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Maurice G. (Maurice Garland) Fulton.

Southern life in southern literature; selections of representative prose and poetry online

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Over them pour thy song, like a rich flood of light.

PHILIP PENDLETON COOKE

[Philip Pendleton Cooke was born in Martinsburg, Virginia, in
1 8 1 6. After graduating from Princeton he began the practice of law
with his father, but spent most of his time in his two delights
hunting and literary pursuits. He was a man with lyrical talent who
failed of full development through failure to take his poetic gift seri
ously, habits of procrastination, and frail health. He died in 1850.]

FLORENCE VANE

I loved thee long and dearly,

Florence Vane ;
My life s bright dream, and early,

Hath come again ;



PHILIP PENDLETON COOKE 2OI

I renew, in my fond vision,

My heart s dear pain,
My hope, and thy derision,

Florence Vane.



The ruin lone and hoary,

The ruin old,
Where thou didst hark my story,

At even told,
That spot the hues Elysian

Of sky and plain
I treasure in my vision,

Florence Vane.



Thou wast lovelier than the roses

In their prime ;
Thy voice excelled the closes

Of sweetest rime ;
Thy heart was as a river

Without a main.
Would I had loved thee never,

Florence Vane !



But, fairest, coldest wonder !

Thy glorious clay
Lieth the green sod under

Alas the day !
And it boots not to remember

Thy disdain
To quicken love s pale ember,

Florence Vane.



202 SOUTHERN LIFE IN SOUTHERN LITERATURE

The lilies of the valley

By young graves weep,
The pansies love to dally

Where maidens sleep ;
May their bloom, in beauty vying,

Never wane
Where thine earthly part is lying,

Florence Vane !

LIFE IN THE AUTUMN WOODS

Summer has gone !

And fruitful autumn has advanced so far,
That there is warmth, not heat, in the broad sun,
And you may look with steadfast gaze upon

The ardors of his car ;
The stealthy frosts, whom his spent looks embolden,

Are making the green leaves golden.

What a brave splendor

Is in the October air ! How rich and clear
How life-full, and all joyous ! We must render
Love to the springtime, with its sproutings tender,

As to a child quite dear
But autumn is a noon, prolonged, of glory

A manhood not yet hoary.

I love the woods

In this best season of the liberal year ;
I love to haunt their whispering solitudes,
And give myself to melancholy moods,

With no intruder near ;
And find strange lessons, as I sit and ponder,

In every natural wonder.



PHILIP PENDLETON COOKE 203

But not alone

As Shakespeare s melancholy courtier loved Ardennes,
Love I the autumn forest ; and I own
I would not oft have mused as he, but flown

To hunt with Amiens
And little recked, as up the bold deer bounded,

Of the sad creature wounded.



That gentle knight,

Sir William Wortley, weary of his part,
In painted pomps, which he could read aright,
Built Warncliffe lodge for that he did delight

To hear the belling hart.
It was a gentle taste, but its sweet sadness

Yields to the hunter s madness.



What passionate

And wild delight is in the proud swift chase !
Go out what time the lark, at heaven s red gate,
Soars joyously singing quite infuriate

With the high pride of his place ;
What time the unrisen sun arrays the morning

In its first bright adorning.

Hark the shrill horn
As sweet to hear as any clarion
Piercing with silver call the ear of morn ;
And mark the steeds, stout Curtal, and Topthorn,

And Greysteil, and the Don
Each one of them his fiery mood displaying

With pawing and with neighing.



204 SOUTHERN LIFE IN SOUTHERN LITERATURE

Urge your swift horse

After the crying hounds in this fresh hour
Vanquish high hills stem perilous streams perforce
Where the glades ope give free wings to your course

And you will know the power
Of the brave chase and how of griefs the sorest,

A cure is in the forest.



Or stalk the deer :

The same red fires of dawn illume the hills,
The gladdest sounds are crowding on your ear,
There is a life in all the atmosphere

Your very nature fills
With the fresh hour, as up the hills aspiring,

You climb with limbs untiring.



