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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES



SONGS IN THE
COMMON CHORD



By Amelia . Barr

The Paper Cap

An Orkney Maid

Christine

Joan

Profit and Loss

Three Score and Ten

The Measure of a Man

The Winning of Lucia

Playing with Fire

All the Days of My Life

Songs in the Common Chord

D. APPLETON AND COMPANY
Publishers New York

188 H



SONGS IN THE
COMMON CHORD

SONGS FOR EVERYONE TO SING,

TUNED TO THE C MAJOR CHORD

OF THIS LIFE

BY

AMELIA E. BARR

iUTHOR OF "THE BOW OF ORANGE RIBBON,"

"JOAN," "ALL THE DAYS OF MY LIFE,"

"THE PAPER CAP," ETC.

INTRODUCTION BY

JOSEPH C. LINCOLN




D. APPLETON AND COMPANY

NEW YORK LONDON

MCMXIX



COPYRIGHT, 1919. BY
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY



PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA



"I SAY TO MY MAKER
THANKS, FOR THE DAY'S WORK
THAT MY LORD GIVES ME." Beowulf



2227795



INTRODUCTION
BY JOSEPH C. LINCOLN

A hundred humble songsters trill
The notes that to their lays belong,

Where just one nightingale might fill
The place with its transcendent song.

Fame comes to men, and with its smile
A soul with lasting greatness cloaks,

And leaves a thousand else the while

To be for aye just common folks.
*****

Fate has not lifted them above

The level of the human plane;
They share with men a fellow-love

In touch with pleasure and with pain.
One great, far-reaching brotherhood,

With common burdens, common yokes,
And common wrongs and common good

God's army of just common folks.
From "A Book of Verses," by NIXON WATERMAN.

After all, what or who is it that makes this
world go and keep on going? Not the world of
the astronomer whirling through space, but the
everyday world we live in, the world of affairs,
little as well as big, the world of daily tasks, of
vii



INTRODUCTION
BY JOSEPH C. LINCOLN

A hundred humble songsters trill
The notes that to their lays belong,

Where just one nightingale might fill
The place with its transcendent song.

Fame comes to men, and with its smile
A soul with lasting greatness cloaks,

And leaves a thousand else the while

To be for aye just common folks.

*****

Fate has not lifted them above

The level of the human plane;
They share with men a fellow-love

In touch with pleasure and with pain.
One great, far-reaching brotherhood,

With common burdens, common yokes,
And common wrongs and common good

God's army of just common folks.
From "A Book of Verses," by NIXON WATERMAN.

After all, what or who is it that makes this
world go and keep on going? Not the world of
the astronomer whirling through space, but the
everyday world we live in, the world of affairs,
little as well as big, the world of daily tasks, of
vii



J



Vlll INTRODUCTION

bread and butter, of laughter and tears, of work
and play, of bitter and sweet who, among us
mortals, do the most to keep that world spinning
on and on and on? All help, of course, including
the very high and the very low, but high or low
count for little in comparison with the multi
tude between, those of whom Mr. Waterman
sings in his poem, the mighty multitude of every
day men and women who are neither rich nor
poor, neither geniuses nor imbeciles, neither
saints nor criminals but just "common folks."

John Jones keeps the grocery in Jonesville.
It isn't a very big grocery store, for Jonesville
is not a very big place, but it supplies the necessi
ties of life to the people of the village and the
neighborhood. John Jones is not, largely speak
ing, an important personage in comparison with
King Solomon or Socrates, Julius Caesar or
Shakespeare, or Washington, to mention at ran
dom a few fixed stars scattered about the firma
ment, he would not shine nor even twinkle. As
a financier he is no Rothschild, as a tradesman
he is far from being a merchant prince. John
Jones of Jonesville is distinctly not a superman.

And yet John Jones is just as distinctly a valu
able asset to the world in which he lives. Though
not a Solomon, he is far from being a fool;



INTRODUCTION ix

though not a Rothschild he is far from being a
waster or a spendthrift. His is a good grocery
store and he takes a pride in it and its reputation.
He is a good citizen, a member of the board of
selectmen in his town, a director of the bank, a
churchgoer whose pew rent is promptly paid.
He is a good husband, a kind father, a pleasant
neighbor. The house in which he lives is not
permitted to fall for lack of paint, the grass in
his yard is cut when it should be.

