Madge Morris Wagner.

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Nor how, as time drags weary on,

My soul will sigh for thee.

Each loved one that thou leavest here

Some other love may wear,
Each heart will have some other heart

Its loneliness to share.
But I have nothing, darling, left —

You 're all the world to me —
And only God and Heaven can know

The love I give to thee.



LIGHT BEYOND. 87



LIGHT BEYOND.

Is your heart bowed down with sorrow ;

Does your lot the hardest seem ;
Think you of a brighter morrow,

Of a fairer future dream.

Have your prospects all been blighted;

Has each promise proved a snare ;
Deepest wrongs are sometimes righted,

Never yield you to despair.

Has the slanderer's tongue unsparing
Ruihless tarnished with its stain ;

Was your good name worth the wearing-
Go and win it back again.

Would you rest where sunshine lingers ;

You must toil the darkness through ;
Only work with willing fingers,

Only live you brave and true.

Never care or trouble borrow —
" Trouble 's real if it seems " —

Ever see a bright to- morrow,

Though you see it but in dreams.



88 WOULD YOU CARE?



WOULD YOU CAEE?

All day on my pillow I wearily lay,

With a stabbing pain at my heart,
With throbbing temples, and a feverish thirst

Burning my lips apart.
If I longed for a touch of your soft, strong hand,

For you one little minute there ;
For a smile, or a kiss, or a word to bless,

Would you blame me, love — would you care ?

When the long, long, lonesome day was done,

And you never for a moment came,
If I tried to shut you out of my heart,

Impatient at your name ;
If disappointment's bitter sting

Was harder than pain to bear,
If I turned away with a doubting frown,

Would you blame me, love — would you care ?

Should I die to-night, and you saw me not

Again till my soul had fled
With its vain request, and my features wore

The white hue of the dead —
Would you place, just once, in a last caress,

Your hand on my death- damp hair?
Would you give me a thought, or a fond regret ?

Would you kiss me, love ? — would you care ?



GOOD-BYE. 89



GOOD-BYE.

Good-bye ! Good-bye !
Once pledged we fondly o'er and o'er
That naught should cloud our love's bright sky ;
Once thought we that we could not stay
Apart and live. But oh ! for us
Fate willed it not to linger thus.
To-day earth's wintry poles apart
Are further not than we in heart,
Nor colder than our sunless way.
Passion and pride can do no more,
And you and I can only say

Good-bye ! Good-bye !

Good-bye ! Good-bye !
So sad it seems the sound of tears,
So sad it seems life's parting sigh,
And yet, alas ! it can but be.
Deserted, ghostly wrecks of dreams
Once freighted with Hope's golden gleams,
Wrecks drifting on a sullen sea.
To mock the memory-haunted years,
Are all now left to you and me.

Good-bye ! Good-bye !



90 CONSOLANCE.



CONSOLANCE.

"Be brave?" why, yes, I will; I'll never more
despair ;

Who could, with such sweet comforting as yours ?
How, like the voice that stilled the tempest air,

Your mild philosophy its reasoning pours.

Go you and build a temple to the skies, and make
Your soul an altar-ofifering on the pile ;

Then, from its lightning-riven ruin, take

Your crushed and bleeding self, and calmly smile.

When loud, and fierce, and wild, a storm sweeps o'er
your rest.

Say that it soothes you — brings you peace again ;
Laugh while the hot steel quivers in your breast,

And ' ' make believe " you love the scorching pain.

See every earthly thing your life is woven round
Fall, drop by drop, until your heart is sieved!

Go mad, and writhe,, and moan upon the ground,
And curse and die, and say that you have prayed
and lived!

Then come to me, as now, and I will take your hand.
And look upon your face, and smile, and say :

" All were not born to hold a magic wand ;
Cheer up, my friend, you must be brave alway. "



WHEN THE ROSES GO. 9I



WHEN THE EOSES GO.