It is a fair

And pleasant sight, to see the mountain stag,
With the long sweep of his swift walk, repair
To join his brothers ; or the plethoric bear

Lying on some high crag,
With pinky eyes half closed, but broad head shaking,

As gadflies keep him waking.

And these you see,

And, seeing them, you travel to their death,
With a slow stealthy step from tree to tree
Noting the wind, however faint it be ;

The hunter draws a breath
In times like these, which he will say repays him

For all the care that waylays him.



THEODORE O HARA 205

A strong joy fills

A rapture far beyond the tongue s cold power
My heart in golden autumn fills and thrills !
And I would rather stalk the breezy hills

Descending to my bower
Nightly by the bold spirit of health attended

Than pine where life is splendid.

THEODORE O HARA

[Theodore O Hara was born of Irish parentage at Danville,
Kentucky, in 1820. Upon graduating from St. Joseph s College,
at Bardstown, Kentucky, he studied law. After serving in the
Mexican War, he was editor of a paper in Frankfort, Kentucky,
and later of one in Mobile, Alabama. He participated in the Civil
War, and, after its close, he engaged in farming in Alabama, where
he died in 1867. O Hara has left, so far as is known, but two poems,
" The Bivouac of the Dead " and " The Old Pioneer."]

THE BIVOUAC OF THE DEAD

The muffled drum s sad roll has beat

The soldier s last tattoo :
No more on Life s parade shall meet

That brave and fallen few.
On Fame s eternal camping-ground

Their silent tents are spread,
And Glory guards, with solemn round,

The bivouac of the dead.

No rumor of the foe s advance

Now swells upon the wind ;
No troubled thought at midnight haunts

Of loved ones left behind ;



206 SOUTHERN LIFE IN SOUTHERN LITERATURE

No vision of the morrow s strife

The warrior s dream alarms ;
No braying horn nor screaming fife

At dawn shall call to arms.



Their shivered swords are red with rust,

Their plumed heads are bowed ;
Their haughty banner, trailed in dust,

Is now their martial shroud.
And plenteous funeral tears have washed

The red stains from each brow,
And the proud forms, by battle gashed,

Are free from anguish now.



The neighboring troop, the flashing blade,

The bugle s stirring blast,
The charge, the dreadful cannonade,

The din and shout, are past ;
Nor war s wild note nor glory s peal

Shall thrill with fierce delight
Those breasts that nevermore may feel

The rapture of the fight.



Like the fierce northern hurricane

That sweeps his great plateau,
Flushed with the triumph yet to gain,

Came down the serried foe.
Who heard the thunder of the fray

Break o er the field beneath,
Knew well the watchword of that day

Was " Victory or Death."



THEODORE O HARA 2O/

Long had the doubtful conflict raged

O er all that stricken plain,
For never fiercer fight had waged

The vengeful blood of Spain ;
And still the storm of battle blew,

Still swelled the gory tide ;
Not long, our stout old chieftain knew,

Such odds his strength could bide.



T was in that hour his stern command

Called to a martyr s grave
The flower of his beloved land,

The nation s flag to save.
By rivers of their fathers gore

His first-born laurels grew,
And well he deemed the sons would pour

Their lives for glory too.

Full many a norther s breath has swept

O er Angostura s plain,
And long the pitying sky has wept

Above its moldered slain.
The raven s scream, or eagle s flight,

Or shepherd s pensive lay,
Alone awakes each sullen height

That frowned o er that dread fray.

Sons of the Dark and Bloody Ground,

Ye must not slumber there,
Where stranger steps and tongues resound

Along the heedless air.



208 SOUTHERN LIFE IN SOUTHERN LITERATURE

Your own proud land s heroic soil

Shall be your fitter grave :
She claims from war his richest spoil

The ashes of her brave.



Thus neath their parent turf they rest,

Far from the gory field,
Borne to a Spartan mother s breast

On many a bloody shield ;
The sunshine of their native sky

Smiles sadly on them here,
And kindred eyes and hearts watch by

The heroes sepulcher.



Rest on, embalmed and sainted dead !