Mrs. John Jones is a fitting mate for her hus
band. She manages his household as, in her
opinion, a household should be managed. She
rears their children as she thinks children should
be reared. She sees that they are clean and re
spectably dressed, that they are diligent in school,
and in their seats at Sunday School on the Sab
bath. She attends the sewing-circle, is a member
of the Grange, or the Village Improvement So
ciety, or the Neighborhood Club. She is thrifty
and industrious, and eminently sensible and self-
respecting.

Mr. and Mrs. John Jones are not "up" in lit
erature or art. That is to say, they do not pride
themselves upon possessing lofty and discerning
knowledge concerning these things. They read
and they like to look at pictures, but they make



x INTRODUCTION

no pretense at discovering hidden meanings in
an author's lines, nor do they speak "soulfully"
of "depth" and "handling" and "atmosphere."
"I like that," says John Jones, when a story or
a poem appeals to him. "That's awfully pretty,
isn't it ?" says Mrs. Jones, when a painting strikes
her fancy. Mr. and Mrs. John Jones are, you
see, plain people, with simple, plain, unpretending
tastes. But their tastes are human, very human,
and they and their kind make up and we may
thank God for it the great bulk of humanity
in this country and in others.

It was for the John Jones families of this
world that Amelia Barr wrote. She, too, was
a simple, human woman, with simple, human
feelings and without the slightest pretense of
being anything else. One has only to read her
autobiography, "All the Days of My Life," to
realize this. She thought in a simple, plain-
people's way and in that way she wrote. Her
novels contain no "problems," they were not in
volved, labored attempts at depressing so-called
realism. They were simply-told stories which
all might understand and which millions have
read and loved.

She shared, with many of her devoted readers,
a religious belief which was more than a be-



INTRODUCTION xi

lief, it was a conviction. In reading the story
of her life as she tells it one is astonished and
impressed to see how absolute was her trust in
her God as a loving, all-wise father, who di
rected her every act and chastened or blessed
her as seemed best in His sight. One who reads
that harrowing, pitiful chapter which describes
those dreadful days in Galveston when the yel
low fever scourge carried off her husband and
two children, will understand what is meant.
An invisible hand raps three times upon the
closed shutters of her room as a warning of the
coming of Death to that household and the toll
to be taken from it. A dying boy sees a vision
of "the man in the next room" who is waiting
for him. Mrs. Barr believed, not as most of us
would have done, that the child was delirious;
she believed that he had seen a vision and that a
spirit was in that next room waiting for the
little soul who might be lonely without a guide
and helper.

All her long life she carried her problems to
this God, this loving personal friend and father
in whom she so devoutly believed and that this
belief helped her over the dark places no one
can doubt. Her faith and her work were her
two great joys, these and the love of her family.



Xll INTRODUCTION

She was an amazingly prolific writer. Over
sixty novels were written by her during a period
of less than forty years. And in addition hun
dreds of verses. Over her desk, as a daily re
minder and motto, she kept these lines, written by
Beowulf in the year 600 A.D. :

"I say to my Maker,
Thanks, for the day's work
That my Lord gives me."

They express her faith and attitude of mind
perhaps as well as anything could do. She wor
shipped and she worked and faith and work
were alike those of the simple, everyday people
of this world.

Concerning her poetry she herself says:
"From among the hundreds of poems I have
written during forty years I have saved enough
to make a small volume which some day I may
publish. But I never considered myself a poetess
in any true sense of the word. 'The vision and
faculty divine' was not mine ; but I had the most
extraordinary command of the English language
and I could easily versify a good thought, and
tune it to the Common Chord the C Major of
this life. Women sang my songs about their
houses, and men at their daily work and some



INTRODUCTION Xlll

of them went all around the world in the news
papers. The Tree God Plants No Wind Can
Hurt' I got in a Bombay paper; and 'Get the
Spindle and Distaff Ready and God Will Send
the Flax' came back to me in a little Australian
weekly. And for fifteen years I made an income
of a thousand dollars or more every year from
them. So if they were not poetry they evidently
'got there.' "

They did, of course, for they expressed the
thoughts of the multitude, the songs in the hearts
of the plain people, the Joneses and their kind,
whose straight thinking and practical living keep
this everyday world turning regularly and sanely.
In countless scrap-books these verses of Mrs.
Barr's have been treasured. Now they are of
fered in a more permanent form to those of us
who fill the ranks in,

"God's army of just common folks."

