As when I won her girlish heart, that evening long
O, 'twas a clear, a steadfast love, that bound that
Such as the guileless beings know, who haunt the
58 A CHAPTER FROM BACHELOR REVERIES.
And fervently I prayed that night, that he would
guard them all,
Whose ever-watching Providence "lets not a spar-
This passed away and once again a change came
o'er my dream ;
So, ruffled by the gentlest breeze, will change the
No longer did the ringing laugh strike sweetly on
The evening frolic came no more, the children were
The winter-time of life had strewn its snows upon
The fleeting sands were nearly run I was an old
Alone I sat with her who'd been so long a trusting
Who'd known with me the joys of earth, who'd
dared with me its strife.
We talked of scenes in other days, that pleasant
And watched the silver current roll back into the
Then, strong in faith, we looked beyond the com-
ing stream of death
A CHAPTER FROM BACHELOR REVERIES. 59
And knew that we should live again, when stopped
our mortal breath ;
And prayed that when our life should end, to us it
might be given,
As we had lived and loved on earth, to live and
love in Heaven.
A falling tear upon my hand the fragile dream-
And, wishing life were but a dream, all sadly I
That gentle one had winged her flight back to the
spirit land ;
Sweet fancy's golden sway was o'er, broken her
One hope I breathed, that, as my dream, my life to
come, might be,
A dream, without a waking time, a bright
DELIVERED AT THE SILVER WEDDING OF REV. JAMES A. AND
MARIA B. KENDALL.
The place, a room not over clean,
The time, twilight and dark between ;
The Dramatis Persona by
My friend the Bachelor, and I.
I with a wife as sweet as May
(Don't look, she isn't here to-day)
He in his one-pronged cloudy life,
A pipe, and cat and dog no wife ;
I, bound to take life with a laugh
And mix and drink it half and half.
He put his feet up on the shelf
And snugged down in his chair himself ;
Lighted a pipe his cap pulled down,
And closer drew his dressing gown.
Puffed out with smoke each unkissed cheek,
And in this wise, went on to speak :
"And so you're married what a goose,
Pray tell me, can you, what's the use?
Poor fool ! your face is full of creases.
Your peace of mind has gone to pieces ;
You'd get out of it if you could
And be with me and singlehood ;
POEM. 6 I
Alas, the hood has taken wings
You let a woman cut the strings,
Your poor head now has nothing on it
Except the shadow of a bonnet,
See me feet up, head up all right
My own man, free as an owl at night ;
On life's dry desert I'm a patch
Of green, a real old happy Bach.
My purring cat, my dog and I
Find life made up of all blue sky ;
My pipe rounds off the pleasant joke
Thought I, it ends it all in smoke.
But you, there is no you ; I mean
The ashes of what you have been
Your mother'd hardly know for her son
This echo of another person
You're trotted out to do her shopping
Your wife at all the windows stopping.
Now own up, do you think that popping
The question paid ? " He gave a puff
Suggesting that he'd said enough.
Would'st hear what I said back to him
As twilight grew more deep and dim ?
Perhaps I didn't say a word
Perhaps, the cat an answer purred
No matter when I went away
I got a little bird to stay
And tell me what the young man's head
Was full of while he was in bed.
Next morn, as daylight 'gan to beam,
He sang me out the young man's dream.
The room was gay with life and light ;
Fair women moving, robed in white ;
A quaint old room that seemed to smile
On what was going on the while ;
And tears and laughter, prayers and song
Were borne in changeful play along.
And in the foreground, as he dreamed,
The Bachelor among them seemed.
A fair girl stood beside him there
And orange flowers were in her hair ;
Blue eyes, down-turned, and on her face
The beauty of a new-born grace
Tears, too, lay softly on her cheeks
And while they fall an old man speaks ;
The music of the old man's words
Is sweeter than the singing birds.
Ah, ha ! what meant that life and light ?
He dreamed it was his wedding night.
And so that picture faded by,
Another quite as fair came nigh.
He thought that life had filled for him
Its cup of gladness to the brim ;
The way was thick with flowers a wife
Had drawn new beauty out of life.
Time had been playing with his hair
And putting threads of silver there,
And borne him with his matron-bride,
Adown the ebbing of its tide.