Dear as the blood ye gave ;
No impious footstep here shall tread

The herbage of your grave ;
Nor shall your glory be forgot

While Fame her record keeps,
Or Honor points the hallowed spot

Where valor proudly sleeps.



Yon marble minstrel s voiceless stone

In deathless song shall tell,
When many a vanished age hath flown,

The story how ye fell ;
Nor wreck, nor change, nor winter s blight,

Nor Time s remorseless doom,
Shall dim one ray of glory s light

That gilds your deathless tomb.



ALEXANDER BEAUFORT MEEK 2OQ

ALEXANDER BEAUFORT *MEEK

[Alexander Beaufort Meek was born in Columbia, South Caro
lina, in 1814. At an early age he removed with his parents to Ala
bama, where he became lawyer, politician, editor. After the Civil
War he removed to Columbus, Mississippi, where he died, in 1865.
Besides poetry, he published a volume of orations and sketches.]



A SONG

The bluebird is whistling in Hillibee grove,

Terra-re ! Terra-re !
His mate is repeating the tale of his love,

Terra-re !

But never that song,

As its notes fleet along,
So sweet and so soft in its raptures can be,
As thy low-whispered words, young chieftain, to me.

Deep down in the dell is a clear crystal stream,

Terra-re! Terra-re!
Where, scattered like stars, the white pebbles gleam,

Terra-re !

But deep in my breast,

Sweet thoughts are at rest,
No eye but my own in their beauty shall see ;
They are dreams, happy dreams, young chieftain, of thee.

The honey-bud blooms when the springtime is green,

Terra-re ! Terra-re !
And the fawn with the roe, on the hilltop is seen,

Terra-re !




210 SOUTHERN LIFE IN SOUTHERN LITERATURE

But t is spring all the year,

When my loved one is near,

And his smiles are like bright beaming blossoms to me,
Oh ! to rove o er the hilltop, young chieftain, with thee.



LAND OF THE SOUTH

Land of the South ! imperial land !

How proud thy mountains rise !
How sweet thy scenes on every hand !

How fair thy covering skies !
But not for this, oh, not for these,

I love thy fields to roam,
Thou hast a dearer spell to me,

Thou art my native home !

Thy rivers roll their liquid wealth,

Unequaled to the sea,
Thy hills and valleys bloom with health,

And green with verdure be 1
But, not for thy proud ocean streams,

Not for thine azure dome,
Sweet, sunny South ! I cling to thee, -

Thou art my native home !

I Ve stood beneath Italia s clime,

Beloved of tale and song,
On Helvyn s hills, proud and sublime,

Where nature s wonders throng ;
By Tempe s classic sunlit streams,

Where gods, of old, did roam,
But ne er have found so fair a land

As thou my native home !



ALEXANDER BEAUFORT MEEK 211

And thou hast prouder glories too,

Than nature ever gave,
Peace sheds o er thee, her genial dew,

And Freedom s pinions wave,
Fair science flings her pearls around,

Religion lifts her dome,
These, these endear thee, to my heart,

My own, loved native home !

And " heaven s best gift to man " is thine,

God bless thy rosy girls !
Like sylvan flowers, they sweetly shine,

Their hearts are pure as pearls !
And grace and goodness circle them,

Where er their footsteps roam,
How can I then, whilst loving them,

Not love my native home !

Land of the South ! imperial land !

Then here s a health to thee,
Long as thy mountain barriers stand,

May st thou be blessed and free !
May dark dissension s banner ne er

Wave o er thy fertile loam,
But should it come, there s one will die,

To save his native home !



THE MOCKING BIRD

From the vale, what music ringing,
Fills the bosom of the night ;

On the sense, entranced, flinging
Spells of witchery and delight !



212 SOUTHERN LIFE IN SOUTHERN LITERATURE

O er magnolia, lime and cedar,

From yon locust top, it swells,
Like the chant of serenader,
Or the rimes of silver bells !
Listen ! dearest, listen to it !

Sweeter sounds were never heard !
T is the song of that wild poet
Mime and minstrel Mocking Bird.

