Maurice G. (Maurice Garland) Fulton.

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

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Online LibraryMaurice G. (Maurice Garland) FultonSouthern life in southern literature; selections of representative prose and poetry → online text (page 29 of 35)
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But no : it is made : list ! somewhere, mystery, where ?

In the leaves ? in the air ?
In my heart ? is a motion made :

T is a motion of dawn, like a flicker of shade on shade.
In the leaves t is palpable : low multitudinous stirring
Upwinds through the woods ; the little ones, softly conferring,
Have settled my lord s to be looked for ; so ; they are still ;
But the air and my heart and the earth are a-thrill,
And look where the wild duck sails round the bend of the river,

And look where a passionate shiver

Expectant is bending the blades
Of the marsh-grass in serial shimmers and shades,
And invisible wings, fast fleeting, fast fleeting,

Are beating

The dark overhead as my heart beats, and steady and free
Is the ebb-tide flowing from marsh to sea

(Run home, little streams,

With your lapfuls of stars and dreams),
And a sailor unseen is hoisting a-peak,
For list, down the inshore curve of the creek

How merrily flutters the sail,
And lo, in the East ! Will the East unveil ?
The East is unveiled, the East hath confessed
A flush : t is dead ; t is alive ; t is dead, ere the West
Was aware of it : nay, t is abiding, t is withdrawn :
Have a care, sweet Heaven ! T is Dawn.

Now a dream of a flame through that dream of a flush is up-
rolled :

To the zenith ascending, a dome of undazzling gold
Is builded, in shape as a beehive, from out of the sea :
The hive is of gold undazzling, but oh, the Bee,
The star-fed Bee, the build-fire Bee,


Of dazzling gold is the great Sun- Bee

That shall flash from the hive-hole over the sea.

Yet now the dewdrop, now the morning gray,

Shall live their little lucid sober day

Ere with the sun their souls exhale a\vay.

Now in each pettiest personal sphere of dew

The summ d morn shines complete as in the blue

Big dewdrop of all heaven : with these lit shrines

O er-silvered to the farthest sea-confines,

The sacramental marsh one pious plain

Of worship lies. Peace to the ante-reign

Of Mary Morning, blissful mother mild,

Minded of nought but peace, and of a child.

Not slower than Majesty moves, for a mean and a measure
Of motion, not faster than dateless Olympian leisure
Might pace with unblown ample garments from pleasure to


The; wave-serrate sea-rim sinks unjarring, unreeling,
Forever revealing, revealing, revealing,
Edgewise, bladewise, halfwise, wholewise, ? t is done !

Good-morrow, lord Sun !
With several voice, with ascription one,
The woods and the marsh and the sea and my soul
Unto thee, whence the glittering stream of all morrows doth roll,
Cry good and past-good and most heavenly morrow, lord Sun.

O Artisan born in the purple, Workman Heat,

Parter of passionate atoms that travail to meet

And be mixed in the death-cold oneness, innermost Guest

At the marriage of elements, fellow 7 of publicans, blest

King in the blouse of flame, that loiterest o er

The idle skies, yet laborest fast evermore,


Thou in the fine forge-thunder, thou, in the beat
Of the heart of a man, thou Motive, Laborer Heat :
Yea, Artist, thou, of whose art yon sea s all news,
With his inshore greens and manifold mid-sea blues,
Pearl-glint, shell-tint, ancientest perfectest hues,
Ever shaming the maidens, lily and rose
Confess thee, and each mild flame that glows
In the clarified virginal bosoms of stones that shine,
It is thine, it is thine :

Thou chemist of storms, whether driving the winds a-swirl

Or a-flicker the subtiler essences polar that whirl

In the magnet earth, yea, thou with a storm for a heart,

Rent with debate, many-spotted with question, part

From part oft sundered, yet ever a globed light,

Yet ever the artist, ever more large and bright

Than the eye of a man may avail of : manifold One,

I must pass from thy face, I must pass from the face of the Sun

Old Want is awake and agog, every wrinkle a-frown ;
The worker must pass to his work in the terrible town :
But I fear not, nay, and I fear not the thing to be done ;
I am strong with the strength of my lord the Sun :
How dark, how dark soever the race that must needs be run,
I am lit with the Sun.

Oh, never the mast-high run of the seas

Of traffic shall hide thee,
Never the hell-colored smoke of the factories

Hide thee,
Never the reek of the time s fen-politics

Hide thee,


And ever my heart through the night shall with knowledge

abide thee,

And ever by day shall my spirit, as one that hath tried thee,
Labor, at leisure, in art, till yonder beside thee

My soul shall float, friend Sun,

The day being done.