You tell me you love me ; you bid me believe
That never such lover could mean to deceive.
You tell me the tale which a million times
Has been told, and talked, and sung in rhymes :
You rave o'er my " eyes " and my "beautiful hair,"
And swear to be true, as they always swear ;
But the wrinkles will grow, and the roses go,
And lovers are rovers oft, you know,
When the roses go.

I have heard of a woman, sweet and fair,
With dewy lips and shining hair,
And you pledged to her, on your bended knee.
The self-same vow you make to me.
She was fairer than I, I know ;
She was pure and true, and she loved you so j
But the wrinkles will grow, and the roses go —
How she learned that trouble comes, you know,
When the roses go.

You're a man in each outward sense, I trow,
With the stamp of a god on your peerless brow.
You hold my hand in your thrilling clasp.
And my heart grows weak in your subtle grasp,
Till I blush in the light of your tender eyes,
And dream of a far-off paradise —



92 A REGRET.

Almost forgetting that ever from these
Another was turned in her bleak depair.
But the wrinkles will grow, and the roses go-
I will answer you, love, my love, you know,
When the foses go.



A EEGRET.

Close on my heart was resting

A sunny, golden head.
As the dim gray of the twilight

Crept round with noiseless tread.

'* Tell me a 'tory, mamma,"
The blue-eyed baby said,

" 'Bout some itty birdies
In za itty birdie bed.

" 'Bout fen oo was itty

An' ze mens was wakin' hay

An' found free ittie birdies
Wiz za muzzer don away."

" Some other time, my darling ;

Mamma's tired now."
A shade of disappointment

Swept over baby's brow.



A SHATTERED IDOL. 93

The dear blue eyes grew misty ;

O, lips that lived to blame,
That kissed and whispered "sometime"—

That " sometime " never came.

Again the dim, gray twilight

Creeps round with noiseless tread,

But on my heart is resting
No sunny, golden head.

No sweet voice pleads with mamma,

" Tell me a 'tory " now,
And only death can take away.

The shadow on my brow.



A SHATTEEED IDOL.

O blame me not for the cruel words

In a moment of madness said ;
The shadow that fell upon my life

Is cold as the shrouded dead.
Deem not I am hard and heartless ;

My tears are as warm as thine ;
'Twas clay that I crowned and worshiped,

And wept o'er its crumbled shrine.



94 POOR LITTLE JOE.

To me, my passionate, deathless soul,

Was less than his finger-tips ;
He turned away from the gold of my love

For the dross on a wanton's lips.
My faith in his truth, is broken —

Even truth itself is a licj
I have cursed him ! — but I love him,

And I'll love him till I die.



POOR LITTLE JOE.

A ring on the door-bell,

Some one at the door,
Mute asking admittance

Where never before
A stranger in midnight,

In silence and stealth,
Sought access to gain

In a mansion of wealth.
Into the gaslight

A package is borne ;
Quickly from round it

The wrappings are torn.
What is it ? a baby !

What seek you to-night,
So rosy and smiling,

Nor in fear, nor in fright ?



POOR LITTLE JOE. 95

Ah ! little intruder,

What is it you wear
So close to your breast ?

Sure but hand in despair
Could have written the message

Unconscious you bear,
And " loved •" and " God blessed " you

While leaving you there.
Let's see what the story

'Tis telling for you ;
How brief and pathetic ;

But can it be true ?
A mother heart-brokenly

Praying in grief
From hand of a stranger

Her baby's relief.
" He's helpless and homeless,

But stainless as snow ;
Oh, take him and keep him —

My poor little Joe I"

That's all there is of it,

If false or if true ;
Yet long enough seems it,

And sad enough, too.
No love-welcome greeted

The sweet baby face,
In the life that gave his life

There was not a place.



96 POOR LITTLE JOE.

No place for the baby,

There's none for him here,

No heart that may give him
A smile or a tear.

Off to the refuge,

For such, he must go,

He's only a foundling —

. Poor little Joe.

Deserted, forsaken.

Thrust out in the strife,
Adrift on the pitiless

Ocean of life.
What will become of him,

Who may decide
If good or if evil

His life shall betide ?
No tender ca resses

Ever to know.
Nor guidance, nor blessing —

Poor little Joe.



