Page images
PDF
EPUB

CALEB EARL WRIGHT.

107

thirty years ago, and made one of their standard novels, was a great success. His subsequent novels, “ Marcus Blair," "On the Lackawanna,” "A Legend of Bucks County,” and “Rachel Craig," were all favorably received. In March, 1889, he published a volume containing two poems, “Frances Slocum, or the Lost Sister,” and “Sidney Lear," which was favorably received by the reading public, and with his other works gave the author a high reputation as a novelist and poet.

W. W.

0

THE BLACKSMITH.

Now wild despair! The anguished mother

Joyful perceives two offspring fly:
A fragile girl drags forth a brother

Tender of age, and Aying hears
The savage whoop and mocking jeers,
Mingled with wail and piteous cry

Of those left in captivity.
What change few fleeting moments bring!

The airy castles that we build,

And Fancy's supple fingers gild
And garnish with the bloom of spring,
One autumn frost, one tempest gust,
And naught but unimbodied dust!
Stamp'd on the mother's heart alway,
Last vision of the fated day,
Borne through the sedge in hurried race

One little hand stretch'd back to her,

Shudd'ring Despair's interpreter, The other parting on her face

The fallen curls, that hid the white Features, that never more shall trace

The eyes that caught her infant smile, And watched each petal charm unfurl, For she, more rich than ocean pearl,

Slung on the demon's shoulder vile, Doomed chaplet of the mother's pride, Passed down oblivion's silent tide!

THE smithy surnace fire is out,

And stilled the clinking anvil's din; The usual débris strewn about,

And apron hung upon its pin; For but an hour the smith is gone, And wife and babes are left alone. Far better had the father stayed,

Defender of his hearth and home; Mayhap not on his heart had laid

Thrcugh lapse of years the weight of doom. The housewife o'er her task is bent,

The artless children all at play;

When through the door in fierce array Rushes the hideous visitant!

Wolves less intent upon their prey! The peaceful throngs of other climes

Beneath the banner of the law,
In hearing of the welcome chimes

That saints to sweet communion draw.
May vainly judge the dark abyss,
Whelming the soul in hours like this.
Not mother's prayer nor infant's cry,

Nor wail in brutal clutch avails;
The cord that knits humanity,

That love that over all prevails, The love which on the fatal tree Set crime from condemnation free, A passion is of Heavenly grace, That in the savage has no place.

PRAYER.

“ Divine Redeemer!”
So her prayer began; “make me to drink this
Cup, submissive to Thy will. Strengthen! O, give
Me strength proportioned to the burden and
Willing patience. This anguish, supported
By thy tender mercy, 0, give me grace
To bear. Meek, penitent, heartbroken, humble,
I come to plead my cause.

Let not my
Poverty of words lessen the sum of
Mercy it demands. Turn ill to good;
Calamity's fast fetters break; the fallen
List by Thy restoring touch. O, hear and
Answer, thou omnipotent, alleviating
King! Lay to the healing virtue of Thy
Hand, and like the hapless watcher at the
Pool, the stricken one may rise.”

-Sidney Lear.
MYSTERIES.
Unsearchable the dark decrees

Of Him, omniscient pow'r on high;
Past finding out the mysteries

Our earthly walks that underlie,

And make or mar our destiny,
Until the veil that blinds our gaze
Is listed in the day of days.

-- Frances Slocum.

A stripling by a neighbor sent

Has ground his koise; and with his thumb Touches the sharpened edge, intent

To know if well the task is done;

Too well, forsooth! With horror dumb, All see one demon snatch the knife;

And when another myrmidon
Has sent a bullet through his throat,

The other slashes off his crown,
And all the cottage floor's afloat
With crimson rivulets of life.

EMILY DICKINSON.

“IF YOU WERE COMING IN THE FALL."

E

If you were coming in the fall,

I'd brush the summer by With half a smile and half a spurn,

As housewives do a fly.

If I could see you in a year,

I'd wind the months in balls, And put them each in separate drawers,

Until their time befalls.

If only centuries delayed,

I'd count them on my hind, Subtracting till my fingers dropped

Into Van Diemen's land.

If certain, when this life was out,

That yours and mine should be, I'd toss it yonder like a rind,

And taste eternity.

But now, all ignorant of the length

Of time's uncertain wing,
It goads me, like the goblin-bee

That will not state its string.

ONE DIGNITY DELAYS FOR ALL.