[John Banister Tabb, more commonly called Father Tabb, was
born in Virginia in 1845. During the Civil War he served on a
blockade runner, and, being captured, he was imprisoned in Point
Lookout prison, where he became the friend of Sidney Lanier. In
1872 he began to teach and to write verses, and in 1884 he privately
published his first volume of poems. In the meantime he had been
ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic Church, and had become
professor of English in St. Charles College, Maryland. There he
died in 1909. He has published, at various times, some seven or
eight volumes of verse.]


Since the dewdrop holds the star

The long night through,
Perchance the satellite afar

Reflects the dew.

And while thine image in my heart

Doth steadfast shine ;
There, haply, in thy heaven apart

Thou keepest mine.

1 The selections from Tabb are here reprinted through the kind permission
of the holder of the copyright, Small, Maynard Company.



Killdee ! Killdee ! far o er the lea

At twilight comes the cry.
Killdee ! a marsh-mate answereth

Across the shallow sky.

Killdee ! Killdee ! thrills over me

A rhapsody of light,
As star to star gives utterance

Between the day and night.

Killdee ! Killdee ! O Memory,
The twin birds, Joy and Pain,

Like shadows parted by the sun,
At twilight meet again !


Little masters, hat in hand
Let me in your presence stand,
Till your silence solve for me
This your threefold mystery.

Tell me for I long to know
How, in darkness there below,
Was your fairy fabric spun,
Spread and fashioned, three in one.

Did your gossips gold and blue,
Sky and Sunshine, choose for you,
Ere your triple forms were seen,
Suited liveries of green ?


Can ye, if ye dwelt indeed
Captives of a prison seed,
Like the Genie, once again
Get you back into the grain ?

Little masters, may I stand
In your presence, hat in hand,
Waiting till you solve for me
This your threefold mystery ?


Their noonday never knows

What names immortal are :
T is night alone that shows

How star surpasseth star.


[John Henry Boner was born in Salem, North Carolina, in 1845, of
Moravian lineage. He was at first connected as printer and as editor
with newspapers in North Carolina. In 1871 he secured government
employment in Washington. Subsequently he engaged in literary
work in New York. On account of impaired health he was forced
to give up his work in New York and to return to Washington,
where for a while he acted as proofreader in the Government Print
ing Office. He died in Washington in 1903.]


The sultry day is ending,

The clouds are fading away,
Orange with purple is blending,

And purple is turning to gray ;

1 The selections from Boner are here reprinted through the permission of
the holder of the copyright, Mrs, Boner.


The gray grows darker and denser

Till it and the earth are one ;
A star swings out like a censer,

And the brief warm night is begun.

The brown moth floats and poises

Like a leaf in the windless air ;
Aroused by insect noises

The gray toad leaves his lair ;
Sounding the dusk depth quickly

The bull bats fall and rise,
And out of the grasses thickly

Swarm glistering fireflies.

Now darkness heavy, oppressive,

And silent completes the gloom.
The breathless night is excessive

With fragrance of perfume,
For the land is enmeshed and ablaze

With vines that blossom and trail,
Embanking the traveled ways

And festooning the fences of rail.

Afar in the southern sky

Heat-lightning flares and glows,
Vividly tinting the clouds that lie

At rest with a shimmer of rose
Tremulous, flitting, uncertain,

As a mystical light might shine
From under an ebon curtain

Before a terrible shrine.


And the slumberous night grows late.

The midnight hush is deep.
Under the pines I wait

For the moon ; and the pine trees weep
Great drops of dew, that fall

Like footsteps here and there,
And they sadly whisper and call

To each other high in the air.

They rustle and whisper like ghosts,

They sigh like souls in pain,
Like the movement of stealthy hosts

They surge, and are silent again.
The midnight hush is deep,

But the pines the spirits distrest
They move in somnambulant sleep

They whisper and are not at rest.

Lo ! a light in the East opalescent

Softly suffuses the sky
Where flocculent clouds are quiescent,

Where like froth of the ocean they lie
Like foam on the beach they crimple

Where the wave has spent its swirl,
Like the curve of a shell they dimple

Into iridescent pearl.

And the light grows brighter and higher
Till far through the trees I see

The rim of a globe of fire

That rolls through the darkness to me,



And the aisles of the forest gleam

With a splendor unearthly, that shines

Like the light of a lurid dream
Through the colonnaded pines.


