Madge Morris Wagner.

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throat ! My limbs are blocks of ice ! My heart has
tuned it with the muffled dead-march drum ? A jar
of crushing worlds in my ears ! A drowsy faintness
creeps upon

The seal is broken, the mystery fell ;
You have read the letters, what do they tell ?
Do they tell you the story they told that day
To me, in the Mission old and gray —

The Mission Carmel at Monterey ?



She came on that immortal morn,

A hundred years and more ago —
Fair Liberty bowed 'neath the scorn

That wrought a suffering people's woe.

Upon her round, white arms she wore
The shackles forged by tyrant art ;

Her shining robe was stained with gore —
The life-blood of a loyal heart.

She spoke, and in her pleading tones

A voice came ringing o'er the sea
From fallen Roma's crumbling thrones.

From graves of old Thermopylae.

The listening breezes heard her plea,

They told it to the summer morn,
'Twas whispered by each forest tree,

Each green blade of the rustling corn.

'Twas murmured by the brooklet's waves,
The echoing mountains caught the cry

And flung it back to ocean's caves —
The ocean rolled it to the sky.

Our patriot sires — that grand old band —
Had met in troubled council throng,

If that they might, to quench the brand.

Where smouldering burned a Nation's wrong.


They heard fair Liberty's appeal,

They gazed upon her matchless form ;

Each faltering nerve grew firm as steel,
Each breast was bared, to meet the storm,

A. moment low those stern heads bowed
In sokmn, silent awe of prayer,

And then a wild shout, long and loud,
Burst out upon the quivering air.

The spirit, roused, would sleep no more,
And each in turn, on bended knee,

With brow uncovered, reverent swore
Eternal faith to Liberty !

Her torn and bleeding feet they dressed
In sandals wrought of maiden gold.

Into her trembling hand they pressed
The scepter from a Monarch's hold.

They broke the fetters that had led
Her captive in their cruel scars.

And bound upon her regal head
A flashing coronet of stars.

Their fortunes, lives, their all, alone.
They fastened with her mantle's sheen ;

Gave her their proud hearts for a throne,
And Liberty was crowned our Queen.


The deed a world then laughed to mock

Has swept m Majesty of State,
From Massachusetts' Plymouth Rock

To California's Golden Gate —

Her heritage from sea to sea,

A land that own's no craven's right.

Where but to breathe is to be free,
And this * the symbol of her might.


But yesterday the world was bright and fair —

Too bright and fair to last of life a part.
I pinned a spray of lilacs in my hair,
Another o'er my heart.

You praised the snowy blossoms that I wore,

You took one from my tangled, wind-blown hair
Such sweet content I had not known before —
The world was fair — too fair.

The foam-tipped ocean waves broke at our feet,
And, shivering, died upon the long, low shore.
Their voices said, in tender tones and sweet :
" Glad heart ! Oh, grieve no more!"



To-day I wear white lilacs in my hair ;

I've pinned a snowy cluster on my breast ;
But miss your voice, and 'neath the flowers fair
There burns a strange unrest.

To-day again the sky is bright and fair,

The same waves break and die upon the shore ;
But, oh ! the burden of the song they bear :
"Poor heart! be glad no more!"


How still and lonesome the house is,

The sunshine looks paler to-day,
And the wind round .the corners is whispering:
"Pearlie has gone away."

No papers, cut with the scissors,

Scattered over the floor ;
No scampering feet on the stairway.

No finger-marks on the door.
The flies on the window are tamer.

There's no one to catch them to-day
And fasten them up in a bottle —
Pearlie has gone away.


There in the farthest corner

Is her "sailor-hat" on the floor,
Where she tossed it yesterday evening

As she bounded in at the door.
Somehow I couldn't take it

And put it away to-day,
And a plate of mud cakes in the cupboard,
I couldn't throw them away.

"Is she dead?" did you ask me? no, no!

My heart had a deeper pain
If never to still its throbbing

I'd clasp my darling again.
But the house is so still and so lonesome.

And the sun shines so coldly to-day,
And the wind round the corners keeps whispering:
" Pearhe has gone away."


Only a tramp by the roadside dead ;

Only a tramp — who cares ?
His feet are bare, his dull eyes stare.

And the wind plays freaks with his unkempt hair.


The sun rose up and the sun went down,
But nobody missed him from the town,

Where he begged for bread 'till the day was dead.
He's only a tramp — who cares ?

Only a tramp, a nuisance gone.

One more tramp less — who cares ?

Ghastly'and gray, in the lane all day,
A soiled, dead heap of human clay.

