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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA
DAVIS ,



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*
*



**

* i *









THE WORKS OF
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES

ILLUSTRATED WITH STEEL PORTRAITS
AND PHOTOGRAVURES

IN THIRTEEN VOLUMES
VOLUME XII



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T 40



Dr. Holmes in 1849



THE POETICAL WORKS



OF



OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES



IN TWO VOLUMES
VOLUME I.



EARLIER POEMS, SONGS IN MANY KEYS
POEMS OF THE CLASS OF '2Q, ETC.




BOSTON AND NEW YORK
HOUGHTON; MIFFLTN AND COMPANY



LIBRARY

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
PAVTS



Copyright, 1850, 1858, 1859, 1861, 1862, 1865, 1874, 1875, 1877, 1878, 1880, 1881,
1882, 1886, 1887, 1886, 1889, 1890, and 1891,

BY OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES; TICKNOR, REED & FIELDS; JAMES R.
OSGOOD & CO. AND HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN & CO.

Copyright, 1892,
BY HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN & CO.

All rights reserved.



The Riverside Press, Cambridge, Mass., U. S. A.
Electrotyped and Printed by H. O. Houghtou & Company.



CONTENTS



PAGE

TO MY READERS xiii

EARLIER POEMS (1830-1836).'

OLD IRONSIDES . , 1

THE LAST LEAF 3

THE CAMBRIDGE CHURCHYARD 5

To AN INSECT ..... . . ' . 9

THE DILEMMA 11

MY AUNT . 12

REFLECTIONS OF A PROUD PEDESTRIAN ... 14

DAILY TRIALS, BY A SENSITIVE MAN ... 15

EVENING, BY A TAILOR 17

THE DORCHESTER GIANT ...... 19

To THE PORTRAIT OF "A LADY" .... 21

THE COMET 22

THE MUSIC-GRINDERS 25

THE TREADMILL SONG 28

THE SEPTEMBER GALE 29

THE HEIGHT OF THE RIDICULOUS .... 32

THE LAST READER 33

POETRY : A METRICAL ESSAY 35

ADDITIONAL POEMS (1837-1848).

THE PILGRIM'S VISION 60

THE STEAMBOAT . 65

LEXINGTON . 67

ON LENDING A PUNCH-BOWL 69



vi CONTENTS

A SONG FOB THE CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION OF HAR
VARD COLLEGE, 1836 73

THE ISLAND HUNTING-SONG 75

DEPARTED DAYS 77

THE ONLY DAUGHTER 78

SONG WRITTEN FOR THE DlNNER GIVEN TO CHARLES
DICKENS, BY THE YOUNG MEN OF BOSTON, FEB
RUARY 1, 1842 81

LINES RECITED AT THE BERKSHIRE JUBILEE . 82

NUX POSTCCENATICA . . 84

VERSES FOR AFTER-DINNER . . . . : . 89

A MODEST REQUEST, COMPLIED WITH AFTER THE

DINNER AT PRESIDENT ^EVERETT'S INAUGURATION . 93

THE PARTING WORD . . . . . . 101

A SONG OF OTHER DAYS . , . . . . 103

SONG FOR A TEMPERANCE DINNER TO WHICH LADIES

WERE INVITED (NEW YORK MERCANTILE LIBRARY

ASSOCIATION, NOVEMBER, 1842) . . * . 105

A SENTIMENT 106

A RHYMED LESSON (URANIA) . . . . .107

AN AFTER-DINNER POEM (TERPSICHORE) . . 134

MEDICAL POEMS.

THE MORNING VISIT 143

THE Two ARMIES . . . ... . 147

THE STETHOSCOPE SONG . . . ". . 148

EXTRACTS FROM A MEDICAL POEM . . . . . 152

A POEM FOR THE MEETING OF THE AMERICAN MEDI
CAL ASSOCIATION AT NEW YORK, MAY 5, 1853 . 154

A SENTIMENT . . 158

RIP VAN WINKLE, M. D. .,'.'.-. . . . 159

SONGS IN MANY KEYS (1849-1861).

