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MEMORIAL DAY
AND OTHER POEMS



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fV^



MEMORIAL DAY

And Other Poems
RICHARD BURTON



BOSTON
COPELAND AND DAY

M DCCC XCVII



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AL^;r,^7^



Harvard Coii^! ■ j.-ii-iaiy
LrJ to



COPYRIGHT 1897 BY COPELAND AND DAY



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Contents



MEMORIAL DAY


Page I


MATTERHORN QUESTS


6


IN TIME OF BATTLE


7


A FAITHFUL DOG


7


SO MUCH TO LEARN


8


THE LITTLE MOTHERS


9


THE PROLOGUE


lo


THE OLD TENOR


13


THE PHANTOM DRUM


15


THE RACE OF THE *« BOOMERS '*


i6


BALLAD OF THE EASTERN WOMAN


20


BALLAD OF THE THORNLESS ROSE


23


IRONY


25


MAD-TOWN


26


MELODIES OF THE MONTHS


29


MARCH FIELDS


29


APRIL


29


MAY-LURE


30


JUNE


31


HAYING


31


BIRD NOTES


33


THE LARK


33


THE CAT BIRD


33


THE MEISTERSINGER


34


THE HUMMING-BIRD


35


THE BLUE BIRD


35


THE GROUND ROBIN


36


FROM THE GRASS


37


LOVE IS STRONG


38



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CLAIRVOYANCE Page 38

MY UPPER SHELVES 39

CONTRASTS 40

DAY AND NIGHT MUSIC 40

CLOWN AND KING 4. 1

OF MUSIC 42

GREAT AND SMALL 43

ANTICLIMAX 43

PERSONIFICATION 44

WINTER TWILIGHT 44

THE RURAL PIPE 45

THE RAIN ON THE ROOF 46

A MYSTERY 47

TO A MOUNTAIN BROOK 47

DEMOCRACY 48

LYRIC AND EPIC 48

ON A FERRY-BOAT 49

RECOLLECTIONS 50

AS A VIOLINIST 52

TRAGI-COMEDY 5 2

THE MARSH FLOWER 52

SAINTHOOD 53

AN AUTUMN IMPRESSION 54

CHARITY 5 5

3TREAM AND SINGER 55

CRICKETS 56

SEA WITCHERY 57

IN A LIBRARY 57

BROOKLYN BRIDGE 58

A PAUMPSEST 58

PROM A CITY WINDOW 59



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REMEMBERED SONGS Pcig^ 6o

COLUMBUS 60

BEAUTY STILL WAITS 6 1

THE soul's HOUR 6 1

ACROSS THE INTERVALE 62

HARMONY 62

A PRAYER 63

IN THE EAST 63

DISSONANCES 64

BETWEEN THE SUNS 64

THE PINES 65

MY POETS 65

TWO MOTHERS 66

SEA AND SHORE d"]

USES 67

A SEASCAPE OP TURNER's 67

PERMANENCY 68

ON SYRIAN HILLS 68

PERSONALITY 69

THE PRAYERS OF SAINTS 69

TREES IN WINTER 70

THE PATH 71

A ROYAL PROGRESS 72

EPITAPH OP AN ACTOR 72

RECOMPENSE 72

RICHARD WAGNER 72

SUNRISE 7 3

RAIN AND SLEEP 73

TRANSFORMATION 73



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THE POET

HE'S not alone an artist weak and white
O'er-bending scented paper, toying there
With languid fancies fashioned deft and

fair.
Mere sops to time between the day and
night.
He is a poor torn soul who sees aright

How far he fails of living out the rare
Night-visions God vouchsafes along the air ;
Until the pain bums hot, beyond his might.

The heart-beat of the universal will

He hears, and, spite of blindness and dis-
proof.

Can sense amidst the jar a singing fine.
Grief-smitten that his lyre should lack the skill

To speak it plain, he plays in paths aloof.

And knows the trend is starward, life divine.



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MEMORIAL DAY

** fiy their great memories the Gods are known.**

Gbo. Mkrbdith.
I.

MAY is the firstling of the summer year.
Bland month and beaudfiil beneath the sky ;
An Elim where the water-wells are clear.
When winter's bitter Marah is gone by.
May faces toward the pleasance yet to be.
The greenwood splendors, the maturity
Of bloom, — Hope's home is May — and May
is here.