Once more they stand with gentle friends
And heart to heart in friendship bends ;
Dear voices long unheard they hear
And catch the pleasant words of cheer ;
And read in notes of memory's pen
The stories of their lives again.
Ah, ha ! his wings, our friend is spreading
He's dreaming of his Silver Wedding.
That didn't wake him turning over
He went on dreaming, quite in clover,
And still another picture came,
A changed one, yet somehow the same.
An old man now she too is old,
Whose hair was once as bright as gold ;
For many years have winged their flight,
Since Heaven smiled on their wedding night.
"So many," says he, "it doth seem
Almost the wedding of a dream ;
So long ago so much between
And yet 'tis real, wife, I ween.
We've lived long time here, you and I,
And watched the play of life go by ;
Sometimes the sunlight in the air
Shook out in love its golden hair,
And sometimes sorrow was our lot
That came in love, too, did it not ?
So in the sunshine and the shade
To us a sweet tune life has played."
So this real life of ours doth seem
Sometimes a picture in a dream.
They see kind faces in their home
And hear sweet words of greeting come ;
Children and children's children there,
With eyes of blue and golden hair.
Again from out the living throng
Come tears and laughter, prayers and song.
A fairer, steadier light doth fall
In chastened beauty over all.
What star this mellow light is shedding ?
His dream has reached its " Golden Wedding.
His grand-child sits upon his knee,
The youngest blossom of his tree.
She puts her laughing mouth to his
To give and take the expected kiss.
And so the Bachelor awoke
To find his cat a kitten's freak,
Tapping her paw upon his cheek.
" Pshaw ! what a dream get out you cat,
A pretty night's work I've been at ;
But after all that fair ideal,
I can't help wishing might be real."
A tear dropped slowly down his cheek
And that was all he did not speak.
And so my little bird stopped singing
Just as the breakfast bell was ringing.
AT THE SILVER WEDDING OF REV. J. A. AND M. B. KENDALL.
Our Silver Wedding and the other wedding, it
Our Cousins. The bridesmaids and groomsmen
of the Silver Wedding. The best thing about being
married is the good company one gets into.
" Fuscus Fiscus" The Brown Basket new on
the 4th of Nov. 1807 it holds, to-day, the flowers
of fifty years. Long life to the Basket it grows
dearer as it grows older.
Children. The andirons of the family hearth.
Take them away and the fire tumbles down.
Single Blessedness. It won't do ; in the game of
life, doublets win.
Home. The title page of Life's Poem. " Home
The loved ones who are absent and the memory
of the dead.
Our White-haired Pilgrim-Father. From his
home by Plymouth Rock he sends his blessing.
Family Trees. The best thing for the old stock
is a good graft.
"A Bridal Pair'' The handsomest fruit in the
The Religion of the Fireside. Heaven's own
sunshine rests on the "Altar at Home."
Household Words. Speak them softly.
The next Silver Wedding. Bride and Bride-
groom make merry in it, and may a ray or two of
ours to-day, float down and meet its silver beams.
The Wedding Ring. Sung by the assembly.
DELIVERED AT THE GOLDED WEDDING OF COL. JAMES AND NANCY
BROWN, NOV. 4, 1857,
To-day, dear friends, sweet voices seem
To breathe a sound of singing,
From field and forest, hill and stream
A wedding welcome bringing.
A song of fifty years they send
To crown our happy meeting,
And with the song the voices blend
Their " Golden Wedding " greeting.
They hail the givers of the feast,
Whose wedded love is shining,
Although their sun has left its East,
And daylight is declining.
The voices murmur soft and low
Of Father and of Mother,
Whom, in the solemn long ago,
God gave to love each other.
They welcome home each wandering child,
From daily work beguiling;
The scenes that first around them smiled,
The same to-day are smiling.
But with them comes not one sweet face,-
The voices have not brought her,
There's room beside the children's place
For one more darling daughter.
Faith whispers, " that dear one is here,
A spirit-presence given,
In shining garments doubly dear
The child of Earth and Heaven."
She taketh by the hand each friend,
Her pure delight confessing,
And bids upon her home descend
An angel daughter's blessing.
And one from out the prairied West
Withholdeth her assistance.
Oh no ! she's standing with the rest :
The soul forgetteth distance.
