Copyright
James Brown Kendall.

Poems online

. (page 1 of 4)
Online LibraryJames Brown KendallPoems → online text (page 1 of 4)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


UCSB LIBRARY



<__




POEMS



JAMES BROWN KENDALL



FRAMINGHAM
1878



J. C. CLARK, PRINTER, SO. KRAMINGHAM, MASS.



THIS LITTLE VOLUME IS LOVINGLY DEDICATED

TO MY FATHER,

FOR WHOM THESE POEMS ARE NOW PRINTED, THAT AS HIS YEARS INCREASE

AND HIS SIGHT GROWS DIM, HE MAY MORE EASILY READ AND

ENJOY THE VERSES OF THE SON HE SO DEARLY LOVED.

E. M. K,



IN MEMORY OF J. B. K.

CLASS OF 1854.

IX the low land seen only by the skies
And birds and aged oaks and silent leaves,
Beyond the grass-grown road a graveyard lies,
Still and serene as hours that Summer weaves.

There no wild wind doth ever rudely pass,
But blends the treetops in a loving strife,

And makes a low, sweet music in the grass,
And wafts the happy dead to newer life.

The peaceful dead sleep in the peaceful field,
Year after year adds solemn, slow increase

Of such as unto Christ in death are sealed ;
Spring knits the turf again, and all is peace.

There sleep, thou tender spirit, sweetly sleep,
Dreaming of all the love that yearns for thee ;

And I will dream that I no longer weep,
And all the night thy form shall visit me.

So sleep in peaceful rest ; and lightly lie

The mingl'd flowers and earth upon thy head ;



6 IN MEMORY OF J. B. K.

No cloud shall cross thy small, blue cope of sky,
But stars shall all their pensive influence shed.

There thou shalt watch through the gray winter

night,
The snow-robed trees outspread their long white

arms,

Wooing the perfect moon, whose clear, chaste light
With vestal beauty all the woodland charms.

In these white weeds Nature no longer mourns,
But hides her fallen leaf with bridal veil ;

And he whose form to us no more returns,
Walks in new beauty that shall never fail.

For me, I dare not think an evil thought,
Knowing thy noble spirit may be near,

Knowing the wrong in life, on thee I wrought,
Who would not see the bad, is now made clear.

I meant with thee to wait the certain years,
Nor pluck the unripe fruit of fame too soon ;

Nor sing raw songs to incontinent ears,
Or blandly wear the devil's peaked shoon.

We evermore grow old and learn new things ;

Thou hadst youth and all, in that last, first breath !
Time cannot give us what the instant brings,

Or life be aught, beside the Life in Death.

y. A., in Boston Daily Advertiser.



POEMS.



MEMORIES OF COLLEGE LIFE.

A POEM DELIVERED BEFORE THE " POLYMNIA," HARVARD COLLEGE,
JULY ii, 1853.

TT'IND Nature's rule is marked with gladdening
IV change

In every Season of the circling year.
O'er all her broad, illimitable range

New beauties, fairer than the old, appear,

And Earth is grateful for the generous cheer.
Where'er upon her varying robes we look

The strange Enchantress mortals must revere
Whose laws no dull monotony will brook
No two like pages in her magic book.

Forth comes with merry glance and laughing eye
Gay Spring, obedient to his parent's sway;

Enlivening earth as swiftly passing by
He scatters blessings on his joyous way



8 MEMORIES OF COLLEGE LIFE.

And yields to Summer's still more glad array;
Summer whose gorgeous wealth of living green

Is born to die in Autumn's golden day
Till twilight blends in night the closing scene
And Winter whitens earth with silver sheen.

And as with Nature so it is with man,
Swept by an ever-flowing tide along

The sea of life when widest but a span,
Around his bark the hurrying waters throng
Amid the current running deep and strong.

Far off he hears the stately-swelling roar,
The solemn music of the wild waves' song,

Pealing the trackless wastes of Ocean o'er

Dashing and breaking on Time's boundless shore.

His careless childhood's rosy morning light
'Tis like to Nature in her budding Spring.