Would the wasted crumbs in the rich man's hall,
Where the gas-lights gleam and the curtains fall,

Have given him a longer lease of breath —
Have saved the wretch from starving to death —

He's only a tramp — who cares ?

Only a trarnp ! was he ever more

Than a beggar tramp ? Who cares ?
Was the hard-hned face ever dimpled and sweet ?

Has a mother kissed those rough brown feet,
And thought their tramping a sweeter strain

Than ever will waken her ear again ?
Does somebody kneel, 'way over the sea.

Praying, " Father, bring back my boy to me ?"
Does somebody watch and weep and pray

For the tramp who lies dead in the lane to-day?
He's only a tramp — who cares ?



I love thee for the soul that shines
Within thine eyes' soft beaming,

From out whose depths the prisoned fires
Of intellect are gleaming.

I love thee for the mmd that soars
Eeyond earth's narrow keeping,

That measures suns, and stars, and worlds,
Through boundless limits sweepmg.

I love thee for the voice whose power

Can in my heart awaken
To passioned life each slumbering chord

That ruder tones have shaken.

Thou ne'er, perchmce, mayst feel the chain
With which this love has bound thee,

Nor dream thee of the hand that flung
Its glittering links around thee.

And vainly mayst thou deem the task

Thy captive bonds to sever —
Who madly dares to love thee now

Will love thee on forever.

38 love's lamp.


Afar, and long ago, in Egypt's land

A palace stood — '
The palace of a king — wrought out by hand

In precious wood
Of curious carving, and in marble white
It gleamed and glistened in the sun's red light,
Close where the Nilus crept 'mid leaf and vine.
The palace of the Ptol'my's fateful line.

Within the center of the spacious hall,

Where sat the king
In royal state, admiring gaze of all

The lordly ring,
A single marble shaft stood white and lone
A'near the gorgeous trappings of the throne :
A thing so perfect, beautiful and chaste
In monarch's presence erst had not been placed.

Upon the shaft, a hand that ne'er had sinned, "

Placed for support
A lamp brought from the distant shores of Ind

To grace his court.
The king smiled on the quaint, strange gift, and told
His followers to light it ; but the old,
The young, the ill-faced and the fair, in vain
Their skill applied — no light repaid their pain.

love's lamp. 39

At length, one day, when years and years had passed,

The weary king,
Yielding to persuasion, said at last,

" Destroy the thing."
When from the crowd a maiden, fair and sweet,
Came forth, and flung her at the monarch's feet.
And begged, in pitying tone, that he would spare
The beauteous lamp that hung so useless there.

"If thou canst light it," said the king, " I will

Grant thy request."
The maiden timidly approached it, still

And tremblmg pressed
She closely to the object of her love.
And gently breathed upon it. Quick above
Her downcast head a matchless brilliance came —
The sacred fire had leaped into a flame.

Amazed, each wondering courtier bowed his head

As to a shrine.
Then spoke the king, and to the maiden said,

" The lamp is thine !
Go, take it to thy home, and guard it well;
But thou alone couldst find its hidden spell ;
But for thy breath its magic brightness lives —
Love's silent tribute unto love it gives."


The human heart's a buried lamp like this.

To light it, vain
Each softly wooing voice, each tender kiss —

No touch remains ;
All passionless it Hes beyond their ken,
Until the right soul breathes upon it ; then
The slumbering fire bursts its prison thrall.
And joyous to the conqueror yields it all.


A little maid, with sweet brown eyes,
Upraised to mine in sad surprise ;
I held two tiny hands in mine,

I kissed the little maid farewell.
Her cheeks to deeper crimson flushed,

The sweet, shy glances downward fell ;
From rosy lips came — ah ! so low —
*' I love you — do not go !"

I see it through the lapse of years —
This picture^ oftimes blurred with tears.
No tiny hands in mine are held,

No sweet brown eyes my pulses wake —
Only in memory a voice

E'er bids me stay for love's sweet sake.



Sweet minstrel, came thy tender lay

Into the desert of my heart,
As dew-drops fall on flowers of May
When burning Summer suns depart.
But oh, thou bidst me sing a strain
That ne'er ray voice may wake again.

Sweet minstrel, were it mine the power

To strike for thee this golden lyre.
Like hence had not a lonely hour

Thy generous heart to bind and tire.
I'd sweet its quivering strings until

The prisoned soul of melody
Beneath my hand's warm touch should thrill

And sing it low and tenderly ;

Aye, till the cadence of my lute
Were unto thee the lotus fruit.

