Orelia Key Bell.

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It always kept turning its bright side to me,
Like Longfellow's cloud with its silvery lining.

The crabapple tree always filled me with laughter,—
Such bitter fruition from promise so sweet !
Two-faced, like some pretty people you meet —
Their smile is so sweet, you forgive the bite after.

But, alas, the wild cherry — distillery whence
Flowed the red current of innocent wine.
Neither atitis nor prohis, in daj^s of lang syne,
It was patronized freely by us on the fence.

Ah ! I mused as I paused there solemnly,
And gazed on the ghost so gray and stark.
And drew out my blade from the sapless bark.
So all earthly pleasures must crumble to clay.

And the great spreading7?g- — was it too a wraith ? —
It had seven branches ; we thought each a heaven,
And we swung there in bliss all the morning and even —
Till a great horned devil-horse upset our faith !



22 PRELUDE.

Mighty meetings were held in that noble old tree.
There the neighborhood youth met in grand federation —
Unsectarian we were — every creed, every nation —
Jew, Gentile and African, fearless and free.

I^ackaday ! she was dead. But a lively offshoot —
A grandchild perhaps of the third generation,
Did modestly reach me a handful of fruit—
Which set memory moving in dear palpitation.

And what did I do in return for her grace?

Why, I eagerly basketed all of her fruit.

Then quietly sliced off a piece of her face

To go in my song-box. She smiled and was mute.

Perhaps she was glad, in her inmost sap.

To be polished, and baited herself for the trap.

Poor figtree ! since blighted by Truth, her remorse

Has refined her somewhat, tho' her grain is still coarse.

As I stood by the gate, in the old back yard,

I saw the veritable nut-dented stone

We had used to crack walnuts and " scaley barks " on —

And the struggle to keep back the tears was hard.

All around the green globe has the glory gone forth

Of our grand Georgia pines. Both Hayne and Lanier

Have sung them immortal. This little splint here,

Is more unto me than a forestful worth.

It was pick'd from the old-fashion'd kitchen door-sill

Where sat Mammy Aggy, once, kneading her bread.

With a snovs^ bandanna pinn'd over her head —

Poor faithful old soul, I can see her there still.

It was she who when war raised its horrid alarms

Refugeed thro' the flames that leapt 'round the door,

Wrapp'd me safe from all harm in her honest black arms,

And cradled me there till the struggle was o'er.

Here are chips fifty-seven of rare vines and trees

By Major Mims planted 'round lovely " Heartsease."

Tea Olive and Cypress, Magnolia, Pecan,

And imported Evergreens Australian.



PRELUDE. 23

Rubber Tree, Iron Tree, Jasmine, Sweet Bay,
Water Oak, Gold Tree, the " White Funeral Tree,"
Wild Peach, aud Honeysuckle, Boxwood, Althea,
(These grains do but give one a polish'd idea.)

Here the Delaware crosses the grape Sctippernong ;
There the regal Wisteria, lends a wee prong ;
And behold here a glimpse of that rare Mareschal Neil
That into my lady's south casement doth steal.

ISor did we forget that superb Trumpet Flower

That flags royal welcome in entering this bower.

Dear " Heartsease ! " beneath the cool shade of your trees

How many a heartache hath found its surcease.

Behold the Titnes- Democrat, Sun, and Free Press

Of one accord meet and each other caress ;

And mirabile dictu ! the Constitution Sind Journal

Inlaid side by side in sweet concord eternal.

A slice from Thad Horton's big chair editorial,

Baker's pen, Howell's pencil, cut smoothly in half;

And here Mr. Gilder's sweet Century memorial

Is mosaic' d in, with his rare autograph.

Ah ! that darling wee " corner " that fetches us food —

To omit it were basest of ingratitude ;

So some strips from this d^av petite mignon I took

To corner my song-box with, just for good luck.

Rest here, little songs ! in your beautiful nest ;

It was you brought the straws, and I wove them with love I

And never again from my side shall you rove.

For the mother-love always is surest and best.

Rest here, little songs, 'neath your gold-broider'd covers,

With sweet rainbow ribbons tied true lover- wise,

"While jealously o'er you the mother-pride hovers,

And where no hawk-like critic can level his eyes.