And youth is Summer, when the world is bright,
When joy and hope their garlands o'er him fling,
And songs of gladness ever near him sing.

But Autumn's yellow leaves and skies of gray
The sterner years of manhood's season bring;

Till age the call of Winter must obey,

And man, his life all ended, pass away.

These hallowed haunts, these consecrated shades,
Where long has lingered Learning's favorite
shrine ;



MEMORIES OF COLLEGE LIFE. 9

Among whose waving trees and peaceful glades
The memories of a cherished past entwine
As o'er the massive walls the clinging vine:

These Nature's all-pervading arms enfold

And Nature's laws to constant change consign,

Whether her mantle shine with green or gold

Or snows or blossoms deck this classic mould.

As thus the Seasons, borne on Nature's wings,
These ancient scenes with varied hues impress,

Kindly our loving Alma Mater brings
Ages, not like, her foster sons to bless,
Throwing o'er each a freshly-woven dress.

Four years her watchful cares our footsteps guard,
Shedding new blessings from each golden tress.

How like these gifts, with which our skies are
starred,

To Nature's changes in the College yard!

With a giant frame and a beard of white
In a sombre garb, like a child of night,
With a wrinkled brow and a tottering tread,
As one whom the years of youth had fled,
Winter, cold Winter, has bended his head,
And the king, that sat on the ice-throne, is dead.
O'er his grave, borne along on the soft wind's wing,
Comes the silvery laugh of the wreath-crowned
Spring.



10 MEMORIES OF COLLEGE LIFE.

The old man died, when the brave child was born,

The night passed away in the light of the morn.

He comes and his pathway is brightened the while

With the golden gleam of his joy-lit smile.

The murmuring waves of the swift-flowing brook

Have loosened their chains at the spell of his look,

And the rippling tide, as it dances along,

Is ever repeating its welcoming song.

O'er mount and o'er plain, o'er valley and hill,

In the waves of the sea and the voice of the rill,

In the low of the herd, in the birds' wild thrill

The music of welcome is echoing still.

Where the breezes play on the oak-kings old,

Where the sunlight streams on woodland and wold ;

Where, mortals unhearing, the spirit bells ring,

That live in the leaf and the tiniest thing,

The voices of Nature all gratefully sing

Their song-words together, in welcome to Spring.

Turn we, with a silent yearning, to the classic

home of Learning,
Where the spirit of the present guards us 'neath

his fostering wing ;
Here amid the branches bending, 'mid the murmurs

never-ending,
There are grateful anthems rising, gushing upward

unto Spring.



MEMORIES OF COLLEGE LIFE. II

Comes he treading lightly ever, like the flowing of

a river,
With a chaplet greenly twining o'er the beauty of

his brow
And his loosened ringlets golden, floating o'er the

places olden,
Tinge the scenes, but lately dreary, with a richer

coloring now.

Little blades of grass are peeping, with a noiseless,
steady creeping,

Forth from out the teeming bosom of the fruitful
Mother Earth.

Buds upon the trees are forming, in the sunlight
ever warming,

And the leaves are thickly thronging, springing in-
to joyous birth.

Everywhere the birds are flying, with their busy

fellows vying,
Bearing to the chosen branches what shall make

their Summer nests,
While their gratitude revealing bursts the wild,

unfettered feeling,
Thrilling forth in music pealing from their quickly

throbbing breasts.

Then the gentle shower descending, with the grass
and branches blending,



12 MEMORIES OF COLLEGE LIFE.

Covers Alma Mater over with a mantle still more

green ;
Earth with newer life is springing, Nature wilder

songs is singing,
Thus in Spring the rain refreshing only brightens

all the scene.

Taller still the grass is growing, warmer are the

breezes blowing,
And the waves of Spring are flowing to their

Summer ending way;
Wider yet the trees are branching, broader are the

shadows glancing.
(And the College yard is greener in the mellow

light of May.