But ah, for me its chords are all

Untuned, unstrung ; it could not bless
Thy life e'en with one joyous call
To woo thee from thy loneliness.
The saddest strain it ever knew
It sings for thee — adieu, adieu.



O, speak not hastily the word

Thine ear from idle tongues has heard.
If false the tale thou couldst recall,

How hard and cruel must it fall ?
If true, why, helping it along

Will never, never right the wrong.
O, speak it not, nor speak the word

That wounds, though but in jest 'tis heard
Keep back the thrust, the look askance.

The petty doubt, the sneering glance ;
Keep back the taunts and jeers,

Life has enough of breaking hearts,
Of pointed barbs and venomed darts —

Enough of pain and tears.


So I — capricious-minded.

Whose fancy a whim could thrall —
Whom you taught love's truth of loving

Was truest after all !


Watching to-night the sunset,

I saw the sun go down
In a sea of crimson splendor —

In its own red sea — to drown ;
Like the sun in the sunset glory,

The sun of my hopes went down.

Over a couch I'm bending

With eyes that are wet with pain,
Where, wrapped in its shroud of memory,

My beautiful love lies slain.
Slain by a random arrow.

Shot from a bow unstrung ;
Dead, with its depths unsounded.

The wealth of its song unsung.

The stars will shine in the winter.

And the spring-tide come and go.
The summers will burn and revel,

And the autumn winds will blow.

But the gleam of the stars is vanished

Out of their silver mist,
The sparkle gone from the dew-drops

That the purple violets kissed';

The joy from the throbbmg pulses

In the heart of the summer warm,
The tint from the autumn's colors,

The grandeur out of the storm.


Ever and ever, to-morrow,

The sun will arise again
From its yellow and opal ocean—

From its crimson sea of pain ;
But the sun that went down in its sorrow

Will rise from it never again.

So I — capricious- minded,

Whose fancy a whim could thrall —
Whom you taught love's truth of loving,

Was the truest, after all !


If that thy hand with heart-will sought.
To work with Christ -love underlying,
But ere thou hadst accomplished aught
Time passed thee by while vainly trying,
The wasted hour, the vain endeavor,
Will wait thee in the far forever.

If thou hast toiled from dawn till eve,

But felt no thrill of joy in giving.
No heart made glad, no want relieved.
Lived but for selfish love of living.
Though idle hours went by thee never,
The hours are lost to thee forever.



Good-bye, sweetheart, he said, and clasped her hand
And rained his kisses on her tear- wet face ;

Then broke away, and in a foreign land.

For her dear sake, sought gold, that he might place

Love's jewelled crown upon his queen's fair brow,
And pour his hard-won treasures at her feet ;

And swore, than Heaven, than life itself, his vow
To her he held more sacred and more sweet.

She waited as the woman only may

Whose eyes are blinded oft with unshed tears ;
Lines on her forehead grew, and threads of gray ;

The weary days crept into weary years.

'* Oh star, go down ! Oh sun, be shrouded now !

My love comes not ; he does not live," she said !
And brushed the curls he'd kissed back from her brow,

And put on mourning for her dead.

And still as oft the day came round that he
Had left his warm good-bye upon her lips,

As oft she sought the headland by the sea.

And longing watched the far-off white-sailed ships.


To-day, the low sand-beach was over-strewn ;

Torn sail, and broken spar and human form,
'Gulfed by the waves, and crushed, and then out -thrown:

A ship went down in yester-night's wild storm.

She walked among the debris, and the dead,
As some sweet mercy-sister on her round.

Scanning each up-turned face with nameless dread.
For aught of life ; her tireless searching found

A babe — a waif with tawny tangled locks,
;'^'And great blue eyes with wonder brimming o'er ;
Of all the human freight wrecked on the rocks,
The only living thing that washed ashore.

A pearl-gemmed golden case upon its breast
She oped, then stared, her eyes a-sudden wild,

A name, a pictured face told all the rest ;
His name — his face — his child !


Toll the bells high in the steeple,
Slowly toll a mournful lay.

Eing a knell for all the people,
A nation is bereft to-day.


Lower the starry flag above us,

Drape its floating folds in grief,
Bid the eyes of those who love us,

Weep with us our fallen chief.

Close the door of trade, and hush the
Song of praise, and bow the head ;

Help to bear the woes that crush the
Hearts that weep our martyred dead.

Fallen at his post of duty,

Slain, a vile assassin's prey ;
Tower of strength and moral beauty —

Dead at Elberon to-day.