See him, swinging in his glory,

On yon topmost bending limb !
Caroling his amorous story,

Like some wild crusader s hymn !
Now it faints in tones delicious

As the first low vow of love !
Now it bursts in swells capricious,

All the moonlit vale above !
Listen ! dearest, etc.

Why is t thus, this sylvan Petrarch

Pours all night his serenade ?
T is for some proud woodland Laura,

His sad sonnets all are made !
But he changes now his measure

Gladness bubbling from his mouth
Jest, and gibe, and mimic pleasure

Winged Anacreon of the South !
Listen ! dearest, etc.

Bird of music, wit and gladness,

Troubadour of sunny climes,
Disenchanter of all sadness,

Would thine art were in my rimes.



HENRY ROOTES JACKSON 213

O er the heart that s beating by me,

I would weave a spell divine ;
Is there aught she could deny me,

Drinking in such strains as thine ?
Listen ! dearest, etc.



HENRY ROOTES JACKSON

[Henry Rootes Jackson was born of English parentage in Athens,
Georgia, in 1820, and died in Savannah in 1898. After graduating
from Yale he practiced law in Georgia. He saw service in both the
Mexican War and the Civil War. In 1853 he accepted a diplomatic
appointment to Austria; in 1885 he was honored with a similar
appointment to Mexico. His contribution to Southern poetry is a
single volume of poems.]

THE RED OLD HILLS OF GEORGIA

The red old hills of Georgia !

So bald, and bare, and bleak
Their memory fills my spirit

With thoughts I cannot speak.
They have no robe of verdure,

Stript naked to the blast ;
And yet, of all the varied earth,

I love them best at last.

The red old hills of Georgia !

My heart is on them now ;
Where, fed from golden streamlets,

Oconee s waters flow !
I love them with devotion,

Though washed so bleak and bare ;
Oh ! can my spirit e er forget

The warm hearts dwelling there ?



214 SOUTHERN LIFE IN SOUTHERN LITERATURE

I love them for the living,

The generous, kind, and gay ;
And for the dead who slumber

Within their breasts of clay.
I love them for the bounty,

Which cheers the social hearth ;
I love them for their rosy girls

The fairest on the earth !



The red old hills of Georgia !

Oh ! where, upon the face
Of earth, is freedom s spirit

More bright in any race ?
In Switzerland and Scotland

Each patriot breast it fills,
But oh ! it blazes brighter yet

Among our Georgia hills !

And where, upon their surface,

Is heart to feeling dead ?
Oh ! when has needy stranger

Gone from those hills unfed ?
There bravery and kindness,

For aye, go hand in hand,
Upon your washed and naked hills,

" My own, my native land ! "

The red old hills of Georgia

I never can forget ;
Amid life s joys and sorrows,

My heart is on them yet ;



HENRY ROOTES JACKSON 215

And when my course is ended,

When life her web has wove,
Oh ! may I then, beneath those hills,

Lie close to them I love !



MY WIFE AND CHILD

The tattoo beats ; the lights are gone :
The camp around in slumber lies ;

The night, with solemn pace, moves on ;
The shadows thicken o er the skies ;

But sleep my weary eyes hath flown,
And sad, uneasy thoughts arise.

I think of thee, oh ! dearest one !

Whose love mine early life hath blest ;
Of thee and him our baby son

Who slumbers on thy gentle breast ;
God of the tender, frail, and lone,

Oh ! guard that little sleeper s rest !

And hover, gently hover near

To her, whose watchful eye is wet

The mother, wife, the doubly dear,

In whose young heart have freshly met

Two streams of love so deep and clear
And cheer her drooping spirit yet ! *

Now, as she kneels before thy throne,
Oh ! teach her, Ruler of the skies !
That while, by thy behest alone,



2l6 SOUTHERN LIFE IN SOUTHERN LITERATURE

Earth s mightiest powers fall or rise,
No tear is wept to thee unknown,
Nor hair is lost, nor sparrow dies !

That thou canst stay the ruthless hand
Of dark disease, and soothe its pain ;

That only by thy stern command
The battle s lost, the soldier s slain ;

That from the distant sea or land

Thou bring st the wanderer home again !