FATE. 97



FATE.



Ruth was a laughing- eyed prattler,
Thoughtless, and happy, and free ;

She planted a seed in the garden,
And said : " It will grow to a tree —
A beautiful blossoming tree."

The birds and the squirrels played round it,

As careless and merry was she,
But no tree ever grew from her planting —
No beautiful, blossoming tree.

Ruth was a winsome-faced maiden,

Happy, and hopeful, and free ;
She planted a seed in the garden,

And smilingly waited to see —
A beautiful, blossoming tree.

She covered the ground up with flowers,

The butterfly came, and the bee,
Bu no tree ever grew from her planting —

No beautiful, blossoming tree.

Ruth was a pale, saddened woman.
Thoughtful, with tremblings and fears;

She planted a seed in the garden,
And watered the place with her tears —

And watched it with tremblings and fears.



98 THE GHOSTS IN THE HEART.

The winds and the rains beat upon it,
The lightnings flashed o'er it in giee ;

But she sleeps 'neath the tree of her planting
A beautiful, blossoming tree.



THE GHOSTS IN THE HEABT.

They come in the hush of the midnight.
In the glare of the noonday start

Out from the graves we made them —
The graves we made in the heart.

There is love with its fickle fancies ;

Its grave was so wide and deep,
And we heaped the mound with oblivion,

But the soul of the love could not sleep.

And hate ! ah, we buried it deeper,

Than all the rest of the train ;
But one word through memory flashing.

And its ghost comes back again.

There are phantoms of sunshiny hours
That fled when the summer-time fled,

And spectres that mock while they haunt us,
Long buried, but never dead.



OLD AUNT LUCY. 99

And ever and ever an hour /

Will come that the heart-wraiths control,

Till down from Eternity's tower
A banshee shall ring for the soul.



OLD AUNT LUCY.

Why into that darkened chamber

Walk you with such noiseless tread ?

No slumbering one will awaken —
The sheeted form is dead.

Why gaze on the rigid features,
So white in death's embrace,

"With such look of awe and pity ?
'Tis only the same old face.

Why touch you now so tender

The hands that silent lay ?
They're only the sunburned fingers

That toiled for you night and day.

Why, now, with tear-dimmed vision,

So softly do you press
Upon the wrhikled forehead

Your lips in sad caress ?



lOO OLD AUNT LUCY,

How much of care had lighted
That lingering, loving kiss,

Had you in life but gave it —
You never thought of this.

No loving hand e'er brightened
Her life with tender care,

No mother's baby-kisses
Were ever hers to share.

Only for others caring,

The long, long years have fled ;
Now, only, they say — the neighbors —

"Poor old Aunt Lucy's dead,"

And they whisper a girl's ambition,
A name in the world to make ;

'Way back in her vanished youth-time,
Gave up for a duty's sake.

But whatever had been the story
Of love, or grief, or woe,

It died with the heart, and no one
Will ever care or know.

The hands were hard and toil-stained,
And sallow the cheeks and chin,

But whiter not the snow-wreath
Than the soul that dwelt within.



UNSPOKEN WORDS. lOI



And methinks a crown resplendent-
Just over the waveless sea —

"With gems of self-denial,
Awaits for such as she.



UNSPOKEN WORDS.

Unspoken words may thrill the heart,

Their meaning be more deeply felt
Than all the glowing oratory

Poured at the shrine where reason knelt.
The fairest pictures art conceives,

The noblest sentiments of mind,
The loveliest, purest gems of thought

Are those which never are defined.

The hand that paints the rainbow dyes

Ne'er leaves a trace its skill to show —
The art that gilds the sunset skies

And tints the flower, we may not know.
Nor may we know the wizard power

Which o'er our being wields control,
Nor how, when silence seals the lips.

Heart speaks to heart and soul to soul.