JOSEPH C. LINCOLN.



CONTENTS

MM

INTRODUCTION v j,

THE GREAT HAPPINESS i

THE OLD PIANO ......'... 2

MY LITTLE BROWN PIPE

HELP 6

COME HOME, CHILDREN

FADED BLUEBELLS 9

THE ALBUM 1 1

PATCHWORK '.''.. 13

IN THE GARDEN 15

LOST FLOWERS . , 16

THE EMPTY PURSE . 18

THE OLD MAN'S VALENTINE . . . . . '. . 19

THE OLD WIFE'S VALENTINE . . . . . . . 21

AT FIFTY YEARS .".".. 23

THE OLD REAPER . . . ..".'. . . . . 24

HER MAJESTY CHRISTINE > 26

THE LITTLE TRAVELER 27

A TAP AT THE DOOR 29

TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW . . . . ' . . . . 31

ONLY A LOCK OF HAIR 32

"PANSIES FOR THOUGHTS" ....... 34

A DEPARTURE 36

QUIET HOURS 37

NOT LONG AGO 39

AN OLD STREET 40

MAKE THE BEST OF IT 42

"TAKE CARE!" '..... 45

I LOVE MY LOVE BECAUSE SHE is so FAIR , . . 47
xv



CONTENTS

ANGELS, How DO YOU KEEP EASTER? .... 171

MOONLIGHT 172

NATURE'S PRAYER 173

ALONE 175

HELP 176

Two GATES 177

THE SONG MAKERS . . . . . . . v - v . 179

A LESSON n* A GARDEN ........ 180

WANDERING FROM HOME TO HOME 182

THE SONG OF SUMMERTIME . . . . ." . . 184

THE BURIAL OF SUMMER >. . 185

THE SNOW STORM .......... 187

THE LAD WITH THE BARLEY LOAVES . .... 188

MUSK OH THE PIER . . 190

" IT WAS ONLY YESTERDAY" . . . ... . 192

"PERHAPS" -."..... 193

THE PRAIRIE PATH . -. . 195

THE FLOWER OF MIDDLE AGE . . . . . . . 197

YELLOW JASMINE 199

HYACINTHS . 200

JUNE ROSES . . . 202

WHITE POPPIES . ... . . . .. . . . ,. . . 204

THE SYMBOL OF THE DANDELIONS ..... 206

A SONG OF ROSES 208

SPANISH Moss ..*... 210

PLUM PORTRAITS '..... 212

AM APPLE MEMORY 214

A SONG OF THE APPLE . . ... . . . . 215

Two APPLE TREES . 218

SWEETEST PEACHES , . . 220

Th \nrKK*9TWcx AMP ITnssKS ....... 222

CHERRIES AK RIPE . . . . ,.. . . 224

STRAWBERRIES ARE RIPE ......... 226

WHEN STRAWBERRIES ARE RIPE . . . ... 227

xvin



CONTENTS

FAREWELL, SWALLOW 229

MESSENGERS OF SPRING ........ 230

THE LARK'S NEST 232

THE WINGED POST 234

MY PRETTY CANARY 235

DYING LACORDAIRE .......... 237

WASHINGTON 238

CAPTIVB QUEENS IN THE MARKET 239

THE GREAT BELL OF COLOGNE ...... 242

BARBARA ESK 247

GEORGE SECOND'S DREAM ........ 249

AN INDIAN FATHER 251

THE MARBLE IMAGE 253

CRUCIFIXION 255

A HANDFUL OF DUST 257

"Go UP, THE DOOR is OPEN!" 259

THE SAINT OF PADERBORN 261

MARTIN LUTHER'S VICTORY ....... 264

THE BLUE AND THE WHITE ....... 266

THE MARKED GRAVE 269

TOM MOORE 271

HERE'S TO OUR STARRY FLAG! 274

BRITONS, STRIKE HANDS' ........ 276

A SALUTATION 277

THE COLORS OF A REGIMENT 279

BROTHERS 282

OPEN ORDERS 284

THE RED FLAG 286

FOR FREEDOM'S SAKE 288

HAVE You HEARD THE CHILDREN CRYING . . . 290

A WAR CALL TO THE MEN OF ISRAEL .... 291

AT THE LAST 293

A WRITER'S QUESTION 295



0U.



AU.a_

-. i.





THE OLD PIANO



Now, glad content is mine ; from day to day
I meet my life with the severest look ;

Love's foolish dreams I have sent far away,
I am so happy, friends, / write a book!



THE OLD PIANO

How still and dusky is the long closed room !
What lingering shadows and what sweet perfume
Of Eastern treasures; sandal-wood and scent,