What semblance flashes so divinely clear

Yet mystic to the dazzled eye as this

Of Hope? Not Youth alone, but manhood's

cheer.
Old age's desolation, sorrow's kiss
Above a tomb, — these all draw strength from

her,
Quenchless, the first, the final comforter.
What Being utterly shall of her miss ?

But kinsman proper unto Hope, the bright.
Is Memory, elder, graver, wrapt in Time
As in a mantle : mellow is the light
She casts, obliquely : images sublime
She conjures up, and barren were the days
That missed the magic of her holy haze.
Making old seasons seem a summer clime.



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Memorial Yea, not in Hope alone are mortals strong :
^^y* They have their memories; looking down the
past.
We do behold them, a most stately throng
Of figures in a mould heroic cast :
Recumbent, but all vital to arouse
A nation, and to quicken a people's vows
By proud ensample of the lives that last.

If by their memories the Gods are known.
So too are men and women, for they grow
God-like in telling over all their own
Emblazoned deeds ; heroes are nourished so.
Idealisms spring, romances thrive
Wherever those vnxk heart and hope alive
Draw solace from the great of long ago.

Moved by this sense of dignity inumed
In scenes historic and in moments great.
Heart-touched by tender thoughts of knighthood

earned
On scarlet fields, each hero-mindfiil state
Gathers around the graves of Men sons.
And covers up the flesh-scars and the guns
With flowers, those soft efiacers of old hate.

II.

May and the sunshine keen on everything !
But hark ! the martial music's solemn soimd :
Now, in the forefi-ont of the plastic spring.
Pause momently, and let the ancient wound
Quiver again, — not for dark rancour's sake,

2



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But only forever to keep wide awake Memorial

Memories of deaths superb and courage-crowned. '^^^•

Now is the cleavage deep of North and South
Well closed, — the years o'er-cover it, as grass
Softens and sweetens some dry place of drouth
When comes the blessed rain ; the requiem -mass
Is chanted of the mood that shattered peace :
Where common sorrows are, anger must cease :
Sorrow and love remain, while passions pass.

And if there come wild words of East and West,

Let us invoke our mighty memories

Even as the Gods again ; declare it best

To sail together over tranquil seas.

One ship, one helmsman, one ambition high :

To show the world a strength that can lay by

War, and the thought of war, and such as these.

Yea, mingle prayers above the Blue and Gray,
And be the paeans raised for patriot sires
Who in that hour of Freedom's yesterday
Fought sturdily, and lit their beacon fires
For what they deemed the Right. The victor

shows
Himself twice victor when his sometime foes
Are hailed as brothers, even as Christ requires.

How like cathedral chimes the names we know.
Ringing above a leal united land :
Bull Rim, Antietam, Gettysburg, Shiloh,
Sherman's grim march to reach the white sea-strand,
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Memorial Lookout's cloud fight. The Wilderness, — each bell
^^y- Reverberating valor — list! they tell

How Lincoln and Lee are friends, and under-
stand.

in.

What is a patriot ? Not the man who swears :
** My country, right or wrong ; " nor he w^ho

claims
That sacred thing, yet like a dastard dares
To use her to his ends, to hide his shames ;
Nor yet the weakling sore afraid to chide
For fear he seem untrue : the gap is wide
'Twixt empty mouthings and high manhood's

aims.

A patriot ? He should be a blend of faith
And fealty and fear of any stain
Upon his mistress' honor ; for the wraith
Of mere Appearance many a man hath slain.
Who reckoned that blind praise was Duty's all.
Who loves, chastises ; at his country's call.
Behold him valiant in the van again!

He agonizes o'er the awful plight

Of that disfeatured host that lacks for bread ;

He watches Labor in her new-foimd might

Strike at Monopoly's dire dragon head ;

He lets the Time-spirit lead him towards the

truth.
That mind see clear and heart be moved to ruth
For the land's children who are sore-bested.
4



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O Country ! vast, — dramatic, thrilled with fife. Memorial

O mother! bountifiil of womb and breast, ■^^^•

We may reproach thee, even use the knife

For pain's release upon thy body, lest

Fair growth be checked, — but should an alien

dare
Befoul thy fame, a lion fi-om its lair
Each state shall spring, each burg prove loyalest.