PROLOGUE ' 1 . 170

AGNES . . . . -. . . . . .171

THE PLOUGHMAN . 195



IP

CONTENTS vii

SPRING 197

THE STUDY ., .; .'. .. . ., . .. .-.". 199

THE BELLS . . .,..,.* ; : . .- 202

NON-RESISTANCE . ., , .... 204

THE MORAL BULLY . . ... 205

THE MIND'S DIET . .. .... .. . ... 207

OUR LIMITATIONS . . . .. . - -.-' 208

THE OLD PLAYER . '' ., . . . .... . 209

A POEM. DEDICATION OF THE PITTSFIELD CEME
TERY, SEPTEMBER 9, 1850 ... . .213

To GOVERNOR SWAIN . . . .* . . 217

To AN ENGLISH FRIEND . . ......... .219

AFTER A LECTURE ON WORDSWORTH . . . 220

AFTER A LECTURE ON MOORE . . . . . . . 224

AFTER A LECTURE ON KEATS . . . . 226

AFTER A LECTURE ON SHELLEY . ... 227

AT THE CLOSE OF A COURSE OF LECTURES . . 229

THE HUDSON . 231

THE NEW EDEN ....... 232

SEMI-CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION OF THE NEW ENG
LAND SOCIETY, NEW YORK, DECEMBER 22, 1855 . 237

FAREWELL TO J. R. LOWELL 239

FOR THE MEETING OF THE BURNS CLUB, 1856 . . 240

ODE FOR WASHINGTON'S BIRTHDAY . . . 242

BIRTHDAY OF DANIEL WEBSTER , . . . . 244

THE VOICELESS . ... ....... . . . . 247

THE Two STREAMS . . . .... . .248

THE PROMISE . . . . .'..*. . , 249

Avis 4 . . . ... ...... : . ,'..... . 250

THE LIVING TEMPLE . . . . ... .* ... 252

AT A BIRTHDAY FESTIVAL: TO J. R. LOWELL . . 254

A BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE TO J. F. CLARKE t < .. 256

THE GRAY CHIEF. .. .. . .... * -. . 257

THE LAST LOOK: W. W. SWAIN . 258



Vlii CONTENTS

IN MEMORY OF CHARLES WENTWORTH UPHAM, JR. . 260

MARTHA . ... . . . . 261

MEETING OF THE ALUMNI OF HARVARD COLLEGE . 262

THE PARTING SONG . . . . ... 267

FOR THE MEETING OF THE NATIONAL SANITARY ASSO
CIATION . . . . . . ... . 269

FOR THE BURNS CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION, 1859 . 271

AT A MEETING OF FRIENDS . . . . . 273

BOSTON COMMON : THREE PICTURES . . . . 276

THE OLD MAN OF THE SEA . . . . . 278

INTERNATIONAL ODE . . . . . ' . 281

VIVE LA FRANCE . . . . . . . . 282

BROTHER JONATHAN'S LAMENT FOR SISTER CARO
LINE ., . . . 284

POEMS OF THE CLASS OF '29 (1851-1889).

