood in His eyes so wide and brown.
And the woman's lip was trembling,
As she turned from her work to look;
And the student closed his book.
Men cried, "Do you hear the music?"
(They were resting after the day),— “That singer sweet to our city street
Shall come and dwell for aye!"
Far over the land they sought him,
Sought till the night grew late;
Then back to the streets of the city,
Love lies a-sleeping; let the branches part
Love lies a-sleeping; press the pulsing heart
Love lies a-sleeping; ah, how swiftly goes
The sweet delusion he hath taught thy heart, Fair maiden, pressing to thy breast the rose Whose sun-kissed petals sadly fall apart
With thy quick breath. That rhyme wouldst hear him sing
Which yesterday seemed such a foolish thing?
Love lies a-sleeping; nay, for such a thing
Break not his slumber. See how sweetly goes That smile across his lips, that will not sing For very wilfulness. Love hath no heart! If he should wake, those red-ripe lips would part In laughter low to see this ravish'd rose.
Love lies a-sleeping; so the full-blown rose
The grasses 'neath the breeze deep-sighing part And sway; and as thy warm breath comes and goes
In motion with the red tides of thy heart, The song is hushed which Love was wont to sing.
Love lies a-sleeping; thus in dreams he goes; Strive not to waken him, but tell thy heart, "Love lies a-sleeping, and he may not sing."
A BRUISED ROSE.
THE revelry that fill'd the night is done; Hushed is the patter of once dancing feet, The rustle of rich fabrics, laughter sweet; The music still'd and morning, newly born, Hears but its echo.
One poor bruised rose,
Let fall upon the floor from some fair breast, Is all that tells it was no cunning jest Wrought by the deft romancer of repose; The music, laughter, all a fitful gleam, Press'd from the pillow of a broken dream.
O LOVER bird, haste to thy wooing,
For the east doth flush with an eager blush
She is white like the tall white lilies
That sicken the air with sweet,
Her eyes are as deep as the ocean,
She comes from the daisied meadows,
O birds, be no cease to your singing;
Her eyelids droop with the passion
Her long white arms to her lover
She lifts, and her parted lips