Rest here, little songs ! Your sweet images roaming

May lodge now and then in the heart of a friend,

(Please God !) but no more from my casement I'll bend

In night-watches to list for your precious home-coming.



24 PRELUDE.

Rest here, little songs ! It was Heaven who gave
You to me, and I'll live with you close to my heart,
And never again with my own shall I part,
Until the wild heartsease blows over my grave.



PART II. "Alas, Little Songs."

Alas ! little songs— there's no rest for the just.
My friends cried, ' 'A book ! ' ' — in my love and my pity
I arose in the nighttime and— turned you to dust.
Alas ! " we have here no continuing city."

In the urn of your ashes I mingled the brine

Of my grief with the oil of my sacrifice,

And I watched the sweet incense to Heaven arise,

And I thought that my darlings were saved by that sign.

Saved, from the hot caldron of syndicate steel,
The merciless hammer, the file and the wheel ;
Saved from the great Press-Fiend's insatiate maw ;
Saved from that vain battle for copyright law.

Saved from pirates. Imagine my lambkins, " Po' Jo' "
And " Jimson Weed " deckt out in cheap paper-frocks 1
Nay ! better these ashes in this precious box.
Than the dust of the ages— and spiderwebs, O !

Still my friends cried, "A book ! " Still I shook a sad head-
And grieved for my little ones — made a low moan
In the night, as the wine-press I trod all alone.
My children were buried — btit they were not dead.

They came back to me as I toss'd on my pillow.
By the waters of Babylon when I sat down.
Their little hands run o'er my harp in the willow —
They haunted me everywhere !— joy had flown.

How I miss'd their dear lispings, their sweet cunning airs,
Their cute teasing ways when they clamber' d for rhymes.
Their little heartaches, and their clear laughter chimes —
But I miss'd them most nestling about me at prayers.



PRELUDE. 25

Their very false steps were now precious to me—

For at times they seem'd bold and their wings must be clipt,

Or out of my power complete they had slipt —

But always they ventured in innocency.

In gentlest obedience, for the most part,
They bent to my wish— and their sweet modest air
As they went on their way, was remarked everywhere.
If I had them back now they might trample my heart I

My obedient anapests, pretty and plump.
Always went to their work with a hop, skip and jump.
When I asked them to sing for me, each little miss
Would fall quick into line, with a measure like this.

My twin spondees sat so erect.
In church, and looked so orthodox,
The pastor bless' d them on their locks,
And said they must be of th' elect.

And sometimes (I hold it a capital idea)

My best little dactyls I took to the play.

With Blind Tom my pets were quite carried away,

And they went into lyrics o'er Mad'moiselle Rhea.

(She asked them so archly, what else could they do ?)
And " sweet Katie Putnam " inspired them too.
And Corinne's Po' Jo' quite bewitch'd them. But ah !
Their little feet leapt when they heard E)mma Hahr.

My gentle Iambs / ever ready

To guide your brother's foot from stumbling,

How oft you held the sonnet steady.

And kept hexameters from tumbling.

Sadly sometimes would I wander by the melancholy shore,
There to "scan" my pensive trochees to the plashing of

the oar.
Or to teach them from shell-music how to pitch a minor key,
Or to borrow elegiacs from the sea-wind's revery.

But now, older grown, some must needs earn their salt,
And go out to war in the magazine marts —



26 PRELUDE.

Perchance to return to me empty or halt-
Aye me ! 'tis the proof-sheet that tries mother-hearts.

But their little home missions return' d them to me,
If not rich, at least honored, and pure from world-stain,
And I gathered them 'round the dear hearthstone again
To share my sweet cup of retiracy.

".<4 book,'''' said my friends, and in accents so bold
That I turu'd very white, and I turn'd very chilly.
Must the critics come down, like the Sj^rians of old,
Must the critics swoop down, "like a wolf on the fold,"
And gobble my little ones, willy or nilly !

Nay, better cremation — a pure holocaust,

With sighing for frankincense, weeping for myrrh,

While witnessing angels their wings over-stir. —

So the ashes were urn'd— and my darlings were lost.

Now swift-wing'd Repentance beside me awaits.

I weep, like the Peri at Paradise-Gates.