BILL AND JOE . . . . . . . . 287

A SONG OF "TWENTY-NINE" 289

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS . . . * . 292

AN IMPROMPTU . . 293

THE OLD MAN DREAMS . . . * " ., .295

REMEMBER FORGET . . ... . . 296

OUR INDIAN SUMMER . . . . . . .299

MARE RUBRUM ... . . . . . 301

THE BOYS . . . . . .... .303

LINES . . . ... . . \ . 305

A VOICE OF THE LOYAL NORTH .... 307

J. D. R. . . .... . . . 309

VOYAGE OF THE GOOD SHIP UNION .... 309

" CHOOSE YOU THIS DAY WHOM YE WILL SERVE " . 313

F. W. C. .... . . . . . . . 315

THE LAST CHARGE 318

OUR OLDEST FRIEND 319

SHERMAN 's IN SAVANNAH 321

MY ANNUAL . 322



CONTENTS ix

ALL HERE ......... 325

ONCE MORE . . . . " V . 328

THE OLD CRUISER . . . * -. r * 332

HYMN FOR THE CLASS-MEETING . . . . 335

EVEN-SONG . . . . . V s . 336

THE SMILING LISTENER . . . . 341

OUR SWEET SINGER : J. A. . . . . 344

H. C. M., H. S., J. K W. . ... . . 347

WHAT I HAVE COME TOR . . . . 349

OUR BANKER . ... . i . . 350

FOR CLASS-MEETING . . . . *' ' . - . 353

"Ac AMICOS" -. -.- . . . . . . 356

HOW NOT TO SETTLE IT . . . . . . 359

THE LAST SURVIVOR . . . . . . .364

THE ARCHBISHOP AND GIL BIAS . . . . 369

THE SHADOWS -. . . . . ... 373

BENJAMIN PEIRCE . . . . . . 375

IN THE TWILIGHT 377

A LOVING-CUP SONG 381

THE GIRDLE OF FRIENDSHIP 383

THE LYRE OF ANACREON 384

THE OLD TUNE . . . . ' .. . . . 386

THE BROKEN CIRCLE 387

THE ANGEL-THIEF 389

AFTER THE CURFEW 390

POFJMS FROM THE AUTOCRAT OF THE BREAK
FAST-TABLE (1857-1858).

THE CHAMBERED NAUTILUS 393

SUN AND SHADOW 394

MUSA 395

A PARTING HEALTH : To J. L. MOTLEY . . . 398

WHAT WE ALL THINK 400

SPRING HAS COME 401

PROLOGUE . . . .' . . . . . 404



x CONTENTS

LATTER-DAY WARNINGS . ** . . ... . 407

ALBUM VERSES ...-.,' .... .' . 408

A GOOD TIME GOING ! . . ... , 409

THE LAST BLOSSOM ;..... . 412

CONTENTMENT . . . . . . . . . 414

^ESTIVATION . . .,.-.. . . . 416

THE DEACON'S MASTERPIECE ; OR, THE WONDERFUL

" ONE-HOSS SHAY " ..... . . 417

PARSON TURELL'S LEGACY ; OR, THE PRESIDENT'S

OLD ARM-CHAIR . ..... . . . 421

ODE FOR A SOCIAL MEETING, WITH SLIGHT ALTERA
TIONS BY A TEETOTALER 427

POEMS FROM THE PROFESSOR AT THE BREAK
FAST-TABLE (1858-1859).

UNDER THE VIOLETS . . - 428

HYMN OF TRUST 430

A SUN-DAY HYMN 430

THE CROOKED FOOTPATH . . . ... 431

IRIS, HER BOOK . . f . , i . . 433

ROBINSON OF LEYDEN 435

ST. ANTHONY THE REFORMER 437

THE OPENING OF THE PIANO 438

MIDSUMMER 440

DE SAUTY . . . ' . . . . . " . 442

NOTES ,445



LIST OF ILLUSTKATIONS



PAGE

OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES AT THE AGE OF 40. Engraved

on Steel, by J. A. J. Wilcox Frontispiece

THE LAST LEAF .... Howard Pyle 4

EDWARD EVERETT 94

AGNES Mary Hallock Foote .... 178

JAMES FREEMAN CLARKE 256

BILL AND JOE William T. Smedley . . . .288

THE ONE-HOSS SHAY . . . Howard Pyle 420



TO MY READERS

NAY, blame me not ; I might have spared
Your patience many a trivial verse,

Yet these my earlier welcome shared.
So, let the better shield the worse.

And some might say, " Those ruder songs
Had freshness which the new have lost ;

To spring the opening leaf belongs,
The chestnut-burs await the frost.'*

When those I wrote, my locks were brown.,
When these I write ah, well-a-day !