And when upon her pillow lone

Her tear-wet cheek is sadly pressed,

May happier visions beam upon

The brightening currents of her breast,

Nor frowning look, nor angry tone,
Disturb the sabbath of her rest !

Whatever fate those forms may throw,
Loved with a passion almost wild

By day, by night in joy, or woe

By fears oppressed, or hopes beguiled

From every danger, every foe,

Oh ! God ! protect my wife and child !

JAMES MATTHEWS LEGAR&

[James Matthews Legare was born in Charleston, South Carolina,
in 1823. Very little is known of him beyond the fact that he in
vented several appliances which failing health prevented him from
perfecting, and that he contributed poetry to the magazines. His
single volume of verse, " Orta-Undis, and Other Poems," was pub
lished in 1848. He died in Aiden, South Carolina, in 1859.]



JAMES MATTHEWS LEGARE 217

TO A LILY

Go bow thy head in gentle spite,
Thou lily white.

For she who spies thee waving here,
With thee in beauty can compare
As day with night.

Soft are thy leaves and white : her arms
Boast whiter charms.
Thy stem prone bent with loveliness
Of maiden grace possesseth less :
Therein she charms.

Thou in thy lake dost see
Thyself : so she
Beholds her image in her eyes
Reflected. Thus did Venus rise
From out the sea.

Inconsolate, bloom not again,

Thou rival vain

Of her whose charms have thine outdone :

Whose purity might spot the sun,

And make thy leaf a stain.



HA\V BLOSSOMS

While yesterevening, through the vale
Descending from my cottage door
I strayed, how cool and fresh a look
All nature wore.



218 SOUTHERN LIFE IN SOUTHERN LITERATURE

The calmias and goldenrods,
And tender blossoms of the haw,
Like maidens seated in the wood,
Demure, I saw.

The recent drops upon their leaves
Shone brighter than the bluest eyes,
And filled the little sheltered dell
Their fragrant sighs.

Their pliant arms they interlaced,
As pleasant canopies they were :
Their blossoms swung against my cheek
Like braids of hair.

And when I put their boughs aside
And stooped to pass, from overhead
The little agitated things
A shower shed

Of tears. Then thoughtfully I spoke ;
Well represent ye maidenhood,
Sweet flowers. Life is to the young
A shady wood.

And therein some like goldenrods,
For grosser purposes designed,
A gay existence lead, but leave
No germ behind.

And others like the calmias,

On cliff-sides inaccessible,

Bloom paramount, the vale with sweets

Yet never fill.



JAMES MATTHEWS LEGARE 219

But underneath the glossy leaves,
When, working out the perfect law,
The blossoms white and fragrant still
Drop from the haw ;

Like worthy deeds in silence wrought
And secret, through the lapse of years,
In clusters pale and delicate
The fruit appears.

In clusters pale and delicate
But waxing heavier each day,
Until the many-colored leaves
Drift from the spray.

Then pendulous, like amethysts
And rubies, purple ripe and red,
Wherewith God s feathered pensioners
In flocks are fed.

Therefore, sweet reader of this rime,
Be unto thee examples high
Not calmias and goldenrods
That scentless die :

But the meek blossoms of the haw,
That fragrant are wherever wind
The forest paths, and perishing
Leave fruits behind.



220 SOUTHERN LIFE IN SOUTHERN LITERATURE

WILLIAM GILMORE SIMMS

[For the details of Simms s life see the sketch given (page 104)
in connection with selections from his prose romances. In poetry he
was prolific, but his hand was too heavy for verse, and his poetic
work ranks distinctly lower than his prose writings.]

OH, THE SWEET SOUTH!

Oh, the sweet South ! the sunny, sunny South !

Land of true feeling, land forever mine !
I drink the kisses of her rosy mouth,

And my heart swells as with a draft of wine ;
She brings me blessings of maternal love ;

I have her smile which hallows all my toil ;
Her voice persuades, her generous smiles approve,

She sings me from the s"ky and from the soil !
Oh ! by her lonely pines, that wave and sigh

Oh ! by her myriad flowers, that bloom and fade
By all the thousand beauties of her sky,
And the sweet solace of her forest shade.
She s mine she s ever mine
Nor will I aught resign
Of what she gives me, mortal or divine :
Will sooner part
With life, hope, heart
Will die before I fly !

