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And these years of joy and pain
Never year shall come or go,
When thy thoughts I shall not know;
Oh, my Mother, thou and I
Still live in the years gone by; Though our wishes now are fled, They shall blossom, Christ has said.
TO HARVARD COLLEGE.
ON STORIED heights of Knowledge thou dost stand
The young Republic, stainless yet of shame,
As high thy state, so be thy high emprise! Nor faiths outworn, nor dreams of things agone, Find ceaseless habitation in thy halls!
Morn-fronted Progress mirrored in thine eyes, Is but the presage of thy greater dawn, If thou art true when trump of action calls!
ALL IN ALL.
WHO strangles fear, and puts hope from his throne,
THE DAYS OF YOUTH.
Across the light and shadow comes
A dream of thought in Grecian years,-
-To my Lady in Arcady.
ROBERT JONES BURDETTE.
HE kindly humorist may or may not put his poetry into verse, but he is always a poet. Yet the merry laughter of the world as it listens to his jests, often drowns the music of the sweet songs of his serious moods. This is notably true of Robert Jones Burdette; whom everybody knows, yet who is not commonly called a poet. The story of Mr. Burdette's life is not a new one. It has been modestly and delightfully told by himself in "The Confessions of a Reformed Humorist," and admiringly written by more than one friend.
Mr. Burdette was born in Pennsylvania, though we are apt to think of him as a Western man because as editor of The Hawkeye of Burlington, Iowa, he was first introduced to the world by fame. Indeed he was a Western man; since in the west he grew to manhood. At the age of two years he departed with his parents from Greensboro, Pa., where he was born July 30, 1844, to take up his abode in Cincinnati. Six years later another move brought the boy to Peoria, Ill. Here he entered school, graduating from the High School in 1861, to enter the army in 1862brief, as to age and stature, but valiant as to heart. He served through the war with bravery, was in more than one important battle and especially distinguished himself at Corinth. At the end of the war he marched back to peaceful scenes -a private of Co. C, 47th Regiment, Illinois Vol
In 1869 Mr. Burdette became one of the editors of the Peoria Transcript and afterward, in connection with others established the Peoria Review, an evening paper which was unsuccessful. In 1874 he removed to Burlington, Iowa, and began work on The Hawkeye, which soon came to have a national reputation because of his witty and philosophical contributions.
In 1877 Mr. Burdette, encouraged by his wise and gentle wife, essayed the lecture field. Everybody knows how he has taught patience, honor, charity-every Christian virtue, while his laughing audiences perhaps only realized what solid food they had got when they had gone home and digested it.
For some years Mr. Burdette has not been connected with The Hawkeye, but does his work mainly for the Brooklyn Eagle. His wit is still as fresh and his laughter as spontaneous as at first. And he enjoys this rare distinction: He has never stooped to coarseness nor provoked the laughter of fools. The purest mother can read to her innocent daughter all his fun without hesitation or regret.
Personally, few men win you so quickly. His frank. unaffected kindness, his ready helpfulness and his utter lack of egotism are plain to all. He calls himself a "little nonpareil lion" and takes his reputation as if it were the gift of hosts of generous friends-something to be thankful for but not half deserved. Any notice of Mr. Burdette is incomplete without a reference to his wife, “Her Little Serene Highness," whose beautiful life was early done and whose death he has so deeply mourned. He has so honored her by word and deed that the fragrance of her tender influence has floated far. Mr. Burdette has one son-a young Robert of about twelve years, much like his father. The collections of humorous writings made by Mr. Burdette have not, he says, been eminently successful. Should he some day see fit to put into book form his soberer attempts, many a lover of tender poems, faithful to every-day, human experience and full of the genuine insights of the reverent lover of nature and mankind, would be glad. It would certainly not take the pen of the partial admirer to commend it to the homes of Americans, nor would the pen of the critical keep it out. Indeed, the critic's pen will be long unemployed before it writes an adverse line of Robert J. Burdette. MRS. G. A.
"And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight."
I WOULD receive my sight; my clouded eyes
I cannot see to keep the narrow way,
Weeping I seek the way I cannot find: Open my eyes, dear Lord, for I am blind.
I do not see the pain my light words give,
The quivering, shrinking heart I cannot see; So, light of thought, midst hidden griefs I live, And mock the cypressed tombs with sightless glee;
Open mine eyes, light-blessed ways to find:
My useless eyes are reservoirs of tears,
To weep for thoughtless ways of wandering years,
Because I could not see- -I did not know; These sightless eyes, than angriest glance less kind:
Light of the World, have pity! I am blind.