The autumn thistle's silvery down
Is not the purple bloom of May !

Go, little book, whose pages hold

Those garnered years in loving trust ;

How long before your blue and gold
Shall fade and whiten in the dust ?

O sexton of the alcoved tomb,

Where souls in leathern cerements lie,

Tell me each living poet's doom !
How long before his book shall die ?

It matters little, soon or late,

A day, a month, a year, an age,



xiv TO MY READERS

I read oblivion in its date,
And Finis on its title-page.

Before we sighed, our griefs were told ;

Before we smiled, our joys were sung ;
And all our passions shaped of old

In accents lost to mortal tongue.

In vain a fresher mould we seek,
Can all the varied phrases tell

That Babel's wandering children speak
How thrushes sing or lilacs smell ?

Caged in the poet's lonely heart,

Love wastes unheard its tenderest tone ;

The soul that sings must dwell apart,
Its inward melodies unknown.

Deal gently with us, ye who read !

Our largest hope is unfulfilled,
The promise still outruns the deed,

The tower, but not the spire, we build.

Our whitest pearl we never find ;

Our ripest fruit we never reach ;
The flowering moments of the mind

Drop half their petals in our speech.

These are my blossoms ; if they wear
One streak of morn or evening's glow,

Accept them ; but to me more fair
The buds of song that never blow.

April 8, 1862.



EARLIER POEMS

1830-1836



OLD IRONSIDES

This was the popular name by which the frigate Constitution
was known. The poem was first printed in the Boston Daily
Advertiser, at the time when it was proposed to break up the
old ship as unfit for service. I subjoin the paragraph which
led to the writing of the poem. It is from the Advertiser of
Tuesday, September 14, 1830 :

" Old Ironsides. It has been affirmed upon good authority
that the Secretary of the Navy has recommended to the Board of
Navy Commissioners to dispose of the frigate Constitution. Since
it has been understood that such a step was in contemplation we
have heard but one opinion expressed, and that in decided disap
probation of the measure. Such a national object of interest,
so endeared to our national pride as Old Ironsides is, should
never by any act of our government cease to belong to the Navy,
so long as our country is to be found upon the map of nations.
In England it was lately determined by the Admiralty to cut the
Victory, a one-hundred gun ship (which it will be recollected bore
the flag of Lord Nelson at the battle of Trafalgar,) down to a
seventy-four, but so loud were the lamentations of the people upon
the proposed measure that the intention was abandoned. We
confidently anticipate that the Secretary of the Navy will in like
manner consult the general wish in regard to the Constitution, and
either let her remain in ordinary or rebuild her whenever the pub
lic service may require." New York Journal of Commerce,



2 EARLIER POEMS

The poem -was an impromptu outburst of feeling and was pub
lished on the next day but one after reading the above para
graph.

AY, tear her tattered ensign down !

Long has it waved on high,
And many an eye has danced to see

That banner in the sky ;
Beneath it rung the battle shout,

And burst the cannon's roar ;
The meteor of the ocean air

Shall sweep the clouds no more.

Her deck, once red with heroes' blood,

Where knelt the vanquished foe,
When winds were hurrying o'er the flood,

And waves were white below,
No more shall feel the victor's tread,

Or know the conquered knee ;
The harpies of the shore shall pluck

The eagle of the sea!

Oh better that her shattered hulk

Should sink beneath the wave ;
Her thunders shook the mighty deep,

And there should be her grave ;
Nail to the mast her holy flag,

Set every threadbare sail,
And give her to the god of storms,

The lightning and the gale I



THE LAST LEAF 3



THE LAST LEAF

This poem was suggested by the appearance in one of our
streets of a venerable relic of the Revolution, said to be one of
the party who threw the tea overboard in Boston Harbor. He
was a fine monumental specimen in his cocked hat and knee
breeches, with his buckled shoes and his sturdy cane. The smile
with which I, as a young- man, greeted him, meant no disrespect to
an honored fellow-citizen whose costume was out of date, but whose
patriotism never changed with years. I do not recall any earlier
example of this form of verse, which was commended by the fas
tidious Edgar Allan Poe, who made a copy of the whole poem
which I have in his own handwriting. Good Abraham Lincoln
had a great liking for the poem, and repeated it from memory to
Governor Andrew, as the governor himself told me.