Oh ! love is hers such love as ever glows
In souls where leaps affection s living tide ;

She is all fondness to her friends to foes

She glows a thing of passion, strength, and pride ;

She feels no tremors when the danger s nigh,
But the fight over, and the victory won,




221



222 SOUTHERN LIFE IN SOUTHERN LITERATURE

How, with strange fondness, turns her loving eye,

In tearful welcome, on each gallant son !
Oh ! by her virtues of the cherished past

By all her hopes of what the future brings
I glory that my lot with her is cast,

And my soul flushes, and exultant sings :
She s mine she s ever mine
For her I will resign

All precious things all placed upon her shrine ;
Will freely part
With life, hope, heart, -
Will die do aught but fly 1



THE SWAMP FOX

We follow where the Swamp Fox guides,

His friends and merry men are we ;
And when the troop of Tarleton rides,

We burrow in the cypress tree.
The turfy hammock is our bed,

Our home is in .the red deer s den,
Our roof, the tree top overhead,

For we are wild and hunted men.

We fly by day and shun its light,

But, prompt to strike the sudden blow,
We mount and start with early night,

And through the forest track our foe.
And soon he hears our chargers leap,

The flashing saber blinds his eyes,
And ere he drives away his sleep,

And rushes from his camp, he dies.



WILLIAM GILMORE SIMMS 223


Free bridle bit, good gallant steed,

That will not ask a kind caress
To swim the Santee at our need,

When on his heels the foemen press,
The true heart and the ready hand,

The spirit stubborn to be free,
The twisted bore, the smiting brand,

And we are Marion s men, you see.



Now light the fire and cook the meal,

The last, perhaps, that we shall taste ;
I hear the Swamp Fox round us steal,

And that s a sign we move in haste.
He whistles to the scouts, and hark !

You hear his order calm and low.
Come, wave your torch across the dark,

And let us see the boys that go.

We may not see their forms again,

God help em, should they find the strife !
For they are strong and fearless men,

And make no coward terms for life ;
They 11 fight as long as Marion bids,

And when he speaks the word to shy,
Then, not till then, they turn their steeds,

Through thickening shade and swamp to fly



Now stir the fire anjd lie at ease,
The scouts are gone, and on the brush

I see the Colonel bend his knees,

To take his slumbers too. But hush !



224 SOUTHERN LIFE IN SOUTHERN LITERATURE


He s praying, comrades; tis not strange;

The man that s fighting day by day
May well, when night comes, take a change,
And down upon his knees to pray.



Break up that hoecake, boys, and hand

The sly and silent jug that s there ;
I love not it should idly stand

When Marion s men have need of cheer.
Tis seldom that our luck affords

A stuff like this we just have quaffed,
And dry potatoes on our boards

May always call for such a draft.

Now pile the brush and roll the log ;

Hard pillow, but a soldier s head
That s half the time in brake and bog

Must never think of softer bed.
The owl is hooting to the night,

The cooter crawling o er the bank,
And in that pond the flashing light

Tells where the alligator sank.



What ! t is the signal 1 start so soon,

And through the Santee swamp so deep,
Without the aid of friendly moon,

And we, Heaven help us ! half asleep !
But courage, comrades J Marion leads,

The Swamp Fox takes us out to-night ;
So clear your swords and spur your steeds,

There s goodly chance, I think, of fight.



EDGAR ALLAN POE 225

We follow where the Swamp Fox guides,

We leave the swamp and cypress tree,
Our spurs are in our coursers sides,

And ready for the strife are we.
The Tory camp is now in sight,

And there he cowers within his den ;
He hears our shouts, he dreads the fight,

He fears, and flies from Marion s men.



EDGAR ALLAN POE

[For sketch of Poe s life see page 27.]

TO HELEN

Helen, thy beauty is to me

Like those Nice an barks of yore,

That gently, o er a perfumed sea,
The weary, wayworn wanderer bore



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