With nard and cassia, and with roses' blent :

Let in the sunshine.

Quaint cabinets are here, boxes and fans,
And hoarded letters full of hopes and plans:
The old piano, dear to memory;

In past days mine.

Of all sad voices from forgotten years,
It is the saddest. See what tender tears
Drop on the yellow keys ! as soft and slow
I play some melody of long ago.

How strange it seems !
The thin, weak notes that once were rich and

strong

Give only now, the shadow of a song;
2



THE OLD PIANO

The dying echo of the fuller strain,
That 1 shall never, never hear again:
Unless in dreams.

What hands have touched it! fingers small and

white,

Since cold and weary with life's toil and strife
Dear clinging hands, that long have been at rest
Folded serenely on a quiet breast.

Only to think,

O white sad notes, of all the pleasant days,
The happy songs, the hymns of holy praise,
The dreams' of love and youth, that round you

cling !

Do they not make each sighing, trembling string
A mighty link?

All its musicians gone beyond recall !
The beautiful, the loved, where are they all?
Each told their secret, touched the keys and wires
To thoughts of many colors and desires,

With whispering fingers:
All now are silent, their last farewells said,
Their last songs sung, their last tears sadly shed ;
Yet Love has given it many dreams to keep
In this lone room, where only shadows creep,

And silence lingers.
3



MY LITTLE BROWN PIPE

The old piano answers to my call,

And from my fingers lets the last notes fall.

Soul that I have loved ! With heavenly birth
Wilt thou not keep the memory of earth,

Its smiles and sighs?
Shall wood, and metal, and white ivory,
Answer the touch of love and melody,
And Thou forget ? Dear One, not so !

1 move thee yet, though how I may not know,

Beyond the skies.



MY LITTLE BROWN PIPE

I HAVE a little comforter

I carry in my pocket;
It is not any woman's face

Set in a golden locket ;
It is not any kind of purse,

It is not book or letter,
But yet at times I really think

That it is something better.

Oh, My pipe, My littte brown pipe,

How oft at morning early,
When vexed with thoughts of coming toil

And just a little surly,
4



MY LITTLE BROWN PIPE

I sit with thee till things get clear,
And all my plans grow steady,

And I can face the strife of life
With all my senses ready.

No matter if my temper stands

At stormy, fair, or clearing,
My pipe has not for any mood

A word of angry sneering.
I always find it just the same

In care, or joy, or sorrow,
And what it is to-day, I know

It's sure to be to-morrow.

It helps me through the stress of life,

It balances my losses ;
It adds a charm to household joys,

And lightens household crossef.
For through its wreathing, misty veil

Joy has a softer splendor,
And life grows sweetly possible,

And love more truly tender.

Oh, I have many richer joys,
I do not underrate them,

And every man knows what I mean,
I do not need to state them.
5



HELP



But this I say : I'd rather miss
A deal of what's called pleasure,

Than lose my little comforter,
My little smoky treasure.