Landward, through the valleys stealing,

Thrills a sigh that veils the sun ;
Outward, o'er the ocean pealing,

Booms the dirgeful minute-gun.

Nor party, creed, nor rank, that gives him

Meed of grief above his clay,
Nor fame of conquest that outlives him —

The nation mourns the man to-day.

Ye whose lips are skilled in arts that

Know the soul's diviner way,
Kneel in praying for the hearts that

Break at Elberon to-day.


Ye who welcomed him with pleasure,

With shout and song in Autumn's gloam —

With arms reversed, and muffled measure,
Bear your murdered chieftain home.


With odds all against him, struggling to gain
From fortune a name, with life to maintain,
Toiling in sunshine, toiling in rain,
Never waiting a blessing Heaven-sent,
Working and winning his way as he went — •
Whether he starved, or sumptuously fared.
Nobody knew and nobody cared.

With success-crowned effort that fate had defied,
That wrought out from fortune what favor denied,
Standing aloof from the world in his pride ;
The niche he has carved on fame's slippery wall
Friends are proclaiming with heraldry-call.
His Croesus-bright scepter has magical sway,
Yester's indifference solicits to-day.
His daring, his triumph, how daily he fares,
Every one knows, and anxiously cares.



A fisherman rocked in his boat on the tide
And dropped his net in the sea,

And he sang as he worked, and the rising tide

Drifted his voice to the water-side —
Echoed his voice on the lea.

A maiden mended the fisherman's nets

At the water-side on the lea,
And she listened and longed as she patient wrought,
And no sound was so sweet, the maiden thought,

As the fisherman's song on the sea.

A maiden stood in the mist-moonlight

Gazing out o'er the water wide,
Straining her eyes through the paling light.
And around her feet in the deepening night
Crept slowly the rising tide.

The mermaids braided the maiden's hair
Under the depths of the sea —

Braided her long, bright golden hair

Into a shimmering wonderful snare
Under the fathomless sea.

The fisherman smiled as he sang his song,
For a maid too fond and fair —
A mermaid floated the waves along
And prisoned the soul of the fisherman's song
In a net of golden hair.

50 WHY?

And ever and e'er when the twilight falls,

And the moonlight pales on the sea,
A voice on the ear of the fisherman falls,
A song that his soul and his sense enthralls
Drifts over the lonesome sea.

And deaf to the warn that a death will snare,
He follows the song on the sea ;

But he conies not back for a shimmering snare.

A wonderful weft of golden hair

Is waiting hmi under the sea.


Why is it we grasp at the shadow
That flits from us swift as thought,

While the real that maketh the shadow
Stands in our way unsought ?

And why do we wonder, and wonder,
What's beyond the hill-tops of thought ?

Why is it the things that we sigh for
Are the things that we never can reach ?

Why, only the sternest experience
A lesson of patience can teach ?

And why hold we so careless and lightly
The treasures that are in our reach ?

" I don't care. 51

Why is it we wait for the future,

Or dwell on the scenes of the past,
Rather than live in the present

Hastening from us so fast ?
Why is it the prizes we toil for,

So tempting in fancy's mould cast,
Prove, when to our lips we have pressed them,

Only apples of Sodom at last ?
And why are the crowns, and the crosses,

So wondrous inequally classed ?

Ask it, ye, over and over,

Let the winds waft your question on high.
Till memory wanes with the ages,

Till the stars in eternity die.
And out from the bloom and the sunshine,

From the rainbow o'er-arching the sky,
From the night and the gloom and the tempest,

Echo will answer you, " Why?"


** I don't care," we hear it oft

And oft, the words are seeming fair ;

But many a heartache lies beneath
A careless " I don't care !"

52 " I don't care."

In every age, from every tongue, -

The vain assertions fell ;
But oh, trust not the cheating words.

For never the truth they tell !
Hearts may grow sick with hope deferred,

Be crushed with black despair.
But lips, too proud to own defeat,

Will whisper, " I don't care !"

A thoughtless friend flings out in jest —

As jesters always do —
A deadly shaft you wince beneath.

You know the story's true ;
But while the dart has pierced your heart.

And poisoned, rankles there.
You look amused, and answer with

A smiling, " I don't care !"

When Fortune's favors are withdrawn.

And friends like shadows fled,
When all your fondest dreams are gone,

Your dearest hopes are dead,
You curse the fickle goddess, then,

Who wrought you such despair.
Yet hide chagrin beneath a frown.

And mutter, "I don't care !"