O'er each time-imprinted building pours a gloom-
dispelling gilding,

As the walls are clearly shadowed thro' the canopy
of leaves ;

And the magic artist tracing, every rugged trait
effacing,

Floats about in airy wavings like the veil enchant-
ment weaves.

Taller yet the grass is growing, warmer breezes

still are blowing,
Gayer is the garb of Nature, in the blitheness of

her play,



MEMORIES OF COLLEGE LIFE. 13

For the days of Spring are ending, from his leaf-
crowned car descending,

Comes the youngest of his number 'tis the wan-
ing light of May.

Spring has faded, but the gladness is not all un-
mixed with sadness ;

Still we linger fondly ever on the joys that once
have been ;

And in memory oft returning, think we with a
"silent yearning,"

Of the days when he enfolded first these shades in
dress of green.

From Aleph to the other end, from the cradle to

the grave,

From the first delusive bubbles to the last depart-
ing wave,
From the hurry, heat and horrors of the fierce

Examination
To the dropping of the curtain o'er the evening of

probation,
From the "won't anybody hurt me" step, which

first o'erpaced the yard,
To the incipient swagger that tells of getting

"hard,"
While o'er the walks of Harvard the trees a shadow

fling,



14 MEMORIES OF COLLEGE LIFE.

The Freshman year in College must be the type of
Spring.

'Tis evening at the "Brattle" and standing at the

door,
Is a Freshman, (if he enters) a Freshman, "nothing

more."
Sadly he stands in thoughtful mood and muses on

the morrow,

The dread examination the fiery day of horror
And trembles lest his scanty stock of country-
gotten knowledge
Should fail to set him, hair unsinged, within the

bounds of College.
What need to tell his musings the spirit whines

of woe
For we were trembling Freshmen, not many years

ago.
But thro' his tears a voice he hears, " What, down

in the mouth, my jolly ?
Cheer up my lad, the world is glad, to have the

blues but folly ;"
And a tap upon the shoulder makes him look to

see the tapper
"Perhaps," his fancy whispers, "'tis an evil spirit

rapper."
Oh no, a spirit never wore a coat of such a style,



MEMORIES OF COLLEGE LIFE. 15

Or ever saw in Spiritdom exactly such a tile.
"My friend," the comer thus began, "the president

requested
- Myself to ask you how you were, and how last

night you rested,
He saw and has conceived for you a violent affec-'

tion,
And sent me here to offer you the shade of his

protection.
He hopes you'll enter don't you smoke? Ah

well, I would' nt learn,
I have to smoke for headaches and a kind of

jumping heart-burn."
He spoke, and knocked the ashes from the end of

his cigar,
And tipped a very knowing wink to the man behind

the bar ;
"Of course you know the sacred tasks of the

Examination ?
What, no ! young man, you put me in the greatest

consternation.
How will they know your character, whether your

heart be right ?
Great Jove, it was a lucky thing we thought of you

to-night.
The first of Matthew's gospel your strict attention

claims,



1 6 MEMORIES OF COLLEGE LIFE.

That grand historic picture of Scripture proper

names.

They ask them all in order ; I wouldn't study late
It is'nt best to fret yourself into an anxious state.
Good-night, remember Matthew, be sure and lock

your doors,
For prowling after Freshmen are those godless

Sophomores."
The little grass is peeping up above the earth-deep

scene ;
The bud is coming, and the whole is wonderfully

green.
The College sea has overflowed, the wave-gates are

unbarred,
And the Freshet pours resistless over the flooded

yard.
A Freshman ! all his wildest dreams are gloriously

real

And that is now the actual, once only the ideal.
Oh, 'tis indeed refreshing to get an "admittatur"
And take a nap "sub tegmine" of one's own Alma

Mater.
So leaps the heart of Nature after the soft, Spring

rain,
When the yellow sunlight glitters on tree and earth

again.
Our Freshman rooms in College, a pure, confiding

youth,



MEMORIES OF COLLEGE LITE. _ 17

Brought up to love his parents and always tell the

truth.
He wonders how the Sophomores those wicked

oaths can bear,
And knows deluded Freshman that he will

never swear.
Perhaps ambition fires his soul and rumbles in his

breast,
And a frantic hope inspires him to tower above the

rest.
He rises faithfully at four and scans his lessons

well,

Till warned to his devotions by the first Mills' tol-
ling bell.
He digs a term and at its end comes up the mooted

question,
Whether digging be not liable to injure one's

digestion,

And finding that 'tis apt to, he and the shovel part
To gain the reputation of "don't dig, but very

smart."

