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Poems for 12th Graders

Table of Contents

by Tom Thomson
  1. Mail of Grace by Ruby Archer
  2. Annabel Lee by Edgar Allen Poe
  3. A Noiseless Patient Spider by Walt Whitman
  4. The Railway Train by Emily Dickinson
  5. The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
  6. I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Wordsworth
  7. Sea Fever by John Masefield
  8. Snow-Bound by John Greenleaf Whittier
  9. When I have Fears by John Keats
  10. If— by Rudyard Kipling
  11. A Dream Within a Dream by Edgar Allan Poe
  12. Pioneers! O Pioneers! by Walt Whitman
  13. The School-Ma'am by Robert J. C. Stead
  14. The Old Country Store by Ed Blair
  15. Mending Wall by Robert Frost
  16. The Barefoot Boy by John Greenleaf Whittier
  17. The Thinker by Berton Braley
  18. Robert Gould Shaw by Paul Laurence Dunbar
  19. The Song of the Potter by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  20. Abide with Me by Henry Francis Lyte

  1. Mail of Grace

    by Ruby Archer

    Take notice how the farmer
    Rounds off a stack of hay.
    The storm no opposition finds,
    The wind no sharp delay.

    A tender heart in mail of grace
    Invulnerably armed;
    The tempest by, the patient hay
    Inscrutable, unharmed.

  2. Annabel Lee

    Grace Reading at Howeth Bay
    Grace Reading at Howeth Bay
    by William Orpen
    by Edgar Allen Poe

    It was many and many a year ago,
    In a kingdom by the sea,
    That a maiden there lived whom you may know
    By the name of Annabel Lee;
    And this maiden she lived with no other thought
    Than to love and be loved by me.

    I was a child and she was a child,
    In this kingdom by the sea,
    But we loved with a love that was more than love—
    I and my Annabel Lee—
    With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven
    Coveted her and me.

    And this was the reason that, long ago,
    In this kingdom by the sea,
    A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
    My beautiful Annabel Lee;
    So that her highborn kinsmen came
    And bore her away from me,
    To shut her up in a sepulchre
    In this kingdom by the sea.

    The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
    Went envying her and me—
    Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,
    In this kingdom by the sea)
    That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
    Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

    But our love it was stronger by far than the love
    Of those who were older than we—
    Of many far wiser than we—
    And neither the angels in Heaven above
    Nor the demons down under the sea
    Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
    Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

    For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
    Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
    And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
    Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
    And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
    Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,
    In her sepulchre there by the sea—
    In her tomb by the sounding sea.

  3. A Noiseless Patient Spider

    by Walt Whitman

    A noiseless patient spider,
    I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
    Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
    It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
    Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.

    And you O my soul where you stand,
    Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
    Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
    Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold,
    Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.

  4. The Railway Train

    Pancorbo: Passing Train
    Pancorbo: Passing Train
    by Darío de Regoyos
    by Emily Dickinson

    I like to see it lap the miles,
    And lick the valleys up,
    And stop to feed itself at tanks;
    And then, prodigious, step

    Around a pile of mountains,
    And, supercilious, peer
    In shanties by the sides of roads;
    And then a quarry pare

    To fit its sides, and crawl between,
    Complaining all the while
    In horrid, hooting stanza;
    Then chase itself down hill

    And neigh like Boanerges;
    Then, punctual as a star,
    Stop — docile and omnipotent —
    At its own stable door.

  5. The Road Not Taken

    Scene of the Spreewald
    Scene of the Spreewald
    by Walter Moras
    by Robert Frost

    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
    And sorry I could not travel both
    And be one traveler, long I stood
    And looked down one as far as I could
    To where it bent in the undergrowth;

    Then took the other, as just as fair,
    And having perhaps the better claim,
    Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
    Though as for that the passing there
    Had worn them really about the same,

    And both that morning equally lay
    In leaves no step had trodden black.
    Oh, I kept the first for another day!
    Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
    I doubted if I should ever come back.

    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.