WHEN MY SHIP COMES IN. SOMEWHERE, out on the blue seas sailing, Where the winds dance and spin,Beyond the reach of my eager hailing,
Over the breakers' din,Out where the dark storm-clouds are lifting, Out where the blinding fog is drifting, Out where the treacherous sand is shifting, My ship is coming in.
Oh, I have watched till my eyes were aching,
Oh, I have hoped till my heart was breaking,
Could I but know where the waves have tossed her,
But, though the storms her course have altered,
Never my faith in my ship has faltered,
For through the restless ways of her roaming,
And oft I laugh with some light, thoughtless Breasting the tides where the gulls are flying, jest,
Nor see how anguish lines some face most
And write my mirth-a mocking palimpsest-
Swiftly she's coming in;
Shallows and deeps and rocks defying,
Bravely she's coming in;
Precious the love she will bring to bless me,
White in the sunshine her sails will be gleaming, See, where my ship comes in;
At mast-head and peak her colors streaming,
Love, hope and joy on her decks are cheering,
SINCE she went home
The evening shadows linger longer here, The winter days fill so much of the year, And even summer winds are chill and drear, Since she went home.
Since she went home
The robin's note has touched a minor strain, The old glad songs breathe but a sad refrain, And laughter sobs with hidden, bitter pain, Since she went home.
Since she went home
How still the empty rooms her presence blessed;
Since she went home
The long, long days have crept away like years, The sunlight has been dimmed with doubt and fears,
And the dark nights have rained in lonely tears, Since she went home.
"HALT!" cry the bugles, down the column's length;
And long the dusty ways before me lie.
The scented violets with eyes of blue,
That breathed sweet incense when we trod them down;
The wild-wood buds and blooms of brightest hue,
Lies between noonday and auroral flowers.
For all its promise, morning brought us care,
The light young hearts that made a jest of life
Changed are their merry songs for shouts of strife, Or hushed where Valor mourns a comrade gone.
And loitering here awhile at "Rest at ease,”
Promised us glory, wealth and love and peace,—
Beckoned us on, when morning time was bright, To certainty of victory and rest;
And now-'tis afternoon; 'twill soon be night; And I have passed the green hill's waving crest.
"Forward!" the bugles call: ready am I;
For, though my step hath lost its springing gait, I am more prompt to march, quick to obey, Less apt to question or to hesitate.
Yet, when some belted trooper gallops by,
I lift my eyes, warned by the swift hoofs' tramp; And hail him with the infantryman's cry"Ho, comrade, tell me, how far is 't to camp?"
IT ain't jest the story, parson, to tell in a crowd like this,
Weth the virtuous matron a-frownin' an' chidin' the gigglin' miss,
An' the good old deacon a noddin' in time weth his patient snores,
An' the shocked aleet of the Capital stalkin' away through the doors.
But then, it's a story that happened, an every word of it's true,
An' sometimes we can't help talkin' of the things that we sometimes do.
An' though good society coldly shets its doors onto "Teamster Jim,"
I'm thinkin' there's lots worse people thet's better known than him.
I mind the day he was married, an' I danced at the weddin', too;
An' I kissed the bride, sweet Maggie-daughter of Ben McGrew;
I mind how they set up housekeepin', two young, poor, happy fools;
When Jim's only stock was a heavy truck an' four Kentucky mules.
Well, they lived along contented, weth their little joys an' cares,
An' every year a baby come, an' twice they come in pairs;
'Till the house was full of children, weth their shoutin' and playin' and squalls,
An' their singin' and laughin' an' cryin' made Bedlam wethin its walls.
An' Jim, he seemed to like it, an' he spent all his evenin's at home:
He said it was full of music an' light, an' peace from pit to dome.
He joined the church, an' he used to pray that his heart might be kept from sin
The stumblin'est prayin'-but heads and hearts used to bow when he'd begin.
So, they lived along in that way, the same from day to day,
With plenty of time for drivin' work, and a little time for play.
An' growin' around 'em the sweetest girls and the
liveliest, manliest boys,
'Till the old gray heads of the two old folks was crowned with the homeliest joys.
Eh? Come to my story? Well, that's all. They're livin' just like I said.
Only two of the girls is married, an' one of the boys is dead.
An' they're honest, an' decent an' happy, an' the very best Christians I know, Though I reckon in brilliant comp'ny they'd be voted a leetle slow.
