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38



A HARP OF THE HEART

How greatly guarded we should be
Of every swift-winged word,

And oft would many a healing speech
From our lips be heard.






HER WHITE HANDS.

From children's faces soiled at play
Those pure white hands had washed away
The grime, and gentle words of cheer
Had soothed away each childish fear.

As white as the lips of the lily's mouth,
When soft winds blow from the summer south,
Unmoving at her side they lay,
A-dream in the light of the dawning day.

As crystal clean as the purest rain,
Dear hands that knew no sinful stain,
How oft they bore another's load,
While from their whiteness music flowed.

I saw One come at morning light,
And touch those hands so still and white
'With Me, My Daughter, come," He said,
And death, defeated, swiftly fled.

39



A HARP OF THE HEART



IN THE OLD CABIN DOOR.

Beaten and battered by the storms of the years,
Hushed is the crying and dried are the tears;
All laughter and frolic have fled long ago,
And the mossed roof is covered with silence and

snow;

But still I can see in the old cabin door,
One waiting my call as in glad days of yore ;
It is Mother's love watch in the gloaming for me,
As I home with the kine from the rain-swept lea;
But Mother now waits in the Palace of Light,
And beckons me in from the storm and the night.

B^PS wVW F'V'IJ

PLAYMATES.

Blithe lad of my boyhood days, it seems but yester-

morn.
When barefoot brothers you and I played in the

blooming corn;
The tassels were adrip with dew, the long leaves

moist and green,
And while the soldier stalks stood guard we romped

the rows between;
Our hearts were flush as dewy dawn and so o'er full

with weal,
That we forgot our pledged return to share the

morning meal ;

40



A HARP OF THE HEART

Sweet tyranny of sportive mood held us in happy

thrall,
Till Mother's voice rang through the corn and gave

the breakfast call.
On other days we strolled afield through grass and

leafy frond,
Far rambling till we came upon the iris-circled

pond
That slumbered in sweet Summer's arms as still

as infant's sleep;
So glassy clear the waters lay like sunshine in a

heap,
That in we forded to the thigh on moss as velvet

soft
As any fabric spun from down that rarest birds

have doffed,
The dreamy waters slipped about our feet as soft

as oil,
And all the world seemed built for play with ne'er

a spot for toil;
A lifetime's joys were focused there in those glad

summer hours,
When busy bees hummed at their task among the

iris flowers.
My playmate lad spoke soft and said, "This time

will soon be past,
Youth flies on wings of wondrous speed, nor can its

play time last;"

That solemn word broke rapture's spell, and wad-
ing to the edge,
We filled our hats to running o'er with iris bloom

and sedge ;



A HARP OF THE HEART

Then trudging back our weary way along the

shaded roads,
We brought us home where Mother watched and

took our fragrant loads.
Playmate of mine, my heart upheaves with grief in

place of joys,
As I recall those halcyon days when you and I were

boys;

For when I walk across the fields and o'er the mead-
ows roam,
I look to see you coming back you've been so long

from home;

But yesternight I called for you, 'twas in a mock-
ing dream,
Arm-locked again you walked with me along the

laughing stream;
And just as in the days of yore the merry wood

birds sang,
Where cattle grazed, and gentle sheep, and good old

cowbells rang;
The black haw blooms fell at our feet like fragrant

flakes of snow,
And Spring's warm breath blew far away the chill

of Winter's woe ;
The comely boughs of redbud trees with crimson

robes were dressed,
And many a bird with sweet love song wooed his

coy mate to nest ;

The aromatic plumules fed the honey-hunting bee,
While every sight and every sound enhanced the

jubilee ;



A HARP OF THE HEART

DThe soft May winds with viewless lips and unseen
kisses came,

And soothed us with that sense of peace which ne'er
has found a name.

From sun to sun the hours were glad and ever full
with mirth,

When youth with wondrous genius made a play-
ground of the earth ;

The light that swathed our pathway then streamed
down from smiling skies,

No clouds had risen to shade our hearts, nor grief
to blind our eyes ;

Some tears had frolicked on our cheeks like playful
drops of rain,

But that was Mother Nature's way to save from
stress and strain;

No floods that surge like fiery tides from flaming
furnace blasts

Had ever scorched our scarless hearts with name-
less pain that lasts

And burns its way through troubled years, consum-
ing every joy,

Such fires the woe-worn man may know, but not
the play-worn boy.