And on the children's children falls
The Wedding salutation ;
The welcome of the voices calls
For their congratulation.
We place upon the household shrine
The flowers of our thanksgiving :
O, may the garland we entwine
Be always fresh and living !
And we, too, miss familiar forms,
That once with love were beaming;
But Faith again our bosom warms,
And says, "'tis only seeming."
From hearts that with remembrance burn,
Dear friends are absent never;
The buried ones with us return
More beautiful than ever.
The last loved one, that died in June,
Our perfect circle roundeth ;
And like the breath of some sweet tune,
Her gentle greeting soundeth.
Grandchildren, children, wanting none,
All gather to caress us ;
And Heaven's approval must be won,
If angels come to bless us.
Of brothers and of sisters, three
Alone are with the living ;
And two of them 'tis ours to see,
Their cordial presence giving.
And now a welcome meets once more
The few friends, that remember
The Wednesday, fifty years before
The fourth of this November.
The bridesmaids of that wedding day
Our bridesmaids shall be reckoned ;
They graced ihejirsi, and surely they
Will smile upon the second.
We greet the girl, too young to see
The bride and bridegroom married ;
But now, as then, by her the tea
And sugar shall be carried.
The house its doors flings open wide
To its assembled cousins :
And takes a good, old-fashioned pride
In all these loving dozens.
The sunshine of their glad array
Its loyal heart rejoices;
And welcome is the friendly play
Of faces and of voices.
But one face more it hoped might be
In all our merry-making ;
It yearned one other guest to see
The marriage-feast partaking.
The snows of almost ninety years
His silvery hairs have sprinkled,
But fresh and green, through smiles and tears,
The soul has come unwrinkled.
POEM. 7 I
He might not speak with us the prayer,
To God's dear love appealing,
And yet our wedding-day shall share
His tender thought and feeling.
And so, dear friends, the voices seem
Their song-light to be shedding ;
And field and forest, hill and stream,
To hail our Golden Wedding.
And if you'll walk awhile with me,
By brook and meadow olden,
We'll find out how it came to be,
And what has made it, "golden."
The Summer had ended its beautiful song,
Of the nights that are rare, and the days that are
It had wrought out its work, in the warmth of its
It had died with its flowers, when its work-day was
The footsteps of Autumn were treading the plain,
And the fields were astir with the life of the grain !
A new love in river and woodland was born,
As the breath of the wind went a-wooing the corn.
But the scenes we look out on were wondering
At the clangor of hammers and bustling of men ;
For I tell you a tale of the days that have been,
And how they were building the house we are in.
A young man was standing the workmen beside,
As the hammers and mallets were busily plied ;
O, the sound of their ringing was sweet to his ear,
For the blows helped to fashion a home for him
He had chosen the timbers, all solid and strong;
Did he know he should want them to stand by him
He had watched o'er the work, every day, as it
To be sure that the workmen were thorough and
O, how or of beauty or strength could it fail,
When the heart helped the hammer drive in every
Now the fair house was standing in perfected form,
To smile in the sunshine, or laugh at the storm ;
And the heart of the lover was leaping with glee,
For he thought of his bride, that its mistress
And so, when the fruitage of Autumn was in,
When the nights to be frosty and longer begin ;
When the corn had been garnered in plentiful
And was heaped for the husking along the barn-
When the Indian Summer had borrowed the dress
Of days that were over, the Autumn to bless,
The young man remembered the home of his pride,
And bore to its threshold his beautiful bride ;
And, as blushing she crossed it, there fell on her ear
The song of the voices that welcome us here.
That night, as they sat in the firelight, those
And planned for the future the work they would
What if some little goblin had chanced to come in,
(They do say, that such creatures as goblins have
And, in his own queer sort of goblinish way,
Just hinted at what would befall them to-day :
What a laugh they 'd have had at his impudent
That skeptical couple of fifty years since !
Suppose he had told them to put in a pot
More or less of cold water and heat it up hot ;
And, like so many oxen, to yoke in the steam,
And they 'd presently have no end of a team ;
And that, some day or other, right by the back-
Such a team would come trotting, like lightning,
or slower :
To his goblinship then, what d' ye think they'd
For poking at people, just married, such fun?