I SAW him once before,
As he passed by the door,

And again

The pavement stones resound,
As he totters o'er the ground

With his cane.

They say that in his prime,
Ere the priming-knife of Time

Cut him down,
Not a better man was found
By the Crier on his round

Through the town.

But now he walks the streets,
And he looks at all he meets

Sad and wan,

And he shakes his feeble head,
That it seems as if he said,

" They are gone."



EARLIER POEMS

The mossy marbles rest

On the lips that he has prest

In their bloom,

And the names he loved to hear
Have been carved for many a year

On the tomb.

My grandmamma has said
Poor old lady, she is dead

Long ago

That he had a Koman nose,
And his cheek was like a rose

In the snow.

But now his nose is thin,
And it rests upon his chin

Like a staff,

And a crook is in his back.
And a melancholy crack

In his laugh.

I know it is a sin
For me to sit and grin

At him here ;

But the old three-cornered hat,
And the breeches, and all that,

Are so queer!

And if I should live to be
The last leaf upon the tree
In the spring,




The Last Leaf



THE CAMBRIDGE CHURCHYARD i

Let them smile, as I do now,
At the old forsaken bough
Where I cling.

THE CAMBRIDGE CHURCHYARD

OUK ancient church ! its lowly tower,

Beneath the loftier spire,
Is shadowed when the sunset hour

Clothes the tall shaft in fire ;
It sinks beyond the distant eye

Long ere the glittering vane,
High wheeling in the western sky,

Has faded o'er the plain.

Like Sentinel and Nun, they keep

Their vigil on the green ;
One seems to guard, and one to weep,

The dead that lie between ;
And both roll out, so full and near,

Their music's mingling waves,
They shake the grass, whose, pennoned spear

Leans on the narrow graves.

The stranger parts the flaunting weeds,

Whose seeds the winds have strown
So thick, beneath the line he reads,

They shade the sculptured stone ;
The child unveils his clustered brow,

And ponders for a while
The graven willow's pendent bough,

Or rudest cherub's smile.



EARLIER POEMS

But what to them the dirge, the knell ?

These were the mourner's share,
The sullen clang, whose heavy swell

Throbbed through the beating air ;
The rattling cord, the rolling stone,

The shelving sand that slid,
And, far beneath, with hollow tone

Rung on the coffin's lid.

The slumberer's mound grows fresh and green,

Then slowly disappears ;
The mosses creep, the gray stones lean,

Earth hides his date and years ;
But, long before the once-loved name

Is sunk or worn away,
No lip the silent dust may claim,

That pressed the breathing clay.

Go where the ancient pathway guides,

See where our sires laid down
Their smiling babes, their cherished brides,

The patriarchs of the town ;
Hast thou a tear for buried love ?

A sigh for transient power ?
All that a century left above,

Go, read it in an hour !

The Indian's shaft, the Briton's ball,

The sabre's thirsting edge,
The hot shell, shattering in its fall,

The bayonet's rending wedge,



THE CAMBRIDGE CHURCHYARD

Here scattered death ; yet, seek the spot,
No trace thine eye can see,

No altar, and they need it not
Who leave their children free !

Look where the turbid rain-drops stand

In many a chiselled square ;
The knightly crest, the shield, the brand

Of honored names were there ;
Alas ! for every tear is dried

Those blazoned tablets knew,
Save when the icy marble's side

Drips with the evening dew.

Or gaze upon yon pillared stone,

The empty urn of pride ;
There stand the Goblet and the Sun,

What need of more beside ?
Where lives the memory of the dead,

Who made their tomb a toy ?
Whose ashes press that nameless bed ?

Go, ask the village boy !