102 UNSPOKEN WORDS.

We do not know from whence the life

Imbued in crystal drop of rain,
Nor why, when torn and trampled on,

The rose's fragrance will remain.
Nor know we why the tender tone

Will linger when love's dream is fled,
Nor why the smile we loved will live,

Although the face it wreathed be dead.

Some strangely fascinating spell

Steals o'er the heart in ethic's hour ;
We know not what, nor how, nor why,

Still must we own we feel its power —
A power that wakens slumbering dreams,

Intangible emotion swells,
That penetrates the soul's deep fount,

And greets the tide that from it swells.

It is not charm of form or face.

Nor is it long contact of years
That wins this mutual soul response.

This spirit sympathy endears.
A theory by time engraved

From life, one mad impulse may sweep-
A glance may into being start

Vain hopes that nevermore may sleep.
The quiet touch when hands are clasped

Would seemmgly no sense impart,
Yet may it wake a deathless theme

And send it quivering to the heart.



O, TAKE AWAY YOUR FLOWERS. I03

And thus may kindred spirits feel,
Though tone of voice be never heard,

The sweet, impassioned eloquence,
The magic of unspoken words.



O! TAKE AWAY YOUR FLOWERS.

! take your pale camelias back ;

Their soft leaves, waxen white
And odorless, too ill accord

With my dark mood to-night.

I do not want your hot-house flowers,
They're like the love you give —

A something tame and passionless
That breathes but does not live.

You take my hand as though you feared

Your clasp were over-bold.
Your kiss falls light as flake of snow,

And just as calm and cold.

I'd rather have your hatred
Than this lifeless loving claim,

If your heart beat one throb faster
At mention of my name.



104 RAIN.



Leave me, and bind those soulless leaves

A calmer brow above ;
I cannot wear your flowers to night —

I do not want your love.



KAIN.

Drop ! drop ! drop !

With a ceaseless patter fall,
With a sobbing sound on the sodden ground,

And the gray clouds over all.
Dost weep for the parted summer,

O, spirit of the rain ?
For the vanished hours and the faded flowers

That never can come again ?

The farmer smiles at thy weeping,

Hushing the weeping leaves,
And dreams of days m the Autumn haze

And the gathered golden sheave?.
There's a voice of hope, a promise,

In the sound of thy refrain,
And as bright the hours and as fair the flowers

That win come to thee again.



I LOVE HIM FOR HIS EYES. 1 05

And yet in our lives, though knowing

That we hold a scepter's sway,
How oft we turn with the thoughts that burn,

To weep on Autumn day.
Turn from the hopeful future

To weep in grief and pain,
For the vanished hours and the faded flowers

That never can come again.



I LOVE HIM FOE HIS EYES.

They praise the baby's dimpled hands,

His brow so broad and fair ;
They kiss the dainty rose-bud mouth,

Caress the sunny hair.
His lisping words, his tottling steps,

His smiles they praise and prize ;
They love him for his cunning ways,

I love him for his eyes.

The wealth of golden-tmted curls

Old Time will streak with snow ;
The rose-bud mouth so dainty curved

To sterner lines will grow.
The fleeting years will mark with change

Each feature now they prize,
Save only those sweet eyes I love —

I love him for his, eyes.



lo6 ONLY.



Oh, baby, take your eyes away ;

They burn into my heart !
I'll kiss you once, and say good-by,

And hide the tears 'that start ;
But through the years to come and go,

The changeful scenes to rise,
I'll love the little baby boy —

I love him for his eyes.



ONLY.



Only a sentence earnest spoke,
With never a thought to word it,

Fell like balm from the sea of calm.
On the aching heart that heard it.

Only a glance, a scornful smile,
A wavering purpose altered.

Goaded a hand the crime to do
At which before it faltered.

Only a kiss, a love caress,
Tender and trustful given,

Banished a cloud from brow of care,
Made home a woman's Heaven.



somebody's baby's dead. 107

Only a secret, chance disclosed,

Whence secret should be never,
A doubt crept into the heart that loved.

And its light went out forever.

Only a prayer, a wrong confessed,

By suppliant lowly kneeling.
Opened the gate where the angels wait,

Life's Eden field revealing.