Into thy sinews enter Norse and Celt,

The German and the Gaul, they westward steer :

From the frore north and from the southern belt

Of nations come the folk to fellow here :

But under-bone is English, sturdy stock.

Pliant to Fate, yet founded like a rock :

Fraternal, all, in Freedom's atmosphere !

For higher, holier than the will to war

The will to love, — now may the path of Peace

Within our states be like the pilot star

In the night sky, by myriads to increase

As the millennium broadens, gleam by gleam :

This is the prophet's word, the poet's dream :

All nations living in love's great release.

Call not this womanish, a sluggard's hope :
When whilom brave men lay their swords aside.
They still are brave : but they no longer grope
In the earth -chambers where the beasts abide.
But, feet firm-based, they lift their foreheads high
Into the ample air, and from the sky
Draw loftier inspirations, larger-eyed.
5



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M^m^rial Nay, on this day memorial ne'er forget
^^y- The visioned good, the revelation august
Of Peace betwixt the peoples : may we let
Our martial blood be cleansed of any lust
Of war, and this America clasp hands
Close with the parent English, two proud lands
Before the world who let their weapons rust.

Memories and hopes ! O mingle on this day
Savored with flowers, made sacred by the tears
Of mourners, musical with the far-away
Sound of large doings from the vanished years ;
And buoyant, midst the mus^d tenderness.
Through the stanch creed that, slowly. Wrong

grows less.
The while our land, God guided, hath no fears!

MATTERHORN QUESTS

AS men essay the Matterhom —
That peering peak of stone and snow —
To view, some matchless Alpine mom.

The petty world stretch far below.
Though after all their toil and pain
They can but clamber down again ;

So yearning souls essay the heights

Of spirit, setting dangers by.
And recking naught of low delights

The flesh affords ; you ask them why.
They know not ; some divine.unrest

Bids them to climb and do their best.



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IN TIME OF BATTLE

IT is a seemly thmg to die in battle.
Ensanguined for the Right ;
The sudden swoon, the ominous death-rattle.

Mere phantoms in the fight
Against the music and the Victor's cry ;
'Tis noble so to die.

And if one fail, 'tis well in such disaster

Like Saul to end the day ;
Philistine spears fly fast and blood flows faster.

The leader falls, but they.
His dauntless sons, fall with him, all the three

Under a tamarisk tree
In Jabesh ! And it is a fate fiill splendid

To win a fimeral song
like David's, love and leonine sorrow blended

All passionate and strong ;
The King made moan for Saul, his Mighty One ;

But most for Jonathan.

A FAITHFUL DOG

MY merry-hearted comrade on a day
Gave over all his mirth, and went away
Upon the darksome journey I must face
Sometime as well. Each hour I miss his grace.
His meek obedience and his constancy.
Never again will he look up to me
With loyal eyes, nor leap for my caress
As one who wished not to be masterless ;
And never shall I hear his pleading bark
7



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^ Outside the door, when all the ways grow dark,

^«M/W Bidding the house-folk gather close inside.
^' It seems a cruel thing, since he has died.
To make his memory small, or deem it sin
To reckon such a mate as less than kin.

O faithful follower, O gentle friend.
If thou art missing at the journey's end.
Whatever of joy or solace there I find
Unshared by thee I left so far behind.
The gladness will be mixed with tears, I trow.
My litde crony of the long ago !
For how could heaven be home-like, with the

door
Fast-locked against a loved one, evermore ?

SO MUCH TO LEARN

SO much to learn ! Old Nature's ways
Of glee and gloom with rapt amaze
To study, probe, and paint, — brown earth.
Salt sea, blue heavens, their tilth and dearth.
Birds, grasses, trees, — the natural things
That throb or grope or poise on wings.

So much to learn about the world
Of men and women ! We are hurled
Through interstellar space awhile
Together, then the sob, the smile.
Is silenced, and the solenm spheres
Whirl lonesomcly along the years.

8



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So much to learn from wisdom's store So Much

Of early art and ancient lore. ^^ Learn,

So many stories treasured long

On temples^ tombs^ and colunms strong.