The leaves are growing thicker in the crescent
warmth of Spring,

The bell-tones in the branches with clearer peal-
ings ring.

And so the Freshman waxes as wanes the Fresh-
man year,



l8 MElVfORlES OF COLLEGE LIKE.

And wondrous are the changes that in the lapse

appear.
But many hands and abler have sung the verdant

age,

Mine must not linger longer on this initial stage.
We've seen him when commencing one glance

unto the close
Without narrating further his twice and thrice told

woes.
,.A year in College. What a change ye gods ! how

came it so ?

Is this the milk and water that we saw a year ago ?
Whence comes that tinge, that odor whence ? the

ruddy liquid hand me.
O tell it not in Israel, the milk has turned to

brandy.

That pious look of innocence, that unsuspecting air,
Those pants that spoke a moral that peaceful

cap are where ?
And where has gone the roundabout, the old,

ingenuous jacket ?
Go ask the cushion that he stuffed, bought

second-hand of Brackett.
He is not as he used to be - strange clothes he

loves to wear,
And sometimes how distressing he's even

heard to swear.



MEMORIES OF COLLEGE LIFE. 19

He's learned to smoke, and cheap cigars had made
him Ramsay's debtor,

Till he found his chum's tobacco and thought that
pipes were better.

He's cultivated oysters and drank intensely ale

And grown robust and red-faced instead of thin
and pale.

He's ridden quite extensively who cares about
the bill ?

Ah, Freshman when you pony up, you'll find it all
up-/////.

And last of all he has a spree in which he settles
quite

How loose his morals really are, and gets ex-
tremely tight.

So ends his College Spring-time, the skies of Sum-
mer glow,

Your part is played the curtain falls ye Fresh-
men heroes go.

With gentler winds the branches wave,
In music murmurings o'er the scene ;

The Heaven-distilling dew-drops lave
The beauty of a richer green.

The voice of Summer fills the air,

And waft's earth's festal days along

When all, that meets the eye, is fair,
And all, that strikes the ear, is song.



MEMORIES OF COLLEGE LIFE.

His glories shed a brighter gleam
On Harvard's leaf-encircled trees ;

And, like an ever singing stream,
They rustle in the Summer breeze.

Nature is wild with very joy,
And e'en runs riot in her play.

So frolics forth the laughing boy
The morning of a holiday.

At evening thro' the silvered leaves,

The full moon pours her witching light, -

And with her fairy pencil weaves
The scene in beauty all the night.

The magic-painting lightly falls
On all below with silent beam,

And 'neath the spell, the old brick walls
Like lordly feudal castles seem.

And thus these haunts in long array,
The spirits of the Summer guard.

Who does not love the joyous day
Of Summer in the College yard ?

His wreath will fade, he too must die,
His sunny, short-lived reign has ceased ;

For rises o'er the yellow sky
The star of Autumn in the east.



MEMORIES OF COLLEGE LIFE. 2

The Drama changes ; on the College stage,
Appears the second, Sophomoric age
The wanton Summer time of College life,
With foolish wisdom and wise folly rife.
When fairly fledged from chickenhood's repose
The full-grown rooster flaps his wings and crows.
He vaunts his honors in his first vacation,
The Mother's fright, the maidens' admiration.
And e'en his walk the wondering village o'er,
Says, plain as speech, "I am a Sophomore."
Six weeks the people gape and stare, and then
The great man leaves and all is still again.
He drops on Harvard, singularly clad
In motley coat and pants of fearful plaid,
And on his lip, to cut a perfect dash,
He blacks the shadow of a friend's moustache.
As thus got up, he views him in the glass ;
He thinks with pity of the Freshman class.