HELP

MY hands have often been weary hands,
Too tired to do their daily task ;

And just to fold them forevermore

Has seemed the boon that was best to ask.

My feet have often been weary feet,
Too tired to walk another day ;

And I've thought, "To sit and calmly wait
Is better far than the onward way."

My eyes with tears have been so dim
That I have said, "I can not mark

The work I do or the way I take,
For everywhere it is dark so dark!"

But, oh, thank God ! There never has come
That hour that makes the bravest quail:

No matter how weary my feet and hands,
God never has suffered my heart to fail.
6



COME HOME, CHILDREN

So the folded hands take up their work,
And the weary feet pursue their way;

And all is clear when the good heart cries,
"Be brave! to-morrow's another day."



COME HOME, CHILDREN

"I WONDER why I should think to-night

Of Galveston beach, with its bare white

sands?"
And the old man feebly stirred the logs,

And warmed in the blaze his thin, cold hands.
"I used to play on the white beach sands

And paddle with bare brown feet in the foam.
I used to live near the Mexican Gulf,
And never a boy had a fairer home.

"We were six children, merry and bold,

Sailors and fishers, bound to be.
We built our boats and we cast our nets

All day long, by the sounding sea.
All day long, 'til the sea grew dim

And the waves were white, with breaking
foam.

7



COME HOME, CHILDREN

Oh, would I could hear my Mother call :

'Willy, don't linger. Come home; come
come !'

"For I was always the last to hear,

Always the last her smile to meet,
So when the rest on the hearth-stone stood

Still she was watching my tardy feet.
Does she watch them yet from the hills of God?

Does she see how sadly now they roam?
In a little while, I shall hear the call,

'Willy, don't linger ; come home ; come home !'

"For I am weary and sad and old,

My feet are touching the great dim sea.
The others are safe with her, long ago ;

But she is waiting and watching for me."
He talked all night of the bare white sands,-

Of his Mother's voice and the breaking foam ;
But just as the dawning touched the east

We knew he had found his Mother, and home.

Mothers who know that your toil is great,
Mothers who fear that your love is vain,

Sons may wander and seem to forget ;
Some day they will remember again.
8



FADED BLUEBELLS

They may grow famous or rich or old,
Far away from your side they may roam;

The gray-headed man is only a boy

When he whispers "Mother" and thinks of
home!



FADED BLUEBELLS

OH, how easily opens the book

On these faded flowers so thin and brown !
Wae's me, for the bonny little hand

That clasped my hand, as out of the town
And into the fields we went that day,

That last sweet day in the flowery May.

Happy were we in the unmown grass,
Pulling the bluebells here and there;

Never before had he seemed so gay
Ah, never before, so sweet and fair,

And the hours flew by, till like a spell
A sudden shadow of sorrow fell.

One minute all seemed so bright and glad,
The next I knew it was cold and chill ;

The child had felt it as well as I

And grown as suddenly sad and still.
9



FADED BLUEBELLS

"What is it?" I said, in strange alarm,

And lifted the boy in my strong right arm.

In my strong right arm, close to my heart,
I carried him home O sad, sad way,

The pale mists rising above the fields,
The sun going down in somber gray.

"Take care of my flowers," he faintly said,
And then on my shoulder laid his head.

Twenty years has he been in Heaven,
But he's my boy yet, he's my boy yet.

I have kept his tasseled cap and shoes

And the pretty stockings his mother knit.

His little checked frock, his chair, his ball,
His broken toys I have kept them all.

But oh, these bluebells are dearer far,
Withered and frail and sad they look ;

But for twenty years they have lain beside
The sweetest promise in all the Book.

See, when I go to my last long rest,
That you lay these bluebells on my breast.



THE ALBUM

MY photograph album? Certainly,
You can look, if you wish, my dear;

To me it is just like a grave-yard,
Though I go through it once a year.

Any new faces? No, indeed. No,

I stopped collecting some years ago.

And yet, Jeannette, look well at the book:

It is full of histories strange ;
The faces are just an index, dear,

To stories of pitiful change
Drama and poem and tragedy,
Which I alone have the power to see.