Lean o'er the slender western wall,

Ye ever-roaming girls ;
The breath that bids the blossom fall

May lift your floating curls,
To sweep the simple lines that tell

An exile's date and doom ;
And sigh, for where his daughters dwell,

They wreathe the stranger's tomb.



8 EARLIER POEMS

And one amid these shades was born,

Beneath this turf who lies,
Once beaming as the summer's morn,

That closed her gentle eyes ;
If sinless angels love as we,

Who stood thy grave beside,
Three seraph welcomes waited thee,

The daughter, sister, bride !

I wandered to thy buried mound

When earth was hid below
The level of the glaring ground,

Choked to its gates with snow,
And when with summer's flowery waves

The lake of verdure rolled,
As if a Sultan's white-robed slaves

Had scattered pearls and gold.

Nay, the soft pinions of the air,

That lift this trembling tone,
Its breath of love may almost bear

To kiss thy funeral stone ;
And, now thy smiles have passed away,

For all the joy they gave,
May sweetest dews and warmest ray

Lie on thine early grave !

When damps beneath and storms above
Have bowed these fragile towers,

Still o'er the graves yon locust grove
Shall swing its Orient flowers ;



TO AN INSECT 9

And I would ask no mouldering bust,

If e'er this humble line,
Which breathed a sigh o'er other's dust,

Might call a tear on mine.



TO AN INSECT

The Katydid is " a species of grasshopper found in the United
States, so called from the sound which it makes." Worcester.

I used to hear this insect in Providence, Rhode Island, but I
do not remember hearing it in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where
I passed my boyhood. It is well known in other towns in the
neighborhood of Boston.

I LOVE to hear thine earnest voice,

Wherever thou art hid,
Thou testy little dogmatist,

Thou pretty Katydid !
Thou mindest me of gentlefolks,

Old gentlefolks are they,
Thou say'st an undisputed thing

In such a solemn way.

Thou art a female, Katydid !

I know it by the trill
That quivers through thy piercing notes,

So petulant and shrill ;
I think there is a knot of you

Beneath the hollow tree,
A knot of spinster Katydids,

Do Katydids drink tea ?

Oh tell me where did Katy live,
And what did Katy do ?



10 EARLIER POEMS

And was she very fair and young,
And yet so wicked, too ?

Did Katy love a naughty man,

Or kiss more cheeks than one ?

I warrant Katy did no more

Than many a Kate has done.

Dear me ! I '11 tell you all about

My fuss with little Jane,
And Ann, with whom I used to walk

So often down the lane,
And all that tore their locks of black,

Or wet their eyes of blue,
Pray tell me, sweetest Katydid,

What did poor Katy do?

Ah no ! the living oak shall crash,

That stood for ages still,
The rock shall rend its mossy base

And thunder down the hill,
Before the little Katydid

Shall add one word, to tell
The mystic story of the maid

Whose name she knows so well.

Peace to the ever-murmuring race !

And when the latest one
Shall fold in death her feeble wings

Beneath the autumn sun,
Then shall she raise her fainting voice,

And lift her drooping lid,
And then the child of future years

Shall hear what Katy did.



THE DILEMMA 11



THE DILEMMA

Now, by the blessed Paphian queen,
Who heaves the breast of sweet sixteen 5
By every name I cut on bark
Before my morning star grew dark ;
By Hymen's torch, by Cupid's dart,
By all that thrills the beating heart ;
The bright black eye, the melting blue,
I cannot choose between the two.

I had a vision in my dreams ;
I saw a row of twenty beams ;
From every beam a rope was hung,
In every rope a lover swung ;
I asked the hue of every eye
That bade each luckless lover die ;
Ten shadowy lips said, heavenly blue,
And ten accused the darker hue.

I asked a matron which she deemed
With fairest light of beauty beamed ;
She answered, some thought both were fair,
Give her blue eyes and golden hair.
I might have liked her judgment well,
But, as she spoke, she rung the bell,
And all her girls, nor small nor few,
Came marching in, their eyes were blue.