The wild exuberance of the Summer state
Impels him onward to be something great.
With five companions deeply he conspires
Each one an Etna full of hidden fires.
In hollow squares they charge at dead of night,
And put one Fresh, in snowy garb to flight.
Or, bravely sworn to do or die, they dare
His room to enter, when he is not there.



22 MEMORIES OF COLLEGE LIFE.

Beneath their windows, if perchance he's led,

A Summer-shower not heavenly greets his

head.

He grasps his hat an incoherent mass
And vows stern vengeance on another class.

Sometimes arrayed in most exhausting dress,

Our Soph, invades the crowded ball-room's press.

With scented locks and condescending smile

He shows the last, sublimest, Harvard style.

He mingles lightly in the graceful dance,

Or quenches damsels with his ardent glance ;

Until at last, a fair one dares to say,

In gentle tones, "are you a Freshman," pray?

The cruel cut makes every fibre glow ;

A Freshman, say you ? Freshman, Madam, no !

She starts, a sudden rushing thro' the door

Tells that her Freshman was a Sophomore.

He falls in love, that blissful poet-time
And writes a quire or two of wondrous rhyme.
His sleep is gone, he ever walks the street,
And strangest thing of all, he does not eat.
His life flows on a brightly gilded scene
A moonlight evening on the College green.
But soon alas he had been sadly smitten
He finds his saneness folded in a mitten.



MEMORIES OF COLLEGE LIFE. 23

And so the tolling bells of being chime
Away the moments of this Summer-time.
Its gay luxuriance may not always last
It goes' to slumber with the buried past.
But when it dies a gallant reign is o'er ;
Hail to the wild and dashing Sophomore.

The scroll of Nature is unrolled;
Again a change is o'er the scene.
The glowing canopy of green

Her potent wand transforms to gold.

The calmer skies of Autumn bring
The harvest with its loaded train
Of ripening fruit and yellow grain,

That waving in the sunlight sing.

The leaves have gained a gayer fringe
And glitter on the nodding trees ;
Or scattered by the Autumn breeze

The landscape glist'ns, with a gold'n tinge.

A softened light is over all,

Like that of twilight's lingering ray,
Which still illumes the parting day.

Before the shades of evening fall.

The dropping leaves, with rustling sound,
Pressed by the hastening student's feet



24 MEMORIES OF COLLEGE LIFE.

The mellowed reign of Autumn greet
His kindly sway o'er classic ground.

But soon the trees are still and bare ;

The naked branches are alone ;

The only sound the wild wind's moan,
Which whistles from the storm-king's lair.

It tells that Autumn's sway is o'er;

That night has closed his darkening day,
And becks, with threatening hand, away ;

He will return again no more.

Autumn has gone ; his dying breath
v Was silvered by the Winter's frost;

But tho' his golden days are lost,
Their memory lingers e'en in death.

Freshman and Soph, have lived and passed away,

New actors enter in our College play.

With manly step and open, earnest brow,

The Junior treads the changing platform now.

The early Spring of Freshmanhood is o'er

Over the Summer of the Sophomore

A fairer, brighter time than all is here

The Autumn glory of the Junior year.

Above the snares that vex the Freshman's path,

Above the snarer's never pitying wrath,

The waters of his calm existence glide,

Like the deep-flowing of the ocean tide.



MK.MORIKS OF COI.I.EC.K I.IKK. 25

At prayers he waits his anxious steps no more
Till eighty others have blocked up the door ;
But with the foremost leaves the holy spot,
And drinks his coffee, while the liquid's hot.

When deadly conflict wages on the Delta,
And sanguine Freshmen in fresh sanguen welter
The Junior calmly views each shattered shin,
And begs the Freshmen to "go in and win."
While light cigar smoke, wreathing o'er the strife.
Proclaims the tenor of his even life.