Careful then scatter the little things ;

They make life drear and lonely,
Or strew its way with flowers gay —

We live for trifles only.



SOMEBODY'S BABY'S DEAD.

A hearse all draped in mourning,
With white plumes overhead,

Bearing a little coffin —
Somebody's baby's dead.

Upon the velvet cover

Some hand has placed a wreath^
White as the waxen features

Of the baby that Hes beneath.



108 THE WITHERED ROSEBUD.

Out in the graveyard making
A rest for a shining head,

Somebody's heart is breaking,
Somebody's baby's dead.

Over a baby's coffin,

Heaping a mound of clay,

Somebody's hopes are buried
In that Httle grave to-day.

Somebody's home is dreary,
Somebody's sunshine fled ;

Somebody's sad and weary.
Somebody's baby's dead.



THE WITHEEED KOSEBUD.

I gathered you, sweet little rosebud,

With a dew-crown encircling your head ;
Now out of the window I toss you.

Shriveled, and scentless, and dead.
You had opened to wondrous perfection,

Had only my hand let you pass ;
Yet here you have perished for water —

I forgot to put some in the glass.



MY SHIPS HAVE COME FROM SEA. IO9

Ah ! poor little withered, dead rosebud,

How many a weak, human heart,
Too like you, has famishing perished,

When life had but only a start !
Yes, many a heart, little rose-bud,

Loving, and tender, and true,
For water has faded and withered,

And died in its beauty like you.
Not because there was dearth of life's fountain,

Nor the blessing to all might not pass.
But because the strong hand which it clung to

Forgot to put some in its glass.



MY SHIPS HAVE COME FKOM SEA.

You are watching a ship, O maiden fair,
With parted lips and wistful air.
The ship that out from the sheltered bay
With white sails spread moves slow away ;
And I know, my girl, the thoughts that burn
In your heart are of that ship's return.
Ah ! I know so well how your pulses beat,
With the great sea sobbing at your feet ;
And the yellow stars in southern skies
Are brighter not than your love-bright eyes.



no MY SHIPS HAVE COME FROM SEA,

I, too, have stood on the sea-wet sand,

And tearful waved a farewell hand,

And watched with many a longing prayer.

My face, like yours, was young and fair,

And my eyes were bright as the diamond's glow

They've lost their sparkle long ago.

I stand alone on the beach to-day,

Watching the ships that sail away ;

But never a sail from over the sea

The flowing tide will bring to me.

My ships have come from sea.

The first was builded with childish hand ;
It floated away a castle grand —
A beautiful bubble with rambow hues,
Lined with the crystal of morning dews ;
To break at my feet by the sunny sea,
A beautiful bubble came back to me —
Came back from my ship at sea.

I fashioned another in gladsome way
And sent it forth on a summer day.

I see it yet, a fairer craft,
Never at danger mocking laughed ;
Its shrouds were the sheen of happy hours,
Its helm a wreath of orange flowers ;
And I freighted it down with love and truth,
The golden hopes of my sunny youth.



MY SHIPS HAVE COME FROM SEA.

Had it lived the storm — but it could not be,
A stranded wreck on the surf-washed lea,
My ship came home from sea.

And then a smiling fairy bark,
A fragile, precious-freighted ark,
Out on life's ocean drear and dark.
And I prayed to God as I never before,
To shield this bark from the tempest's roar ;
To spare me this — but it could not be.
A tiny coffin came back to me —

Came back from my ship at sea.

With reckless hand I launched again,
A venture on the treacherous main,
Bound for ambition's dizzy court ;
Sailed from a hopeless, loveless port ;
With gloomy walls whose silence chilled.
With ghostly haunting memories filled.
With never a breath of the roses dead ;
Never a rest for a weary head,
Never a dream of a sweet to be,
Hopeless, loveless still, to me,

My ship came home from sea.

The last, and least, of all the ships
Fashioned with hands, and heart, and lips,
I pushed from shore with its decks untrod,
And the freight it bore was my faith in God.