She points to the walls of my conscience, with " Look! "

In God's own handwriting I read there, " A book.^''

Then fall I to my knees and make I a low moan,
And cry I, " Would to God I had died for my own ! "
But our Father knows best how to answer our prayer.
When I wake, lo ! the Angel of Memory is there.

She wipes the last tear from my grief-dazed eyes.
And points a rainbow in my storm-shaken skies.
And leads me, so gently, thro' twilights and dreams
Past the borders of Lethe to Helicon streams.

Over lyrical meadows she measures my feet

Where they first learned to trip ('tis a harder task now),

And in bucolic harness she makes me to plow

Old fields where Pegasus once flew, lightning-fleet.

With yardstick and tapeline the square she makes plain
Where the sonnet, if classical, needs must dovetail
Its sextette into its double quatvain
(To miss by a hair were ignobly to fail).



PRELUDE. 27

Oft slie held the candle while I swept the floor
For the tenth piece of silver, and when its true ring
She heard, the nine others she quickly would bring
And help me rejoice while I counted them o'er.

Thus we marshal!' d them home, foot by foot, line by line,
Oft journeying at night thro' the storm and the cold
To bring back the lost hundredth rhyme to the fold,
More precious than all of the ninety-and-nine.

Some few still elude me. Perhaps it is weU—
Peradventure I leaned on them more than was wise ;
Or perchance one day yet, out of uninvoked skies
They wiU come flutt'ring down in some soft twilight spell.



PART III.— " Farewell, Little Songs."

Farewell, little songs ! Tho' you leave me behind

Sorrowful, lonely, at least for a time,

There is comfort in this, that no motive unkind

Has inspired you with thoughts I would ever unrhym^e.

Farewell, little songs ! Sprinkle dews from your wings.
If for life's deeper griefs you have no antidotes.
You at least may breathe balm on its workaday stings
And chase with your music its discordant notes.

Farewell, little songs ! Be not over-ambitious,
Lest, suddenly soaring, you reel down the air.
(Remember poor Wolsey !) The earth is still precious.
Seek, too, the low valleys and spread solace there.

Now if Grandmother Dearest her white hands wiU spread
O'er my darlings, and pour from her heart's golden vial
A prayer and a blessing, no fate will they dread,
As they go forth rejoicing to meet every trial.



LYRICS,



29



LYRICS.



TO YOUTH.
'TOUCH love with prayer ;

It is a holy thing.

No dove with snowier wing
Fann'd Eden air.

To mortal care

Heaven's whitest angel, Truth,

Entrusted it. O Youth !
Touch love with prayer.

GATHERING ROSES.
r\ THE deliciousness
^ Of the fresh season !
Red roses, white roses,

Roses past reason !
Out of my gardenful,
Sweetheart ! the sv/eetest cull,
Sweetest for posies —
All are so beautiful—
Which shall my sweetheart cull,
Sweetest for posies ?—
O the unspeakable,
Untold deliciousness.

Gathering roses !

31



32 LYRICS.

Frail, odoriferous

Sweet-briar' d Eglantere ;
Thorn-studded, cluster-leav'd.

Pink Ottar roses —
Nay ! Sweetheart, have a care !
Touch not that Circean snare,
Cull not that rose for me —
She will be pricking thee,

Making my posies.
All are so beautiful, —

Which shall my sweetheart cull,
Sweetest for posies ? —
O the untunable.

Unsung deliciousness.

Gathering roses !

Gold-hearted, plush-petal' d

Mareschal Niel roses —
Almost upon your stem

The scissors she closes ;
Moon-color' d, moss-crested

Nonpareil roses —
Nay ! thou'rt the day-couch

Where Luna reposes ;
Virgin-immaculate

Pale climbing roses —
There Mariposa

Dreamily dozes.
Passionate deep-center' d

Jacqueminot roses —
No redder, no rarer

Blossom uncloses.



33



All are so beautiful,
Which shall my sweetheart cull,
Sweetest for posies ? —
O the undreamable,
Undreamt deliciousness,

Gathering roses !

Nay ! little sweetheart mine,

Not with the scissors-tips
Cull we the sweetest rose —

Dear ! it blows upon thy lips —
Sweetest rose in Paradise !
Cruellest rose in Paradise !
And this moment, stooping down-
So — I cull it for mine own
{Spite of thorns within thine eyes)-
Cull me a whole heartful

Of life's rarest posies —
O the ineffable

Eden-deliciousness,

Gathering roses !