He has a part the wages of ambition
On that great day a College Exhibition/
And hires a toga, but to dress him quite,
He must invest him in a vest of white.
With coat of black and buttons of the same
Without the door he waits the expected name ;
He mounts the Rostrum, looking very pale,
While storms of claps his welcome advent hail.
His bow is made that grand, artistic start,
That cuts the water of the coming part.
Perchance he tells in verse with poet-look,
How "fresh-delivered are river and brook."
Or sees the tear steal down the maiden's cheek
As soft he utters the mellifluous Greek.
But look, he stops his minutes were but four
VUas, that such an one should have no more.



26 MEMORIES OF COLLEGE LIFE.

The Junior often in the village school,

Takes up the sceptre of an awful rule.

Far in the woods he wields the faithful rod

Or seeks the fertile pastures of Cape Cod

Devoting thus the Autumn of his days,

To whipping children into wisdom's ways.

Imparting, too, a purer moral tone,

By introducing morals of his own.

The leaves that gayly on the Junior's head,

When Autumn dawned their changing glories

shed,

Have withered, for the icy winds draw near
That bear the monarch of the ending year.
Our Junior age is over. In the west,
Our Autumn star, still shining, goes to rest.
The hours its light once gilded, all are o'er;
Their joys have fled they will come back no

more.

But in our hearts that star's unfading rays
Will keep forever green these happy days.

The College yard is wreathed in snow

And all is cold and drear ;
The trees moan out their song of woe,

For Winter's lord is here.

Whatever lived 'neath warmer skies
Is faded now and dead ;



MEMORIES OF COLLEGE LIFE. 2J

Nor leaf, nor bud may greet our eyes ;
Their board of death is spread.

The pump looks cold with wintry strife,

Nor opes its mouth of wood
Amid the ups and downs of life;

'T would shiver if it could.

The time-stained walls are guant and bare,

The bricks are grim and old,
And thro' the crannies everywhere

Sweeps in the cheerless cold.

But when the fire at evening beams

With ruddy, pleasant light,
And forth from out the window gleams

Its offering to the night.

The glow defies the winter's power

To make the moments sad,
When buoyant comrades crown the hour

And youth's high hearts are glad.

Last scene of all, must Winter close

The Seasons' mystic train,
And, with the melting of his snows,

Forget his ice-bound reign.

The end is nigh, and ebbing fast
The one, short life-hour flies.



28 MEMORIES OF COLLEGE LIFE.

A backward glance upon the past
And then the old year dies.

Again the scene is changed, yet one act more

And the whole drama of our life is o'er.

The rest have played. The Senior but remains,

The man of weighty and abundant brains.

Among whose locks the Winter spirit strew

A grain or two of wisdom-giving snow.

He comes with wrinkled brow and thoughtful look,

Which tell of midnight porings o'er his book,

And the grave air that marks the College sage

Who's lived to see the Winter of his age.

He has a calm contempt for all below

The priceless ore that decks the Senior's row.

He laughs at College jokes as children's play,

And wishes hazing could be done away.

He scorns the boyish, Sophomoric sting

But shuns a Freshman as an unclean thing.

He is a Senior the great man of all,
Whose frowning eyes the boldest Fresh, appal ;
The fated object of the Mother's schemes
The whiskered hero of the daughter's dreams
Who, when Commencements' sun shall set, is free
To woo and win that squire of a degree.

Oh, 'tis the otium of scholastic life
Cum dignitate. Come not toil and strife



MEMORIES OF COLLEGE LIFE. 29

To mar the pleasures of his thornless breast,
Or wrest the calmness from his peaceful rest.

As Winter's joys are of the lighted room

Where one forgets the dark, external gloom,

So does the Senior in his hoary age

Internal war 'gainst outward duties wage.

Firm in the right, unblushingly he dares

To claim the freedom of domestic prayers ;

And when the bells, at morning, echo deep

He wakes, rebels, and so he falls asleep ;

And dreams that fate has ended all his cares

And sent him where they ring no bells for prayers.

But o'er the Senior clouds impending lower,
As Winter hastens towards the closing hour ;


1 3 4

Online LibraryJames Brown KendallPoems → online text (page 1 of 4)