112 MOUNT WHITNEY.

I recked not whither its way, nor when,
Nor how, if ever, 'twould come again.
And this, alone, came back to me.
Rich-laden from the stormy sea.
And so, sweet maiden,' while your dreams
Paint fairest all chat fairest seems,
I stand with you and watch to-day
The ship that sails from the shore away ; ,
But never a sail from over the sea
The flowing tide will bring to m.e —
My ships have come from sea.



MOUNT WHITNEY.

Stern sentinel of Pacific's broad embrace.

Thou standest drear and lone ;
The sun's first glance falls on thy snowy face ;

Thou hear'st the ocean's moan.
With foreheads bared, the hills enclose thee round ;

Winds woo thee o'er in storm and zephyr sweet.
And summer, with her girdle loosely bound.

Like some fair Ruth, lies blushing at thy feet.
No bird on thy bleak summit seeks its rest ;

No flower e'er blossoms on thy chilling breast.
The nations rise, and die, and rise again,

And still thou standest lone, and drear, and cold-



LILIES.

Immovable, unchangeable as when

The first-born century above thee rolled.

Thy vigil keep;, O Mount, till on the brink
Of Chaos Time shall break his flight,

Wrapped in thy solitary grandeur sink,
Like lost Atlantis, in thy might.



H3



LILIES.

With eyes a-dimmed and downcast,
She stood at the foot of the cross,

Bowing, in deep submission.
Under the weight of her loss,

And she held in her hand a lily.
Close at the foot of the cross.

A beautiful, perfect lily.
To lay at the Savior's feet ;

Sign in her silent sorrow —

Of her worship — passion sweet —

A snowy, a sinless offering.
To lay at the Savior's feet.

" Behold thy mother and brethren ! "
A voice came up from the crowd
To the ear of the dying Savior —
The Savior murmuring aloud :

" These are thy mother and brethren ! '
Looked on the muttering crowd.



1 14 LILIES.

And the mother's heart that was in her
Swelled with a jealous fear,

And down in the cup of the lily
Dropped she a burning tear —

Dropped on the snow of the lily
The blot of a selfish fear.

Dropped in the cup of the lily
A tear that was hot with pain,

And the snowy heart of the lily
Was snowy never again.

The wax-white heart had withered
In the salt of its burning pain.

And ever the beautiful lilies

Are placed at the feet of the Lord.

Baptized with the tear of a mother,
Keep they, a sinless ward —

Sign of a silent worship

At the cross of the risen Lord.

And ever and ever the lilies
We lay with a smile or a tear,

A sacred gift on the altar

Of the idols we worship here,

But deep in each lily's chalice
Is the yellow stain of a tear.



TO E. R. W. 115



TO E. E. W.

You asked me to write you a poem

That eve when we stood alone
At the foot of the convent garden —

We heard in its softened tone
The half-hur,hed noise of the city ;

The moon, just arisen, shown
Through the shivering, rustling locusts.

In a flood of quivering bars,
And the wind was full of fragrance.

And the night was full of stars.
The hour itself was a poem,

One of those "gems in the rough,"
That we quit with a sigh the reading —

They are never long enough.

You asked me to write you a poem,

And your eyes looked into mine —
O, your eyes were the grandest poem !

Full of a theme divine,
Like the holy calm that severs

The day and the night apart,
The grandest, the sweetest of poems

A woman e'er learned by heart.



Il6 TO E. R. W.

What little things one will remember !

I can see yet the moon on your coat,
I can hear what you said of the violets

Pinned in the lace at my throat.

You asked me to write you a poem;

I answered, " I will, sometime ;"
And I- thought — of the place and the season

I will weave him a golden rhyme.
For the sound of a song in the distance

Awaited the touch of my pen —
Reason had lost her resistance,

The world was a poem then !
Alas ! who may vesture the graces,

Who may set into rythmical bars
Of measure, the measureless spaces,

Or gather the gleam of the stars ?
Who can wrest from a rose-leaf its fragrance ?


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