34 LYRICS.



MAID AND MATRON.

'FHUS a maiden, light and fair,

To a dame with silver' d hair,
*' Tell me how love cometh."

"Listen,"
Comes reply, while tear-drops glisten
In the memory-melting eyes.
" You will wake one morn to see
A bluer blue spread o'er the skies
Than was erewhile wont to be,
On the rose a redder red,
A softer down upon the thistle,
And the skylark overhead
Will so soft a matin whistle,
You will wonder why before
You loved not to listen more.
All the earth and all the air
Will seem so fresh, will seem so fair,
You will chide your unbelieving :
* Surely life is worth the living ! '
Work for heart and work for hand
Will spread all around you. And,
Since loving one, and loving much,



LYRICS. 85

Breeds loving many, o'er you such

A sense of charity will steal

That, like Schiller, you will feel

A wish to rush'midst its alarms

And snatch the world up in your arms !

Ah, child ! you will be nearer Heaven

In that hour than it is given

Unto mortals ere to be

Again."

The maiden, pensively
This time, with hand press 'd to her brow :
** Now that you have told me how
Cometh love," she said, "suppose
That you tell me how love goes."
Gravely shook the silver' d head.
*' Child, love never went," she said.



PO' JO'.

'THRO' mossy glade, by woodland belt,
Her gentle way she wendeth.
In the calm grace of her dear face
That peace of God all men have felt.
But no man understandeth.
Soft ! she hearkeneth (never to me[!) —
Sweetly from topmost bough o' the tree,
Jo-re-ter, jo-re-ter, jo-re-ter, jo-ree !



36 LYRICS.

O, rare is the scent of the clover bloom,

The hovering honey-bee sucketh.
The blossom most fair she will braid in her hair,
Nay ! never a bloom she plucketh.
For the earth and for me careth not she.
Jo-re-ter, jo-re-ter, jo-re-ter, jo-ree!

All at her feet lieth meadow sweet —

Surely her eyes she lowereth ! —
Only to lift to a gold-blue rift
Thro' the trees to the sky she adoreth.
For the earth and for me careth not she.
Jo-re-ter^ jo-re-ter^ jo-re-ter, jo-ree!

Now at a turn maidenhair-fern

Feathereth her pathway quaintly.
Faeries ! there hidden to flaunt them when bidden,
Lie low ! for her step is saintly.
Never her eyes she lets fall from the skies —
Or only so low as yon heaven-most tree.
Jo-re-ter, jo-re-ter, jo-re-ter, jo-ree !

The devil's shoe-string doth its bright eyelet-ring

Slip to entangle her treading ;
The broken milkweed poureth out its pale meed —
All to her foot's unheeding.

Not even the daisy she noteth — why me?
Jo-re-ter, jo-re-ter, jo-re-ter^ jo-ree !



LYRICS. 37

II.

A RAGGED edge of wheatfield.

Capering wheat-bugs, hoppers green,
Rotting logs where Hzards play —
That feet so white should stray this way !

Not a blossom to be seen.
Nay ! a ragged yellow weed —
Dog- fennel can it be?
Some poor straggler gone to seed
Or ere it reach'd maturity?
Or faded golden-rod left o'er
From last autumn's treasure-store? —
All amongst the wheat it creepeth,
Scrambleth over rocks and logs,
Out of crevices it peepeth,
In the glazy branch-pool bogs.
Hang-dog head,
Buff brown eyes,
Shameless stalk, a pole for flies.
Weed unsightliest 'neath the skies !

What a dazed, dogged air !

Desolately, desperately

Reaching, dodging everywhere !
Heaven-set gaze like her's — aye me !
List from out the neighboring tree.
In a plaintive minor key,

Jo-re-ter^ jo-re-ter, jo-re-ter, jo-ree f

My lady pauseth — bendeth low —
Touch so pure on weed so gross 1 —
Tenderly, as 'twere a rose.