Full draughts of love we quaffed that day from na-
ture's brimming bowl,

And God's good hand with gentle touch close knit
us soul to soul ;

Weary at length in sportive quest for blossoms in
the bog,

We sat us down to rest awhile upon a moss-grown
log,

43



A HARP OF THE HEART.

Then quick as light it came to me, "The lad has

been away,"
But when he knew my heart would break, should

he prolong his stay,
He hastened back to meet me there, and hug up to

my side,
O laughing lad, in that dear dream I thought thou

hadst not died !
With sudden start I quick awoke and gazed about

my room,
And heard the moaning winds without that filled

the night with gloom ;
No happy chum was there with me, no one was at

my side,
Such taunting dreams rebreak my heart since my

dear Playmate died;
Would God that life were like that dream and he

were still with me,

Then all undaunted would we ride life's weather-
beaten sea;
But heartbreak finds a balm at last and hope sings

once again,
For as I walk the wave-washed sands beside the

moaning main,
The music of my Playmate's call sounds sweet

across the sea,
From happy hills all summer-crowned beyond

death's mystery.



i44



A HARP OF THE HEART



THE BABY AND THE MOON.

High swung in evening sky,

I saw a silver rim ;
My baby asked me why

The dear moon looked so dim."

I told the little lad

That all the moon was there,
But still his soul was sad,

And sobbed at evening prayer.

Be patient, Baby dear,
That silver rim will grow,

And through the shadows drear
The full moon-flower will blow.

Be patient, Baby dear,

In darkness learn to sing,

And shadows that you fear
Shall swiftly take to wing.



45



A HARP OF THE HEART



HEART OF MY HEART.

Heart of my heart, I love you ;
Soul of my soul I do,
Fair as the stars above you,
Pure as the pearly dew ;
Your smile is like the morning,
Your voice like evening bells,
Your eyes are more adorning
Than bloom of woodland dells.

Heart of my heart, I love you;
Soul of my soul, I do,
Fair as the stars above you,
Pure as the pearly dew.

Out in the woodland straying,
Where sweet wild thrushes sing,
Or in the meadows Maying,
Heart to heart we cling;
Light of my brightest daytime,
Star of my darkest night,
Mate of my youthful playtime,
Soul of my soul's delight.

Heart of my heart, I love you;
Soul of my soul, I do,
Fair as the stars above you f
Pure as the pearly dew.

46



A HARP OF THE HEART



HUSH-A-BY.

Hush-a-by, Dear,

On my bosom so warm,

Within is the calm,

And without is the storm

Hush-a-by, hush-a-by, hush-a-by, Dear.

Hush-a-by, Dear,

Thou never need fear,

God's guardian angels are hovering near,

Hush-a-by, hush-a-by, hush-a-by, Dear.

Hush-a-by, Dear,

The musical rain

Is singing to thee

The sweetest refrain,

Hush-a-by, hush-a-by, hush-a-by, Dear.

Hush-a-by, Dear,

Thou never need fear,

God's guardian angels are hovering near,

Hush-a-by, hush-a-by, hush-a-by, Dear.

Hush-a-by, Dear,

Our God is our Guest,

Our pillow his arm,

His love is our rest,

Hush-a-by, hush-a-by, hush-a-by, Dear.

47



A HARP OF THE HEART

'Hush-a-by, Dear,

Thou never need fear,

God's guardian angels are hovering near,

Hush-a-by, hiish-a-by, hush-a-by, Dear.



THE HOME-BUILDER.

He left the solaces across the sea,

And journeyed to a land afar;
He fled the howling haunts of tyranny,

To follow long the western star;
He found a spot at last he christened Home,

Where toil could rest in love's embrace,
Where children's happy play in evening gloam

Laughed all the wrinkles from his face.



A HARP OF THE HEART



LAD OF MY LOVE.

Lad of my love, as I look in your eyes,

And see in their deeps the blue of the skies,

As I see your quick feet speeding on to the goal,

And hear in your voice the call of the soul,

I could wish for you peace, but battle must be,

Ere your feet stand unfettered and free;

The buffeting sleet and the blinding snow

O'er your fair face must battling blow,

As on to the goal of strength you go.

Lad of my love, I would save you pain,

But in her hot hands she brings infinite gain;

I would give you the honey, withholding the sting,

Would keep back the thorns as the roses I fling

Dew-christened and fresh to your outstretched

hand,
But, Lad of my love, it is otherwise planned.



49



SINGING OUT OF DOORS.






A HARP OF THE HEART



THE ROBIN IN THE RAIN.