The legend of old eld, so large

And eloquent from marge to marge.

So much to learn about one's self:
The fickle soul, the nimble elf
That masks as me ; the shifty will.
The sudden valor and the thrill ;
The shattered shaft, the broken force
That seems supernal in its source.

And yet the days are brief. The sky
Shuts down before the waking eye
Has bid good-morrow to the sun ;
The light drops low, and Life is done.
Good-by, good-night, the star-lamps bum ;
So brief the time, so much to learn !

THE LITTLE MOTHERS

STRANGE mockery of motherhood !
They who should feel the fostering care
Maternal, and the tender good

Of home when fondling arms are there.

Must, ere their time, in mimic show

Of age and sacred duties, be
Thus wise to guide, thus deep to know.

The artless needs of infancy.



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The The little mothers ! Will they win

^1^^ The bitter-sweet of elder years ?

*' Will love protect them from the sin.

And faith gleam dauntless through the tears ?

God grant some guerdon for the loss
Of childly joy : and when they come

To woman- ways and woman's cross.
Give them a fate more frolicsome.

THE PROLOGUE

Scene, a theatre. The audience is crowding
its way in; the play is Dekker^s ** Th€
Pleasant Comedy of Old Fortunatus.^^
1st Spectator,

HEY ! how they push ! The pit is crowded
now ;
A family man must come in season, sooth.
If he would see the play. On Saturdays
The folk, work finished, bring their wives and all.
Hoarding each penny through the thrifty week.
And look ! an actor comes, 'tis curtain- time.

2d Spec. Nay, 'tis but Master Prologue, he
that struts
About the stage and mouths to please himself.
Speedily making way for the real stuff.
The kings and queens and all the quality
That sit at banquet in the regal haU.

'^d Spec, Thou liest, fool, see where they
pantomime ;
There's more than one; faith, 'as the very plaj.
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zdSpec, God's love, it is a zany. Proper The
plays Proitgme.

Have each their fore-piece ; so it is to-day.

1st Spec's Wife. Peace, dolt ! They speak ;
only the gallants talk.
The yeomanry should hearken, look and learn.

\Theplay begins without a prologue.

1st Cobbler in audience. How handsomely
they give the Imes. Methinks
There never was a scene since I was got
So brave in carriage, nor by half so grand.
As this of Fortunatus and Ids purse.
'Twas well for him he chose the chink of gold
Afore aught else — as, wisdom, beauty, health.

xd Cob. I heard but now good Master
Prentice there
(Him yonder with his dame) affirm it roundly
That he had sometime seen this famous piece.
And how these incidents are all aside
From the grave acts that make the tragedy.
The true main action that will come erelong ;
This a mere farce to make us laugh withal.
I trow he has it right.

\st Cob. Th'art drunken, man ;
The actors sweat as though 'twas serious ;
And mark you that the stage is gallant-full.
Which would not be unless the act's begun.

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7'^ 3^ ^^^« Y^t* by ^y *wl, 'tis hardly six o'

jyak^. the clock.

And he says true, the fore-piece comes the first ;

Mayhap it is new-fangled, Spanish, French,

To speak the prologue by more mouths than one.

Nay, Hodge is right, 'tis surely not the play.

zd Cod. Ye silly knaves, I prithee prate no
more;
I know the playhouse, and if this be not
The prologue, nothing else, I'll buy and bum
Ten tapers for the church come Candlemas.

\The playis enacted^ and, deing finis he dy
the people jostie their way out of the pit.

1st Citizen. 'Twas handsome-done, — but
still a parlous trick.
This giving of the plot with ne'er a word
Of fore-speech, when one looked for something

such ;
Though I have heard it said 'tis often so.
This showing of the play sans anything
To gloss it. Well, I would that I had known ;
So would I not have chattered with my mates.
Thinking the best to come, but bent my mind
On Fortunatus and his fortunes great.
I lost fiill half the lines, by our lady, yes.
'Twould fetch the tears another time. Ah me.
Had I but known ! A play's a mocking thing !



So is it with us men. We watch the stage.
And cannot deem that what is playing there

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(Bespite the fuss and fustian and the roars The

Of laughter that Sir Cap-and-Bells provokes) ProU^m.