MILY DICKINSON was born in Amherst,

Mass., December 1oth, 1830. She was the daughter of Hon. Edward Dickinson, the leading lawyer of that town, as well as treasurer of the college there situated. From her earliest recollections, Miss Dickinson was brought into contact with the most cultured and distinguished society which her native town afforded, and had she so chosen, she might have been the center of a brilliant circle. Mr. Higginson, in his preface to her first volume of poems, says that, although he corresponded with her for years, he saw her but twice face to face, and his was the general experience, for as a poet she recoiled from notice even more than as a woman, and it was with great difficulty that she was persuaded during her lifetime to publish some three or four poems. She was devoted to her father, and once a year, when he gave a reception to the faculty of the college and to the prominent townspeople, she would emerge from her retirement and act the part of hostess as graciously as if it were her daily wont. She was a fine looking woman, and in one of her letters characterized herself as having eyes and hair the color of the dregs in a sherry glass, and after the death of her father it was her custom to dress always in white. She died May 15th, 1886, in the town where she was born, and from which she had been so few times into the outer world. In her room, where she had spent so many secluded i hours, were found the manuscripts which have revealed to the world the great heart, the artist soul and the creative mind which made up the sum of her existence and supplied her with a thoughtlife so rich that it needed little nourishment from outer vitality. Even the one who knew her best, the poet H. H., had no idea of the fertility of her friend's brain nor of the greatness which had so ; tardy recognition. Technically considered, her work is crude and faulty, if judged by the rigid standards of rhythm and polish to which genius at large is subjected but there is a wildness in her poems, a vividness of imagery, an exultation of free thought which belong alone to a mind in truest communion with nature, untrammeled by the artificial or the conventional. To bring such work to judgment before the merciless critic of form and meter is not only unjust, but is certain i death to its greatest charm. Two volumes of the poems have already been published, attracting widespread acknowledgment of her genius, and her letters, which were rich in thought and fancy, are soon to appear.

K. D. S.

[ocr errors]

One dignity delays for all One mitered afternoon. None can avoid this purple, None evade this crown.

Coach it insures, and footinen,
Chamber and state and throng;
Bells, also, in the village,
As we ride grand along.

What dignified attendants,
What service when we pause!
How loyally at parting
Their hundred hats they raise!

How pomp surpassing ermine,
When simple you and I
Present our meek escutcheon,
And claim the rank to die!

SUCCESS.

Success is counted sweetest

By those who ne'er succeed. To comprehend a nectar

Requires sorest need.

[ocr errors]
[graphic][merged small]

HIRAM HOYT RICHMOND.

III

HIRAM HOYT RICHMOND.

Not one of all the purple host

Who took the flag to-day Can tell the definition,

So clear, of victory,

HIR

[blocks in formation]

TIRAM HOYT RICHMOND was born in

Lebanon, Madison county, New York, May 8th, 1843. His father, Dr. T. H. Richmond, was a graduate of the Vermont Medical College in Castleton, Vermont, and his mother, who was a writer of considerable merit, was the daughter of Rev. Matthias Casier, a Presbyterian clergyman, of Huguenot extraction and a graduate of Princeton College.

Mr. Richmond's early life was spent on the old Richmond homestead in the Lebanon hills. His father was an apostle of the abolition movement, and a close friend and confident of Gerrit Smith, of the same county, and other leaders of the antislavery times. In April, 1861, young Richmond, then a little less than eighteen years of age, was the first of his town to enlist under the first call of President Lincoln in the 26th regiment of New York Volunteer Infantry. In September, 1861 he was captured by Wade Hampton's cavalry while on picket duty near Poheek church, Virginia. He was a prisoner of war for over nine months. In the battle of Fredericksburg in December, 1862, he was wounded, and subsequently discharged on account of the disabilities received. Returning home, he entered Cazenovia Seminary, where he easily eclipsed his classmates in literary studies, and completed a scientific course in the summer of 1864. He then cristed west, and reached California in the fall of 1867. He settled in Auburn, the county seat of Placer county, and has from that date claimed it as his home. For about twelve years he taught in various schools of the county. In 1887 Mr. Richmond purchased the Placer Argus and became its editor. He has contributed to the current literature of California, and in 1885 published his first book of poems, entitled "Montezuma, or the Origin and Fate of the Aztec Nation.” He received congratulatory messages from John G. Whittier, Edmund C. Stedman, E. P. Roe, Paul Hamilton Hayne, Hubert Howe Bancroft and others. His poems are largely of the reflective character, invested by an optimism that never doubts the ultimate good of every dispensation. His work is rather more inclined to epic measures than to lyric stanzas. His life has been an active one, and his contributions to current verse have been rather the results of recreation and respite than continued study. If so situated as to give his undivided time to the Muses, he has the requisite ability to contribute largely to the permanent literature of the country.

J. E. P.

The soul selects her own society,

Then shuts the door; On her divine majority

Obtrude no more.

Unmoved, she notes the chariots pausing

- At her low gate; Unmoved, an emperor is kneeling

Upon her mat.

I've known her from an ample nation

Choose one, Then close the valves of her attention

Like stone.

BELSHAZZAR HAD A LETTER.

BELSHAZZAR had a letter,

He never had but one; Belshazzar's correspondent

Concluded and begun In that immortal copy

The conscience of us all Can read without its glasses

On revelation's wall.

« PreviousContinue »