Hear the robin in the rain,
Not a note does he complain,
But he fills the storm's refrain
With music of his own.

Drenched and drooped his finest feather,
Yet he sings in stormy weather,
Bird and God are glad together,
A-singing in the rain.

That seer-songster's vision traces
Trails of light in darkest places,
Pouring through earth's stormy spaces
The solace of his song.

*V*^l ^^^^f W^^0

CLOUDS.

The great wide sky is a deep blue sea,
And the twinkling stars are the flecks of foam ;
And the shadow's of clouds across the lea
Are the shadows of ships that sail for home

Who captains these ships that sail so high,
Who pilots them over the deep sky sea,
W r here the wind-waves roll on the rainy sky,
And waft their music down to me.

53



A HARP OF THE HEART



THE SHEEP SORREU

O the sheep sorrel bloom,

It is death to my gloom,

When the harp of my heart is unstrung;

O the sheep sorrel pie,

Of the days gone by,

When life was all yearning and young.

It grew at the edge

Of the sheltering hedge,

Or mayhap in grasses concealed;

In the distance I know

It was like a pink snow,

Bloom drifts on the fringe of the field.

O memories dear,

Bring the glad days neai,

When I hunted the sorrel for pie ;

Better than berry,

Or apple or cherry,

Was the sorrel of days gone oy.



54



A HARP OF THE HEART



NESTING TIME.

Nesting time is come again,

And love is in the air;
Bluebird, robin, lark and wren

Are nesting everywhere;
O love and life are beautiful,

O love and life are sweet;
O love and life are lyrical,

And love makes life complete.

* * ft



WILD STRAWBERRIES.

In peaceful prairie fields,

One shining summer day,
With bonnets and with hats of straw

The children went to play.

Bright butterflies were out,

On errands sweet intent,
And where they lit with folded wings,

The happy children went.

The balmy summer air,

Enladen with perfume,
Breathed softly over meadow vines

With white and yellow bloom.

55



A HARP OF THE HEART

These vines of summer grew,

And all their blossoms shed,
But luscious berries graced the stems,

When all the bloom had fled.

Again the children came,

As gleeful as before,
With bonnets and with hats of straw,

And some small baskets bore.

Down on their hands and knees,

With fingers swift and deft,
They plucked the sweet and scarlet fruit,

The beauteous blossoms left.



With ruby lips and palms,

They toiled in happy play,
And ere the sun stood at high noon,

Full baskets bore away.

That day of summer joy,

I never can forget,
The memory like some dewy dream,

With rapture thrills me yet.

Sweet wild strawberry vine,

But yesterday it seems,
When life was fresh as fragrant spring,

And bright with youthful dreams.

The dear playmates are gone,
Who went with me that day,

To pluck the berries sweet and wild,
And frolic by the way.

56



A HARP OF THE HEART

But memory wanders back,

Under the open sky,
In quest of those glad girls and boys,

Of happy days gone by.

In losses I have found,

Like that frail berry vine,
That though the transient beauty fades,

The ripened fruit is mine.

Though youthful blossoms fall,
Love's luscious fruit is here,

And glad I go with baskets full,
Into life's wider sphere.

f'V^J W^> W^tt

FOG.

'Tis a vail on the river,

When the rain's on the wold,

And the drenched leaves shiver
In the wind and the cold.

Tis a "Maid of the Mist,"

Reluctantly drawn
Aside to be kissed

By the lips of the dawn.

Lift away the fog robes
From the face of the morn,

But leave the dew globes
On her tassels of corn.

57



A HARP OF THE HEART



THE SMILE OF SPRING.

Hear the whispers on the breeze,
Hear the singing in the trees ;
Hark the babble of the brooks,
Making music in the nooks;
Singing rain is on the hills,
Dancing bubbles in the rills ;
From their silent beds of sleep
Blue-eyed grasses wake and peep
From the cover of the sod,
Smiling in the face of God.



A HARP OF THE HEART



ALFALFA.

Ten thousand wells were in a field,

And not a well was dry,
Nor did they any water yield

To thirsty passers-by ;
Of purple blooms the walls were built,

With masonry complete,
When summer skies the sunshine spilt,

And filled them full of sweet.

Every well was swung in air,

And each was blossom-bound,
Unnumbered pilgrims tarried there,

On that fair flowery ground;
O'er the field flew butterflies,

Like floating flakes of snow,
Wafted down from winter skies,

So soft and still and slow.