The veteran, battle-scarred, who fills

A nation's honored place.
Feels keener than his saber's point,

Unmerited disgrace.


With indignation all aflame

He meets some rival's stare ;
But for all answer gives the world

A freezing, " I don't care!"

A woman's heart is trifled with,

Her hopes are ground to dust,
Her proud soul humbled with neglect,

Betrayed her sacred trust,
Yet, while to desperation stung,

With death and ruin there,
She'll crush the tears and cheat you with

A laughing, " I don't care !"

" I don't care !" 'tis but a breath,

The words are seeming fair.
But many a heartache lies beneath

A careless " I don't care !"


Beautiful maiden.

So daintily fair.
Thy rosy-hued lips.

Thy soft, flowing hair,


Symmetric perfection,
Sweet, winning face,

The charms that thou wearest
A palace might grace ;

And yet thy bright beauty
May wreck and despair.

Beautiful maiden,

- Beware ! oh, beware !

There are flattering tongues

That 'twere death to believe,
And lovers who woo

But to win and deceive ;
For innnocent feet

There is many a snare.
Beautiful maiden.

Beware ! oh, beware !


When dead, no imposing funeral rite,

Nor hne of praise I crave ;
But drop your tears upon my face —

Put flowers on my grave.

Close not in narrow wall the place

In which my heart finds rest.
Nor mark with tow'ring monument

The sod above my breast.



Nor carve on gleaming, marble slab
A burning thought or deed.

Or word of love, or praise, or blame,
For stranger eyes to read.

But deep, deep in your heart of hearts,

A tender mem'ry save ;
Upon my dead face drop your tears —

Put flowers on my grave.


I twined you a wreath of the ivy vine,

You plucked me a red rose wet with dew —

You hold in your hand, and I hold in mine
Red rose ashes and bitter rue.

Fortune's wheel turned round and round,
And you went up and I went down.

The chaplet of bay that your brow entwined
You proudly wore ; — but I knew, I knew

That you held in your hand, as I held in mine,
Red rose ashes and bitter rue.

You brought me a gift from the avalon shores,
I gave you the heart of a lily-blow ; —

I hold in my hand, and you hold in yours,
A cypress wreath and ashes of snow.

56 THE hunter's song.

Fortune's wheel turned round and round,
And I went up, and you went down.

Of the sentient draught that flattery pours

I have drained my meed — but you know, you

That I hold in my hand, as you hold in yours,
A cypress wreath and ashes of snow.


Let them sing, they who will, of the pleasures that cloy
In the heart tliat receives and the heart of the giver;
But give me the wild and untrameling joy

That thrills through my veins by the mountain and

Then oh, for the hills,
For the sun-tinted rills.
For the days that grow wearisome never ;
The blue sky is o'er me.
The world is before me,
And my heart it is smging forever.

No sighing at beauty' s proud foot-stool for me,

No bacchanal's night of carousing ;
But the hights of the mountains, the moon-silvered lea

And the haunt where the red deer is browsing.


Then oh, for the hills,

For the sun-tinted rills.
For the days that grow wearisome never ;

The blue sky is o'er me,

The world is before me,
And my heart it is singing forever.


I stood on the top of the tower one day —

The electric tower in San Jose —
And never again, till the day I die,

Will a vision so beautiful bless my eye
As that which below and around me lay
From the top of the tower in San Jose.

One lone little cloud slow floated above,

A dot in the reamless azure deep,
As white as the soul of a baby's love,

As still as the stars when the night winds sleep.
I thought 'twas the mist of an angel's breath.
Frozen, and floating away to death.
Far down below me, around, away,
A curious picture the city lay.
It seemed that whim of a geni's hand
Had waved above it divining wand.


And wafted there, from some mythic place,
A people of liliputian race.
And curve of nature, and line of art,
And light, and shadow, and human mart,
Were strangely blended, below, that day,
As I stood on the tower in San Jose.

From the shadowy side of Almaden

Hazily rolled the valley away —
Away to the east, and the west, and then

Lost in the misty blue of the bay.
From a myriad fires up-wreathed the smoke
Into weird, fantastic forms, and broke.
And hung like a city the landscape o'er —
The phantom city of a legend lore,
And mountain and plain-land, forest and stream,
Flushed bright m the gold of the sunset's gleam,
Bare sloping hill, and vale low and sweet.

Blushed bright in the glow of the sun's warm kiss,
The land that never the prophet's feet

Might tread, meseems, was a land like this
Marvelous gem the master of skills
Set in the amethyst crown of the hills.

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