Ah ! I thought you would pause at that face ;

She was fair as a poet's lay,
The sweetest rose of her English home,

Yet she perished far, far away:
In the black massacre at Cawnpore
She suffered and died we know no more,
ii



THE ALBUM

And that ? Ah, yes, 'tis a noble head !

Soul sits on the clear, lofty brow ;
She was my friend in the days gone by,

And she is my enemy now.
Mistake, and wrong, and sorrow alas!
One of life's tragedies let it pass.

This face ? He was my lover, Jeanette ;

And perchance he remembers to-day
The passionate wrong that wrecked us both

When he sailed in his anger away.
Heart-sick and hopeless through weary years,
At length I forgot him despite these tears.

That handsome fellow ? He loved me too ;

And he vowed he would die, my dear,
When I told him "No" 'tis long ago :

He married the very next year.
That one I liked a little, but he
Cared much for my gold, nothing for me.

Brides and bridegrooms together, dear,
And most of them parted to-day;

Some famous men that are quite forgot,
Some beauties faded and gray.

Close the book, for 'tis just as I said

Full of pale ghosts from a life that's dead.

12



PATCHWORK

MY lady's hair is white as milk,
And dainty lace is o'er it spread,
Lace fine as any spider's web;

Her dress is of the richest silk,

Her eyes are tender, bright, and blue,
And she sits sewing all day through :

Sits sewing with a patience rare
A cushion tinted manifold:
Of richest satins, cloth of gold,

And softest velvets wondrous fair:
Of glancing silks and rich brocade,
In cunning skill and beauty laid.

Thus sewing all the long days through,
She said, "I make my story, dears
A story full of smiles and tears.

Amber and crimson, white and blue,
Bright greens and pinks and purple pale,
Are but the chapters of my tale.
13



PATCHWORK

"This dainty square of rosy hue
Is from the dress I wore that day
Your father stole my heart away;

This white, with silver threaded through,
My wedding suit. What days divide
The widow from the happy bride !

"This sable velvet, this, this, that,
Are portions of some splendid vest
(Your father still was nobly dress'd) ;

This circle was a rich cravat;
I had a dress the same that year
He went to Washington, my dear !

"My Harry's tie of sailor blue
And Charley's crimson sash are here,
And your first ball dress, Mabel dear :

Sweet baby Grace you never knew,
She died so soon this tiny square,
Is from the bow that bound her hair.

"So, darlings, let me dream and sew :
These strips of pink and gray and gold
The story of my life unfold :

And as the still days come and go,
The happy Past comes back to me,
In all Love's tender fantasy."
14



IN THE GARDEN

STILL is the garden still and sweet ;
The flowers are dreaming at my feet:

Heart, who calleth me?
Some voice that sighs for very bliss,
Some joy I fain would run to kiss:

Heart, who calleth me?

There is no sound of bird or bees,
No low wind stirring in the trees:

Heart, who calleth me?
The changing river, as it flows,
Scarce breaks the deeply lulled repose :

Heart, who calleth me?

What wandering spirit sweetly sways
And rules my dreams, but never says,

Heart, who calleth me?
I blush, I tremble to its spell,
I know it not ; wilt thou not tell,

Heart, who calleth me?

15



LAST FLOWERS

Then, voice, reveal thyself, I pray ;
Give fancy form, and fondly say,

"Sweet, Love calleth thee."
O rose ! O sea ! O sky above !
Echo these long-sought tones of Love :

"Sweet, Love calleth thee!"



LAST FLOWERS

O AUTUMN, with thy face set winter-wise,
Linger, I pray thee, in these ruined bowers,

And cast the parting splendor of thy eyes
Upon the steadfast beauty of thy flowers!

Gone are the gayer buds that Summer knew;

But, Autumn, thine are loyal, brave, and true.

See how the ardent Marigolds still lift
Their tawny faces, glowing with a smile!

Wilt thou not take a handful for a gift?
In them is neither flattery nor guile.

They are for thee : though sun and song be past,

Surely their constancy may win at last.

These starry Asters, beautiful and bold,

Sweet "after-thoughts of Summer," fair and


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