In that alfalfa field I heard

The serenade of bees,
When vagrant breezes blossoms stirred,

Like trembling organ keys ;
I read the mystic meadow rune,

Ensphered with rare perfume,
And heard the lark's love-lute of June

Trill o'er alfalfa bloom.



59



A HARP OF THE HEART



THE WIND.

Wandering" winds moaned through the trees,
Like serried sobs of restless seas;
And tree boughs swaying low and wide,
Groped in quest of days that died,
Murmuring soft and whispering low,
Mournful speech of midnight woe,
"Farewell, Summer, long farewell."

Solemn shadows softly fall,
Lying like some funeral pall,
On dead leaves and dying grass,
Where the winds are saying mass ;
Moving noiseless, cold and dim,
Shadow phantoms gaunt and grim
Bow sweet Summer, "Long farewell."

From the drifted leaves emerge

Cricket cries of autumn's dirge,

And dismantled treetops quiver,

Like long reeds in rushing river,

While the winds 'mid shadows blow,

Half articulate with woe,

And long-drawn sobs, "Fare- well, fare-well."



A HARP OF THE HEART



THE GRASS.

There are sunbeams in the grass,
Greeting shadows as they pass,
Shade and shine alternate quiver,
Like the moonlight on the river,
Oh, the glimmer of the grass.

There are gardens in the grass,
Things abloom in tangled mass,
Smiling summer breathes around,
Tang and odor of the ground,
Through the fragrance of the grass.

Little homes are in the grasses,
Dewdrops are the looking-glasses,
Tiny leaves are baby pillows,
Softer than the pussy willows,
Little pillows in the grass.

Bare- foot boys were in the grass,
But they're gone away, alas,
Down the dim and distant days,
Hushed the prattle of their plays,
In the lush and lonely grass.



61



A HARP OF THE HEART



THE SONG OF THE SICKLE.

The odors sweet,

Of the yellow wheat,

Are afloat on the morning air;

And the sickle's trill

O'er vale and hill

Makes music everywhere.

There's health and bliss

In the morning's kiss,

And the pulses throb and throng;

While music floats

O'er silver oats,

Where sounds the sickle's song.

The sickle's song

I would prolong,

Till war songs hush and die,

Till peace of mind

All men shall find

Under the harvest sky.



62



A HARP OF THE HEART



THE WILD ROSE.

Sweet wild rose among the grasses,
Playing with each breeze that passes,
On thy soft and fragrant breast
Pilgrim bees delight to rest;
Thy pink lips and virgin tresses
Hold more beauty than man guesses,
And there come with thy glad kisses
To my heart a thousand blisses;
Careless beauty in the sod,
Blooming at the feet of God,
Christened with the crystal dew,
Angels must have tinted you;
Bridal beauty of the lea,
Come away and live with me.



A HARP OF THE HEART



SWEET WILLIAM.

It was in the April days,
When the thrushes sang their lays,
That we searched the blooming woodland with the
bees;

And Sweet William graced the ground,
Shedding fragrance all around,
While the sunlight sifted through the budding
trees.

Lips of lavender and pink,

Eagerly the sunshine drink,
While the summer air a luscious sweetness spills

Over grass and leafy tree,

Over flower, bird, and bee,
Till summer fragrance every blooming beaker fills.



THE PRAIRIE PETUNIA.

Prairie petunia of lavender hue,

Many a summer have I seen you,

Fringing the edge of a country lane,

Or showing your bloom on the grass-grown plain;

So frail is your flower a butterfly's wings

Could buffet your petals to beautiful strings.



A HARP OF THE HEART



THE SWINGING LAMPS OF DAWN.

Near the threshold of my home,

A cunning foe had strayed,
And on a rose tree in the loam,

A wondrous thing he made ;
Under cover of the night

He built a silken ginn,
And at the dawn of morning light

Bade all the homeless in.

His shining cords were stretched with skill,

And woven with such grace,
That none would dream he meant to kill,

In such a royal place ;
The beauty of his bright bazar

No one could ever fear;
Its mirrors caught the morning star,

That twinkled crystal clear.

The swinging lamps were globes of dew,

Enkindled by the dawn,
And when the morning breezes blew

Across the lighted lawn,
The glowing lamps swung to and fro,

Delighting every eye,
Till dressed in gowns of light aglow

Was every flower and fly.

65



A HARP OF THE HEART

But when the lights began to wane,

As sea tides slowly ebb,
I heard the plaintive notes of pain

That issued from a web;
And as my cautious feet drew nigh,

I heard the dying song
Of one bewildered foolish fly

That watched the web too long.