I asked a maiden ; back she flung

The locks that round her forehead hung,



12 EARLIER POEMS

And turned her eye, a glorious one,
Bright as a diamond in the sun,
On me, until beneath its rays
I felt as if my hair would blaze ;
She liked all eyes but eyes of green ;
She looked at me ; what could she mean ?

Ah ! many lids Love lurks between,
Nor heeds the coloring of his screen ;
And when his random arrows fly,
The victim falls, but knows not why.
Gaze not upon his shield of jet,
The shaft upon the string is set ;
Look not beneath his azure veil,
Though every limb were cased in mail.

Well, both might make a martyr break
The chain that bound him to the stake ;
And both, with but a single ray,
Can melt our very hearts away ;
And both, when balanced, hardly seem
To stir the scales, or rock the beam ;
But that is dearest, all the while,
That wears for us the sweetest smile.



MY AUNT

MY aunt ! my dear unmarried aunt !

Long years have o'er her flown ;
Yet still she strains the aching clasp

That binds her virgin zone ;



MY AUNT 13

I know it hurts her, though she looks

As cheerful as she can ;
Her waist is ampler than her life,

For life is but a span.

My aunt ! my poor deluded aunt !

Her hair is almost gray ;
Why will she train that winter curl

In such a spring-like way ?
How can she lay her glasses down,

And say she reads as well,
When through a double convex lens

She just makes out to spell ?

Her father grandpapa! forgive

This erring lip its smiles
Vowed she should make the finest girl

Within a hundred miles ;
He sent her to a stylish school ;

'T was in her thirteenth June ;
And with her, as the rules required,

" Two towels and a spoon."

They braced my aunt against a board,

To make her straight and tall ;
They laced her up, they starved her down,

To make her light and small ;
They pinched her feet, they singed her hair,

They screwed it up with pins ;
Oh never mortal suffered more

In penance for her sins.



14 EARLIER POEMS

So, when my precious aunt was done,
My grandsire brought her back ;
(By daylight, lest some rabid youth

Might follow on the track ;)
" Ah ! " said my grandsire, as he shook

Some powder in his pan,
" What could this lovely creature do
Against a desperate man ! "

Alas ! nor chariot, nor barouche,

Nor bandit cavalcade,
Tore from the trembling father's arms

His all-accomplished maid.
For her how happy had it been !

And Heaven had spared to me
To see one sad, ungathered rose

On my ancestral tree.



REFLECTIONS OF A PROUD PEDESTRIAN

I SAW the curl of his waving lash,
And the glance of his knowing eye,

And I knew that he thought he was cutting a dash,
As his steed went thundering by.

And he may ride in the rattling gig,

Or flourish the Stanhope gay,
And dream that he looks exceeding big

To the people that walk in the way ;

But he shall think, when the night is still,
On the stable-boy's gathering numbers,



DAILY TRIALS 15

And the ghost of many a veteran bill
Shall hover around his slumbers ;

The ghastly dun shall worry his sleep,
And constables cluster around him,

And he shall creep from the wood-hole deep
Where their spectre eyes have found him !

Ay ! gather your reins, and crack your thong,

And bid your steed go faster ;
He does not know, as he scrambles along,

That he has a fool for his master ;

And hurry away on your lonely ride,
Nor deign from the mire to save me ;

I will paddle it stoutly at your side
With the tandem that nature gave me !



DAILY TRIALS

BY A SENSITIVE MAN

OH, there are times

When all this fret and tumult that we hear
Do seem more stale than to the sexton's ear

His own dull chimes.

Ding dong ! ding dong !
The world is in a simmer like a sea
Over a pent volcano, woe is me

All the day long !



16 EARLIER POEMS

From crib to shroud !
Nurse o'er our cradles screameth lullaby,
And friends in boots tramp round us as we die,

Snuffling aloud.

At morning's call

The small-voiced pug-dog welcomes in the sun,


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