Or if he'd suggested, when grass was to mow
That a man with a scythe was tremendously
That two horses would move round a field, by and
And cut down the acres as true as a die ;
The comical imp would have had to "make tracks "
Up the chimney, or hide in the neighboring cracks,
For they wouldn't have stood it, I'm sure, any more,
Or to such a wild talker have yielded the "floor."
Now, if, as they sat there, some spirit did try
To make them believe what would be by and by,
And they happened to treat him in any ill way,
Ought they not to apologize to him to-day?
But we have no right to give them any hints,
How they should have done, half a century since,
The goblins, we laugh at with our common sense,
May turn upon us, half a century hence.
And so they had armed them to battle with life ;
The bride and the bridegroom were husband and
Their life-boat \vas launched on the turbulent wave;
Will the hemlsman be skilful to guide and to save ?
There'll be breakers to buffet and tempests to fight,
When the starlight is sleeping in clouds and in
And doubt and desponding will darken the soul,
As the sea bears them on in its merciless roll.
But be of good courage, the darkness forget,
For with love at the helm, you shall weather it yet !
I should like to drop in on their Honey-moon days,
And look up a little their Honey-moon ways;
I wonder if they started off on a jaunt
To any delightfully popular haunt,
To see how many miles in a month they could ride,
With one trunk for the bridegroom, and ten for the
What an insult to bees, to call this a Honeymoon !
'T would be much more appropriate to call it a
It has none of the bee, it would seem to outsiders,
Except the "fo^-w-tiful" dresses the bride has.
I don't believe Grandpa and Grandma would be
For the honey-moon shine of any such spree ;
But when their connubial lamp had been lighted,
I think, (I'm not sure, for I wasn't invited,)
They quietly rode in an old-fashioned chaise
And "put up" at home for the Honey-moon days.
Alone with each other, each bending to share
The burden that fell to the other to bear
He come from the stock of the sturdy and strong,
Who have shrined our New England in story and
Whose father at Lexington Common had fought
With the men who would die, but who could not be
And who from the air, with his first breathing,
A strong Saxon courage, to will and to do ;
And she, in the blossoming summer of life,
Unlearned in its wisdom, untried in its strife
Her face written over, in letters of truth,
With womanly purity, beauty and youth,
Both taking upon them true laborers' parts,
They moved towards the future with resolute
And they looked to the light of the stars overhead
To illumine the path they had chosen to tread.
O'er the path of the farmer that starlight has
As it ran in its windings through sunshine and
O, the life of the farmer ! their life for so long
It has crowned them with blessings, O give it a
'Tis the life of the greenwood, the meadow and
'Tis written in nature's own writing and book;
'Tis the life of the simple, the honest, and true ;
'Tis as fair as the morning, as fresh as its dew ;
And the pictures, that hang on its leaf-covered
Are as rich as the sunlight that over them falls ;
"Length of days, in its right hand," it holdeth, to
And "riches and honor, its left hand" will give :
To the farmer that loves it, it teaches in turn
The lessons of wisdom he liveth to learn ;
And Summer and Winter and Autumn and Spring
Their tributes of love to his industry bring.
The seed-time is dear to his provident heart,
As he fills in the furrows with delicate art ;
For he knows the good God will look down on his
And waken the harvest, that sleeps in the seed :
And the gladness within him, if spoken, would sing,
That the life of the farmer is fair in the Spring.
But the soft wind of Summer is fanning his brow,
And the beauty of Summer is bounding him now ;
His soul is awake to the life of the scene,
To the song of the birds, and the wealth of the
The haymakers, out at the peeping of dawn,
Away through the dew to the mowing have gone ;
And stout wagon-loads of the sweet-smelling hay
Come creaking along at the close of the clay.
The farmer looks in on the generous store,
And he sends up a prayer, as he turns from- the
O, the husbandman loveth the warm Summer time,
When Earth seems'to whisper her secrets in rhyme.
But what are the blessings the ripe Autumn yields ?
Go, ask of the beauty, that filleth the fields ;
Of the tassels, that play in the wave of the grain :
They will give you an answer to heart and to brain.
Or, hark if you will, to the song of the corn,
As it rustles at evening, or bathes in the morn ;
Or listen again to the strains, as they come,
Of the harvesters singing the glad harvest-home ;
For this is why Autumn the farmer's heart charms,
And these are the blessings it bears in its arms.