Is still the one brief tragedy that we

Spectators ere shall gaze on ; that the time

Is only hours few, — one afternoon

Snatched from a grim eternity of days.

Secure in a false ease and thinking, fond.

How 'tis the fore-piece that but ushers in

The five-act story, — lo ! our life is lived ;

The lights go down, and we, half blinking still.

Must elbow out into the night and cold.

Uncertain whether, as we stumble on.

Of all the friendly press whose smiles and tears

Made company about us just before.

One voice shall hail us, or a fellow hand

Stretch forth to touch us in the silent dark.

THE OLD TENOR

A MONOLOGUE

DID you say the singing was only fair ?
Sir, if the chance was given me
To change from him on the stage up there
Straight to a spirit symphony —

Well, it might stagger my poor old brain.

But I think, on the whole, I back should come

To hear these worn sweet notes again.
And see yon form that is cumbersome.

The why of it all ? It fell, my friend,
A matter of forty years ago.

13



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The A certain man was nigh his end^

^ Lying wracked in a fever glow.

And a fine young star, in his flush of &me»
Stept to his bedside, took his hand.

And strove to kindle life's spent flame
By singing songs of the lovely land.

Ah, how he sang ! till the sick man turned
His face from the wall, and took deep breath.

And said, as his eyes with new light yearned.
That life ran sweeter far than death

If one might hearken to strains like this ;

And he swore he would live in death's despite.
Then sleep dropt down on him like a kiss.

And he woke with his blood all cool and right.

Perhaps you can fancy who was the man.
And who is the singer there on the stage.

And why I listen and sob, and can
But love his faults and his hints of age.

Some folks will say, when they pay their coin.
The perfectest singer is their choice.

Where youth and art and genius join ;
But I like a man behind the voice !



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THE PHANTOM DRUM

A LEGEND OF CASTINE

THE old fort stands on the sightly hill
Engirt by bwiys and the wide salt sea ;
Its earthworks soft with the grass a-grow
And the gold of flowers, its bastions low.
How tranquil Time doth work his will
On the stormy heights of history !

Of yore the British ensconced them here.
Old batde dogs in their rig of red ;
But the Yankees came, and who might cope
With the men afire with fi*eedom's hope ?
A vanquished foe, with a victor's cheer
At their very heels, the red-coats fled.

In a pit deep dug in mother earth.

In a transient prison nigh the wall.

Left behind was a dnunmer lad ;

Clean forgotten him they had.

And his petty fault and his ways of mirth ;

No comrade stayed for to heed his call.

Buried alive there, he and his drum !
Tireless he beat it, a reveille
Would wake the dead, but no living wight
Was near to succor by day or night ;
He prayed that even the foe might come
Before he had starved himself away.



IS



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Drum,



The In vain : when the patriot band marched there

nu^Ilf^^ In after days, and the rampart scaled.

They found his drum-head broken through
With the hapless blows, and the drummer too
Life-spent ; what once was strong and fair
Shrunk to a thing whereat men paled.



'Twas in March it fell : a century's tide
Flows full between ; but the legend claims^
Whenever the windy month comes round.
You shall hear by night as doleful sound
As ever rose o'er the ocean wide
Or frightened the children at their games.

'Tis the phantom drum's tap-tapping drear
Up in the fort ; for he cannot rest.
That drummer boy in his dungeon place ;
You never see him or know his fece.
But the tap-tap-tap comes sharp and clear
Above the sea, when the wind blows west.

THE RACE OF THE *' BOOMERS"

THE bleak o' the dawn, and the plain is a-
smoke with the breath of the frost.
And the murmur of bearded men is an ominous
sound in the ear ;
The white tents liken the ground to a flower-
meadow embossed
By the bloom of the daisy sweet, for a sign
that the June is here.

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^* Boomers,^



They are faring from countless camps, afoot or The Race
ahorse, may be, JTjSJI^

The blood of many a folk may flow in their
bounding veins.
But, stung by the age-old Just for land and for
liberty.
They have ridden or run or rolled in the mile-
enguliing trains.

More than the love of loot, mightier than wom-
an's lure.
The passion that speeds them on, the hope
that is in their breast :
They think to possess the soil, to have and to


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