38 LYRICS.

Plucketh it and saith, " Po' Jo' ! "—
Plucketh e'en a bunch thereof,
Presseth it, with words of love,
Words of pity and of love,
To her bosom — leaves it there,
Quivering with its tender stir.
As it were a posy rare
Sent by one that loveth her.
Whispereth in rhythm low.
Words of pity and of love,
Bendeth trembling lips above,
Kisseth it, and saith, ''Po' Jo\'''
While from out the neighboring tree
Comes in shrillest ecstasy,

Jo-re-ter, jo-re-tei% jo-re-ter^ jo-reef

Po' Jo' !
Scorn' d by all within thy range.
Ne'er before on thee did dote
Maiden eyes thus lingeringly.
Cattle spurn thee — even the goat
Turns his choiceless nose from thee.
(Greediest weeder of the grange !)
At thee Fve heard the farmer swear,
Tangling in his busy share ;
Thee the gardener's daughter scold,
Crept into her flower-fold—
Nuisance ! everywhere he's found !
Slay him ! cumbereth he the ground !
Made to fall beneath the hoe,
And yet — she kisseth him, Po' Jo' !



LYRICS. 39

And who can tell if this Ishmael
Of the woods she so caresseth,
In her heart may not be one warm spot
For me, when mine confesseth —
Slowly homeward wending we ? —

Jo-re-ter, jo-re-ter, jo-re-ter^ jo-ree !

MARIPOSA.

The butterfly is in Spanish " Mariposa." The derivation of
the word is curious, if it may be trusted, and one who has a
right to be heard in the matter (Mahn Elymol. Forschengen,
page 9) advances it with confidence. Nothing in the butterfly
is so striking as thealternationsof restlessness when it is on the
wing, and then of perfect quiet when it has lighted. He
divides the word thus, Mart Posa or " Sea " and " Rest," first
the restless agitation of the sea, and this presently exchanged
for perfect repose, and finds here a key to the explanation of a
word which has hitherto perplexed all etymologists. — Trench,
On the Study of Words.

CTILL your winglet, Mariposa !

Flitting, flutt'ring Mariposa !
Some one told me that the first
Butterfly that I saw burst
Out its silky chrysalis
I would have a dress like his.
Still your winglet, that I may
Of your tinsel coat survey
Well the pattern o'er and o'er.
Sure was never seen afore
Such a glorious mantellette ! —
All befreakt with gold and jet,
Ruby-red and emerald green,



40 LYRICS.

Amber-ochre, sapphirine,
Satiny and velveteen —
With two ample owlet eyes,
Of that hue that monarchs prize,
A-peering out Minerva-wise.
Why ! if I like that were dight
Folks were awe-struck at the sight.
Admiring on what mundane mission
Jove had sent this iris-vision.

Still your winglet, Mariposa !

Gladsome, giddy Mariposa ! —

Had not thought you quite so simple ! —

There ! I've caught you 'neath my wimple.

Now, as low I bend mine ear.

Tell me. Flora's minion, where

All daylong you've been a-flying —

Into what soft secrets prying.

As you woo'd a sip of honey

Of yon blushing-red Peony,

Spied you her forbidden lover

Crouching near her in the clover?
— ^When you kist the Morning Glory,

Did she tell you her heart-story —

Why it is she dies so soon —

Why can never see the moon?
— Did the violet tell you how

Once she was as white as snow.

Till a ruthless Cupid's dart

Fell and pierced her to the heart,

That the blood did freely pour,



LYRICS. 41

Purpling her forevermore ?
Wherefore maidens did, to shame her
Love-in-idleness rename her —
Whence it is, e'en to this day-
She doth hang her head alway.

Did pale Hyacinth recite
His sad legend ? how he fell
Neath Apollo's fatal quoit —
Whom Apollo lov'd so well ! —
That the sweet Laconian youth
All his guileless blood did spill,
Whence to mark Apollo's ruth.
Sprang a waxen snow-white bloom —
Emblem meet for friendship's tomb
-Did Calypso Borealis
Lure you to her iris palace.
Hold you there with honeyed kisses.
As the Ogygian nymph, Ulysses — •
Pledg'd him immortality
If beside her he would stay.
But the Trojan answer'd, Nay ! —
Loyal to Penelope,
True to proud Icarius' daughter ;
Home-returning then, he caught her
Weaving still Laertes' shroud.
Warding off the amorous crowd.