Oh, you're pressed for time-excuse you? Sure, I'm sorry I kept you so long;
Good by. Now he looked kind o' bored-like, an' I reckon that I was wrong
To tell sech a commonplace story of two sech com
But we can't all git drunk an' gamble an' fight, an' run off with other men's wives.
JULIA P. BOYNTON.
T IS rare, indeed, that a life which has but just
I begun to realize its potentiality, in which hope
has not been exchanged for disappointing fruition, and whose dreams may yet prove substantial verities, should have already won its way to public recognition.
Miss Boynton first looked upon the fields over which she has cast the garment of her own beautiful song scarcely more than a quarter century ago. In the little village of South Byron, in Western New York, she and the sister Jean, to whom "Lines and Interlines" is inscribed, led a more than ordinarily free and happy childhood. At fifteen Miss Boynton and her elder sister entered Ingham University, at Le Roy, N. Y., where they both remained a year, spending the subsequent one in preparation for Wellesley College. The sisters entered this institution, only to be summoned home because of domestic bereavement. The education so broken was again resumed for several years, mainly at Nyack-on-the-Hudson. The greater part of two winters was spent in New York engaged at studies in art, for which Miss Boynton has marked aptitude; then followed a season in London, as a guest in the home of a popular clergyman. Plans were forming in the spring of 1888 for an extended tour upon the continent, when she was again summoned home, because of the serious illness of her mother, and her place since then has been mostly at the side of this loved and loving parent.
Miss Boynton is possessed of fine, scholarly tastes, with that critical acumen which seldom belongs to youth. The conventional poetic temperament is not hers; she is, happily, endowed with an even disposition, free from nervous exaltation or depression, with practical abilities which are a marvel to those who only think of her as a poet. It is in the realm of nature that Miss Boynton is most at home; the voices she listened to in childhood, with their occult messages, have found revelation through the poet's song. The "Tragedy of a Field" is both picture and poem; only one who had looked with love and pity upon the scene could have so sympathetically reproduced its inanimate woe. Miss Boynton is, happily, so situated that she is able to cultivate the muse at her leisure. J. W. K.
Not to have wished, and gained what was desired, Not to have dreamed, and struggled, and aspired, Not to have grasped the cup of life and quaffed Its bright best drops, but to have drained the bowl, Only this good is left thee, O my Soul,
To have some times wept! O great World-heart, O Heart
Of all the Human, cry ye not, Amen? Your quick tears follow where the poet's pen Ran falteringly; what wealth would force you part With the wide prospect seen in true relief From the lone awful summit of your grief?
To have sometimes wept! O sweet World-bond, O Bond
Of all the Human! Even those holy eyes
That looked on God and Heaven were not too wise
For weeping, but their tears fell fast and fond
When Lazarus died; and grief from age to age Has blurred with passionate kisses that one page. Bliss hath its revelations; Love hath swept
The soul up from its playthings to the true Full, only Life. But thanks as deep are due For this dear blessing, to have sometimes wept.
INTRODUCTION FOR A BOOK OF POEMS.
I SEND you from me, and I have no care:
I have no dream of laurel, hear no blare
Of visionary brass; Time's ruthless test
I dread not, nor the long Lethean rest;
Patient of praise and careless of renown,
I know that somehow, somewhere, I shall sing!
AFTER READING A VOLUME OF CONTEMPORARY VERSE.
WHAT do we then, audacious, who presume Where worthier footfalls sowed the earth with stars?
And shall we echo Homer with his wars? Or follow Dante through the nether gloom? Or, with one later, heap a favored tomb
With lyric largess? or, forgetting scars, Sing Nature only? (Ah! such music jars Despite its sweetness.) Shall we find no room For verses that shall stimulate and rouse
To nobler love and living? Drown the cry Of art for art's sake; all humanity With one great voice the outrage disallows. A spiritual Tyrtæus rather, I, Thundering of battle to the souls that drowse.
For we are not so strong we may disdain
The slight, shy soul would slowly droop and die; Truths that all science fails to bring more nigh Shine out resplendent, by a dream made plain. Give me to send some trenchant message out, Such as have braced my faith and fired my heart, Praising meek patience, or dispelling doubt, Purveying solace for some human smart; Hearing which, some one shall rise up with speed To fix a fluent impulse into deed.
THE TRAGEDY OF A FIELD. THERE was a field lay glad in early dew; Where, arm in arm with the tall grasses, grew Clover and crimson cockle, and a few
Rough thistles, which, since heaven their ostracism
Confirmed not, but poured out her blessed chrism
Wild mustard, like a spot of fallen sun,
Its petals for the color of their wings;
And in the midst a streamlet did divide