But Winter is hard for the farmer, at least ?
Ah ! what will you say of the Christmas-time feast,
When the bountiful weight of the Winter-days'
Is playfully crushing the plentiful board ?
Or is there not something to cheer and inspire,
In the glow and the gleam of a great open fire ?
That crackle and sparkle my heart will remember,
As long as there is such a month as December.
But if you still think, that the time's melancholic,
The husking bids come to its corn-colored frolic ;
Where each rosy girl and the lover beside her
Are busily chatting on apples and cider.
" Oh no," says the farmer, " 'tis well on my farm
My house and my barns and my cattle are warm,
God is here in the Winter his child is content ;"
And in prayer of thanksgiving his bared head is
I thank God for the farmer's great heart and hard
There is no truer nobleman lives in the land :
He is hardy and brown with the tanning of toil ;
He has breathed better life from the smell of the
He's above the world's cheats and the tricks of its
On "the broad stone of honor" his firm feet are
The stuff he is made of, New England can tell,
'Tis writ in the freedom he's guarded so well ;
And if foes or if faction e'er threat to o'erwhelm,
I have faith in the farmer to bear up the helm.
And so, when the wings of misfortune are heard,
And the air, as it thickens, with wailings is stirred,
He bows him with meekness and kisses the rod,
For the strength that is in him is trust in his God.
I thank God for the wife of the farmer, to-day,
Of his house and his heart, the delight and the
For on her the mantle of virtue doth fall,
And a virtuous woman "excelleth them all."
A wife and companion, to counsel and cheer
'Tis the morning that scatters the mists of our
And she, too, is busy with work of her own,
The queen of her dairy, she reigneth alone.
See, how from the churn the rich butter-milk
See the sweet, golden butter, you can't buy in
O, a song to the farmer, a song to his wife,
And a song out of love for the husbandman's life !
For these dear ones the life of the farmer have
The half-century path, and the stars overhead ;
And this was before them, when starting alone
They moved down the future to make it their own.
Time passed, and the sunshine had kissed off the
POEM. 8 1
And the laughter of children the house had rung
The morning went by, and the children were
They had gone from the homestead to homes of
their own ;
And when back to the haunts they had left, they
Little children came with them to Grandfather's
To Grandfathers and Grandmothers drink a deep
To the love that they give, in its infinite wealth ;
It has made farm and farm-house to us children
Like the houses we build in a beautiful dream.
We've sat on their knee, and they've shown us the
Of Grandfather's horse, in his Sabbath-day traces ;
We've rummaged the house from down stairs to up
Can any one tell how the dear souls could bear it ?
We've raced through the barn and have played on
And the weeks have been only one long holiday.
Dear children, I promise for your hearts and mine,
We'll keep them immortal those days o' lang
The nightfall was coming again they're alone,
That future's behind them they've made it their
They sit, as they sat in the Honey-moon days,
And watch the old pictures come out of the blaze,
And ask, as their faces are warm in the gleam,
If the life they have lived can be more than a
Old friends and old feelings are with them again,
They welcome them now, for they cherished them
And from far, as they look down on the star-lighted
The years of the by-gone move solemnly back.
And what is the record that comes with the years ?
Is it written in smiles, or all blotted with tears ?
Does the angel that bears it look frowningly down ?
Or comes he with laurel to weave them a crown ?
The hand-writing is clear, and the angel comes
And out from the laurel he weaveth a crown.
From the wedding of youth, to the wedding of age,
'Tis an unsullied record illumines the page.
It is written thereon, how a husband's brave arm
Has always encircled to shelter from harm ;
How it held the young wife, when the vigor of
Was blessing their home with unspeakable wealth ;
And how 'twas drawn closer, when sickness and
Were wasting the body and wearing the brain.
The page of the record is shining and fair,
With his tender, ay, womanly, nurture and care.
It is writ in the book, of a wife that has stood
In her purity by him, in evil and good ;
Who gave him her love from a gathering store,
(True love, as it giveth, receiveth the more )
And the smile of whose cheering unfailingly brought
A smooth brow from the wrinkles of labor and
No wonder, the angel comes down from the blue,
To crown with his laurels the wives that are true.