RAIN.

Music raining on the roof,

Charming all my soul aloof
From the worry of the world as you fall ;

Merry dancing on the eaves,

Like the waltzing of the leaves,
Holds my heart a captive caught in music's thrall.

From the cooling clouds you come,

With your lullaby and hum,
Chasing far away the haunting ghosts of fears ;

Then the yearning earth you rob

Of her dismal desert sob,
And you sow my soul with smiles instead of tears.



66



\

,,,),) >



' ' * ) > '*>''

A HARP OF THE HEART ''



FALLING LEAVES.

When the summer's tale is told,
Silently they slip their hold,
Like softly falling flakes of gold;
And shivering trees complain with cold,
In sobs subdued, "We're growing old. 1



THE OLD WORLD.

Upbreathed from the soil is the old world's breath,
Wooing young life from the slumber of death;
Calling the violets up from the mold,
And awaking the grasses asleep in the wold;
The curtains of night with the sunbeams are pinned
Back from the windows of dawn, and the wind
Carries the fragrance of bloom everywhere,
Be still ! the Old World's at morning prayer.



SONGS OF HOMELAND.



A HARP. OF THE HEART



LINCOLN.

From want and poverty he leaps,

As if from dreaming trance,
And climbs with steady steps the steeps

That challenge his advance;
Truth-girt he stands serene and strong,

Where battle bugles blare,
And with the right subdues the wrong,

Divinely brave to dare.

Our common flesh and blood was he,

Earth-born, but Heaven-sent
To bring the people's jubilee,

With love's disarmament;
Almighty power had girded him

With undefeated right,
And when our skies with war went dim,

God's chieftain won the fight.



A HARP OF THE HEART



BROTHERHOOD.

Let liberty and light ensphere the world,

And fetters from all human captives fall;

Let velvet palms with shekels full enclasp

The calloused hands outstretched from forge and

field;

Let rich and poor together meet as one,
On love's broad base one world-wide Brother-
hood;
To boundless rule the Truth has right; make

room,

Ye crumbling thrones of error's sway, give place,
Truth's firm footfall rings round the world to-day.



FREEDOM.

White Goddess, spread thy snowy wings

O'er all thy sons of toil,
While Truth her Titan hammer swings,

Thy foe's red hands to foil.

Let rich and poor beneath thy smile

Work out a nation's task ;
Let no dark deeds thy hands defile,

Nor vice thy visage mask.

Let hurtling shafts of thunder leap
From clouds of righteous wrath,

Let storms of justice swiftly sweep
Death's red hand from thy path.

72



A HARP OF THE HEART



WASHINGTON.

Devoted to country, to man and to God,

He arose in his might to shiver the rod

That oppressed his brothers with burden and thrall ;

As a patriot brave he dared to let fall

The swift sword of right on the land and the sea,

Till the foe was subdued and the nation was free.

A hero in war, but a maker of peace,

His name and his fame shall forever increase,

Till freedom's bright banner with colors unfurled

Shall wave in her glory all over the world.

^^^^9 ^^^^f ^ **

JUDGMENT.

From darkling skies the Spirit swept,

With winnowing wings of light,
On sea and land He firmly stepped,

And called across the night;
Affrighted cravens crept away,

To hide them from the glare,
And startled at the sudden day,

Beastlike they sought the lair.

The great good Guardian of the race

Has come to claim His own,
And only right the facts can face,

Or dare to stand alone ;

73



A HARP OF THE HEART

The Overseer to judgment comes,

Umpire of the soul ;
Nor can men bribe Him with the crumbs

Of any earthly dole.

Through haunts of shame and marts of trade,

Like judgment thunder peals
A voice that makes all vice afraid,

And honest worth reveals;
The high Historian of mankind,

Impartial as the light,
Opens the books in every mind,

And reads the records right.

Lucre mongers searched by eyes

That burn through walls of stone,
And bring to light long hidden lies

That knaves have guessed unknown
Manhood for money they have sold,

And conscience pawned for pelf,
But finding naught save earthly gold,

The man has lost himself.

Alas, for him who, mammon-blind,

Sees not life's larger sky,
Where Truth's untarnished eyes still find

High-lights that never die;
Pity for him who, like the mole,

Burrows in dust and gloom,
Nor knows that God bequeathes the soul

His universe for room.

THE END.

74



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Online LibraryCharles Coke WoodsA harp of the heart → online text (page 2 of 3)