When wintry days are dark and drear

And all the forest ways grow still,
When gray snow-laden clouds appear

Along the bleak horizon hill,
When cattle all are snugly penned

And sheep go huddling close together,
When steady streams of smoke ascend

From farmhouse chimneys in such weather
Give me old Carolina s own,
A great log house, a great hearthstone,
A cheering pipe of cob or brier
And a red, leaping light ood fire.

When dreary day draws to a close

And all the silent land is dark,
When Boreas down the chimney blows

And sparks fly from the crackling bark,
When limbs are bent with snow or sleet

And owls hoot from the hollow tree,
With hounds asleep about your feet,
Then is the time for reverie.
Give me old Carolina s own,
A hospitable wide hearthstone,
A cheering pipe of cob or brier
And a red, rousing light ood fire.



Here lived the soul enchanted

By melody of song ;
Here dwelt the spirit haunted

By a demoniac throng ;
Here sang the lips elated ;
Here grief and death were sated ;
Here loved and here unmated

Was he, so frail, so strong.



Here wintry winds and cheerless

The dying firelight blew,
While he whose song was peerless

Dreamed the drear midnight through,


And from dull embers chilling
Crept shadows darkly filling
The silent place, and thrilling
His fancy as they grew.

Here, with brow bared to heaven,
In starry night he stood,

With the lost star of seven
Feeling sad brotherhood.

Here in the sobbing showers

Of dark autumnal hours

He heard suspected powers

Shriek through the stormy wood.

From visions of Apollo

And of Astarte s bliss,
He gazed into the hollow

And hopeless vale of Dis ;
And though earth were surrounded
By heaven, it still was mounded
With graves. His soul had sounded

The dolorous abyss.

Proud, mad, but not defiant,
He touched at heaven and hell.

Fate found a rare soul pliant
And rung her changes well.

Alternately his lyre,

Stranded with strings of fire,

Led earth s most happy choir
Or flashed with Israfel.


No singer of old story

Luting accustomed lays,
No harper for new glory,

No mendicant for praise,
He struck high chords and splendid,
Wherein were fiercely blended
Tones that unfinished ended

With his unfinished days.

Here through this lowly portal,

Made sacred by his name,
Unheralded immortal

The mortal went and came.
And fate that then denied him,
And envy that decried him,
And malice that belied him,

Have cenotaphed his fame.


[Will Henry Thompson was born in 1848 at Calhoun, Georgia.
Like his brother, Maurice Thompson, who has been more widely
known through his poems and his novels, Will Henry Thompson
served in the Confederate army, and later engaged in the practice of
law in Indiana. In 1889 he moved to Seattle, Washington, where he
has achieved prominence as an attorney. He is noted as an orator,
and he has written a small amount of poetry of high quality.]


A cloud possessed the hollow field,
The gathering battle s smoky shield.
Athwart the gloom the lightning flashed,
And through the cloud some horsemen dashed,
And from the heights the thunder pealed.


Then at the brief command of Lee
Moved out that matchless infantry,
With Pickett leading grandly down,
To rush against the roaring crown
Of those dread heights of destiny.

Far heard above the angry guns

A cry across the tumult runs,

The voice that rang through Shiloh s woods

And Chickamauga s solitudes,

The fierce South cheering on her sons !

Ah, how the withering tempest blew
Against the front of Pettigrew !
A Khamsin wind that scorched and singed
Like that infernal flame that fringed
The British squares at Waterloo !

A thousand fell where Kemper led ;
A thousand died where Garnett bled :
In blinding flame and strangling smoke
The remnant through the batteries broke
And crossed the works with Armistead.

" Once more in Glory s van with me ! "
Virginia cried to Tennessee ;
" We two together, come what may,
Shall stand upon these works to-day ! "
(The reddest day in history.)

Brave Tennessee ! In reckless way
Virginia heard her comrade say :
" Close round this rent and riddled rag ! "
What time she set her battle flag
Amid the guns of Doubleday.


But who shall break the guards that wait
Before the awful face of Fate ?
The tattered standards of the South
Were shriveled at the cannon s mouth,
And all her hopes were desolate.

In vain the Tennesseean set
His breast against the bayonet !
In vain Virginia charged and raged,
A tigress in her wrath uncaged,
Till all the hill was red and wet !