When the garden-poppy spread
Out for you her plushy bed.
All so crimson, all so cozy,
Can you not to wax so dozy



42 LYRICS.

That you reason' d it were best to
Stop here for a brief siesta ? —
Which e'en until moonrise lasted —
Several golden hours wasted !
Had you been less idiotic
You had shunn'd this snare narcotic.
Did you learn the cause mysterious
Why the sweet Night-blooming Cereus
Shuts her treasure from the light,
Opes it to the thieving night ?
— ^Did the Flaxinella bright
With its ignis fatuus lure you —
Only with brown dust to shower you !

Tell me why sweet Eglantere,

With her golden heart laid bare,

And her simple bib-and-tucker,

Shows such temper when you pluck her

While the city Jacqueminots,

With their frills and furbelows,

And their artificial blushing,

And their hearts all gone to ruching,

Yield smooth arms when lovers woo.

Simply and without ado.

If you keep company with the shoddy.
Haply hoary Polopody,
Darwin's pet, "the old fop fern,"
Smirked you to a waltzing turn.
(Are his jewels really paste ?)
— Ah ! saw you that maiden chaste.
Sad-eyed Anemone, who never,



43



Since jealous Flora banished Zephyr,
Opes her eyes, except, alas,
To rudely-blasting Boreas ? —
Did your wing so gently hover
O'er her, teasing Mariposa,
That she fancied her lost lover
Had come back and did unclose her
Tear-pink eyelids and lay bare
Her conscious heart ? — While you, I dare
Say (confess now !), fled to flirt
With Black-eyed Susan malipert —
Or haply down the stream did dart
To take a sail with Floating Heart,
Or walked into the parlor-bower
Or the crafty Spider Flower
(Served you right !), or got your wings
Full of Prickly Cactus stings.

When the Thistledown you blow.
Just so many hairs as cling.
By that number will you know
What the year your fate will bring ?

Now, what o' the weather ? Could you tell
From ''Shepherd's Weatherglass," Pimper-
Did you count the jewels rare [nel?

Of turquoise-beaded Juniper? —
Woodbine, Meadowrue and Laurel,
Toadflax, Mayweed and Sheep Sorrel,
Boasting Bladder-Champion —
Tell me something of each one
Cyprus Serge and Rattlebox,



44 LYRICS.

Fever-few and Gill and Phlox,
Yellow Primrose, Daffodowndilly,
Jamestown Weed, and Butterfly Lily,
Devil's Footstool, Cupid's Quiver,
Lady Fingers, Live-for-ever,
Scented Blue-gurls, Bittersweet,
Motherwort and Bouncing Bet,
Beechdrops, Stargrass, Golden Club,
Mouse- ear' d Chickweed, and Sweetshrub
Tansy, Scouring Rush — and O !
I trust you did not slight Pd' Jo'.

Still your winglet, Mariposa,
Poor imprison' d Mariposa !
What I do is from conviction.
From an artist's sense of duty —
Ah ! but you would be a beauty
In my butterfly collection.
Know, I have a gilded frame,
Wherein a hundred of your name
(Mind you ! this is just between us) —
Aye, a hundred of your genus.
Are ranged around, as on a rack.
Each with a pin stuck thro' his back
(Tho' that was put there just to keep
Him in his place — he fell asleep
Steep' d in a drop of chloroform —
I could not do him lingering harm).
But not an one in all is there
With you in beauty can compare ;
And in the centre will I pin you,



LYRICS. 46

And O ! the glory I will win you.

For folks will flock from far and near

To see you, Mariposa dear,

And, seeing you, will ne'er forget

To sing your praise. And yet — and yet —

Somehow I have no heart to-day

To do it. What is fame to thee?

Man alone, with earth-blind eyes,

Fancies, when beyond the skies,

Bliss-embosom' d, angel-crown' d,

Glory's clarion's hollow sound

Can pierce the ethereal vault profound

And into his heart convey

Joyance, e'en thro' Heaven's day.

mortal thought !— away ! away !
Sweet, idle, giddy, happy thing ! —

1 love thee best upon the wing.

I love thee well, for thou dost bring
Soft thoughts of first-love and of spring.

But mind you, sweet one ! do not tell


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