Above the bayonets, mixed and crossed,
Men saw a gray, gigantic ghost
Receding through the battle cloud,
And heard across the tempest loud
The death cry of a nation lost !

The brave went down ! Without disgrace
They leaped to Ruin s red embrace.
They only heard Fame s thunders wake,
And saw the dazzling sunburst break
In smiles on Glory s bloody face !

They fell, who lifted up a hand
And bade the sun in heaven to stand !
They smote and fell, who set the bars
Against the progress of the stars,
And stayed the march of Motherland !

They stood, who saw the future come
On through the fight s delirium !
They smote and stood, who held the hope
Of nations on that slipper)- slope
Amid the cheers of Christendom.


God lives ! He forged the iron will
That clutched and held that trembling hill.
God lives and reigns ! He built and lent
The heights for Freedom s battlement
Where floats her flag in triumph still !

Fold up the banners ! Smelt the guns !
Love rules. Her gentler purpose runs.
A mighty mother turns in tears
The pages of her battle years,
Lamenting all her fallen sons !


[Samuel Minturn Peck was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in 1854.
After graduating from the University of Alabama he studied medicine
in New York. He began writing about his twenty-fifth year, and has
collected his poems into several volumes published at various inter
vals. He has also written stories collected under the title "Alabama


Her dimpled cheeks are pale ;
She s a lily of the vale,

Not a rose.
In a muslin or a lawn
She is fairer than the dawn

To her beaux.

Her boots are slim and neat,
She is vain about her feet
It is said.

1 The selections from Samuel Minturn Peck are here reprinted through the
permission of the holder of the copyright, Frederick A. Stokes Company.


She amputates her r s,
But her eyes are like the stars

On a balcony at night
With a fleecy cloud of white

Round her hair
Her grace, ah, who could paint ?
She would fascinate a saint,

I declare.

T is a matter of regret,
She s a bit of a coquette,

Whom I sing :
On her cruel path she goes
With a half a dozen beaux

To her string.

But let all that pass by,
As her maiden moments fly

Dew empearled ;
When she marries, on my life.
She will make the dearest wife

In the world.


When I was a boy on the old plantation,

Down by the deep bayou,
The fairest spot of all creation,

Under the arching blue ;


When the wind came over the cotton and corn,

To the long slim loop I d spring
With brown feet bare, and a hat brim torn,

And swing in the grapevine swing.

Swinging in the grapevine swing,
Laughing where the wild birds sing,

I dream and sigh

For the days gone by
Swinging in the grapevine swing.

Out o er the water lilies bonnie and bright,

Back to the moss-grown trees ;
I shouted and laughed with a heart as light

As a wild rose tossed by the breeze.
The mocking bird joined in my reckless glee,

I longed for no angel s wing,
I was just as near heaven as I wanted to be

Swinging in the grapevine swing.

Swinging in the grapevine swing,
Laughing where the wild birds sing,

Oh, to be a boy

With a heart full of joy,
Swinging in the grapevine swing !

I m weary at noon, I m weary at night,

I m fretted and sore of heart,
And care is sowing my locks with white

As I wend through the fevered mart.
I m tired of the world with its pride and pomp,

And fame seems a worthless thing.
I d barter it all for one day s romp,

And a swing in the grapevine swing.


Swinging in the grapevine swing,
Laughing where the wild birds sing,

I would I were away

From the world to-day,
Swinging in the grapevine swing.


A miracle of gleaming dyes

Blue, scarlet, buff and green ;
O ne er before by mortal eyes

Such gorgeous hues were seen !
So grandly was its plan designed,

So cunningly t was built,
The whole proclaimed a master mind

My Aunt Jemima s quilt.

Each friendly household far and wide

Contributed its share ;
It chronicled the countryside

In colors quaint and rare.
From belles and brides came rich brocade

Enwrought with threads of gilt ;
E en buxom widows lent their aid

To Aunt Jemima s quilt.

No tapestry from days of yore,

No web from Orient loom,
But paled in beauteous tints before

This strange expanse of bloom.
Here glittering stars and comet shone

O er flowers that never wilt ;
Here fluttered birds from worlds unknown

On Aunt Jemima s quilt


O, merry was the quilting bee,

When this great quilt was done ;
The rafters rang with maiden glee,

And hearts were lost and won.
Ne er did a throng of braver men

In war clash hilt to hilt,
Than sought the smiles of beauty then

Round Aunt Jemima s quilt.

This work of art my aunt esteemed

The glory of the age ;
No poet s eyes have ever beamed

More proudly o er his page.
Were other quilt to this compared,

Her nose woujd upward tilt ;
Such impudence was seldom dared

O er Aunt Jemima s quilt.

Her dear old hands have gone to dust,

That once were lithe and light ;
Her needles keen are thick with rust,

That flashed so nimbly bright.
And here it lies by her behest,

Stained with the tears we spilt,
Safe folded in this cedar chest

My Aunt Jemima s quilt.




[William Hamilton Hayne, the son of Paul Hamilton Hayne,
was born in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1856. He was educated
mainly at his father s home, " Copse Hill," near Augusta, Georgia.
Like his father he has devoted himself wholly to literature, begin
ning to publish verses in newspapers and magazines in 1879. His
collected poems were published in 1 892 under the tide ?t Sylvan
Lyrics and Other Verses. Mr. Hayne lives at Augusta, Georgia.]



O come to the meadow, with me,

For the lark is hovering high,
To bathe in the light of the sun

And the south winds wandering by !

1 The selections from William Hamilton Hayne are here reprinted through
the permission of the author.


A thrush by the rivulet s rim

Grows gay from the breath of the grass,

And sings to his sweetheart, the brook,
That mirrors his love like a glass !

O come to the meadow with me

Bird-music is gleeful and good
With Nature s full chorus of winds

From the wonderful heart of the wood !
Forget-me-nots gleam in the grass,

For the morning is mirthful with love
From robins that roam in the glen

To the palpitant wings of the dove.

O come to the meadow with me,

To the rivulet s emerald edge,
And hear the low lilt of the stream

Where the dewdrops encircle the sedge ;
The young leaves look up to the sky,

And the redbirds come hither to roam
They love the brook s lyrical flow

And its delicate fretwork of foam !

O come to the meadow with me

While the music of morning is heard,
And the rapture of fetterless song

Is sent from the heart of a bird !
Come hither and wander with me,

For Nature is breathing of love
From violets veiled in the grass

To the tremulous wings of the dove !



When dogwood brightens the groves of spring

And the gold of jasmine gleams,
When mating birds in the forest sing,

Ah ! that is the time for dreams,
For thoughts of love that are always new

Though as old as the ancient world
Forever fresh as the Maytime dew

In the breast of the rose impearled.

When timid green on the thorn tree grows

Like love at the verge of hate
And air from the apple orchard flows

Through the springtide s open gate,
When drowsy winds o er the lilies pass,

And the wings of the thrush are shy ;
When violets bloom in the new-born grass,

With the tints of a tropic sky ;

When jonquils borrow the sun s warm ray,

And the woodbine lures the bee ;
When the heart that was once a waif and stray

Returns like a ship from sea
Ah ! that is the time that no man grieves

Who woos with the wooing dove,
For the hearts of men and the hearts of leaves

Are throbbing with hope and love !.



[Robert Burns Wilson was born in Washington County, Pennsyl
vania, in 1850. Early in life he became a resident of Frankfort,
Kentucky. In addition to writing poetry he has studied painting and
exhibited his pictures with great success. During the later years of
his life his home was chiefly in New York, where he died in 1916.]


Bold, amiable, ebon outlaw, grave and wise !

For many a good green year hast thou withstood

By dangerous, planted field and haunted wood

All the devices of thine enemies,

Gleaning thy grudged breath with watchful eyes

And self-relying soul. Come ill or good,

Blithe days thou see st, thou feather Robin Hood !

Thou mak st a jest of farm-land boundaries.

Take all thou may st, and never count it crime

To rob the greatest robber of the earth,

Weak-visioned, dull, self-lauding man, whose worth

Is in his own esteem. Bide thou thy time ;

Thou know st far more of Nature s lore than he,

And her wide lap shall still provide for thee.


Broad bars of sunset-slanted gold

Are laid along the field, and here
The silence sings, as if some old

Refrain, that once rang long and clear
Came softly, stealing to the ear

Without the aid of sound. The rill
Is voiceless, and the grass is sere,

But beauty s soul abideth still.


Trancelike the mellow air doth hold

The sorrow of the passing year ;
The heart of Nature groweth cold,

The time of falling snow is near ;
On phantom feet, which none may hear,

Creeps with the shadow of the hill
The semblance of departed cheer,

But beauty s soul abideth still.

The dead, gray-clustered weeds enfold

Online LibraryMaurice G. (Maurice Garland) FultonSouthern life in southern literature; selections of representative prose and poetry → online text (page 29 of 35)