  6. I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

    Saimi in the Meadow
    Saimi in the Meadow
    by Eero Järnefelt
    by William Wordsworth

    I wandered lonely as a cloud
    That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
    When all at once I saw a crowd,
    A host, of golden daffodils;
    Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
    Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

    Continuous as the stars that shine
    And twinkle on the milky way,
    They stretched in never-ending line
    Along the margin of a bay:
    Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
    Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

    The waves beside them danced; but they
    Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
    A poet could not but be gay,
    In such a jocund company:
    I gazed—gazed—but little thought
    What wealth the show to me had brought:

    For oft, when on my couch I lie
    In vacant or in pensive mood,
    They flash upon that inward eye
    Which is the bliss of solitude;
    And then my heart with pleasure fills,
    And dances with the daffodils.

  7. Sea Fever

    Sailing Ship at Sea
    Sailing Ship at Sea
    by Alfred Jensen
    by John Masefield

    I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
    And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
    And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
    And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

    I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
    Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
    And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
    And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

    I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
    To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
    And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
    And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

  8. Snow-Bound

    The Ingleside Winter
    The Ingleside Winter
    by Currier & Ives
    by John Greenleaf Whittier

    “Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
    Arrives the snow, and, driving o’er the fields,
    Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
    Hides hills and woods, the river and the heaven,
    And veils the farm-house at the garden’s end.
    The sled and traveller stopped, the courier’s feet
    Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
    Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
    In a tumultuous privacy of Storm.”
    – Ralph Waldo Emerson, "The Snow-Storm"

    A Winter Idyl

    The sun that brief December day
    Rose cheerless over hills of gray,
    And, darkly circled, gave at noon
    A sadder light than waning moon.
    Slow tracing down the thickening sky
    Its mute and ominous prophecy,
    A portent seeming less than threat,
    It sank from sight before it set.
    A chill no coat, however stout,
    Of homespun stuff could quite shut out,
    A hard, dull bitterness of cold,
    That checked, mid-vein, the circling race
    Of life-blood in the sharpened face,
    The coming of the snow-storm told.
    The wind blew east; we heard the roar
    Of Ocean on his wintry shore,
    And felt the strong pulse throbbing there
    Beat with low rhythm our inland air.

    Meanwhile we did our nightly chores,—
    Brought in the wood from out of doors,
    Littered the stalls, and from the mows
    Raked down the herd’s-grass for the cows;
    Heard the horse whinnying for his corn;
    And, sharply clashing horn on horn,
    Impatient down the stanchion rows
    The cattle shake their walnut bows;
    While, peering from his early perch
    Upon the scaffold’s pole of birch,
    The cock his crested helmet bent
    And down his querulous challenge sent.

    Unwarmed by any sunset light
    The gray day darkened into night,
    A night made hoary with the swarm
    And whirl-dance of the blinding storm,
    As zigzag, wavering to and fro,
    Crossed and recrossed the wingéd snow:
    And ere the early bedtime came
    The white drift piled the window-frame,
    And through the glass the clothes-line posts
    Looked in like tall and sheeted ghosts.

    So all night long the storm roared on:
    The morning broke without a sun;
    In tiny spherule traced with lines
    Of Nature’s geometric signs,
    In starry flake, and pellicle,
    All day the hoary meteor fell;
    And, when the second morning shone,
    We looked upon a world unknown,
    On nothing we could call our own.
    Around the glistening wonder bent
    The blue walls of the firmament,
    No cloud above, no earth below,—
    A universe of sky and snow!
    The old familiar sights of ours
    Took marvellous shapes; strange domes and towers
    Rose up where sty or corn-crib stood,
    Or garden-wall, or belt of wood;
    A smooth white mound the brush-pile showed,
    A fenceless drift what once was road;
    The bridle-post an old man sat
    With loose-flung coat and high cocked hat;
    The well-curb had a Chinese roof;
    And even the long sweep, high aloof,
    In its slant splendor, seemed to tell
    Of Pisa’s leaning miracle.

    A prompt, decisive man, no breath
    Our father wasted: “Boys, a path!”
    Well pleased, (for when did farmer boy
    Count such a summons less than joy?)
    Our buskins on our feet we drew;
    With mittened hands, and caps drawn low,
    To guard our necks and ears from snow,
    We cut the solid whiteness through.
    And, where the drift was deepest, made
    A tunnel walled and overlaid
    With dazzling crystal: we had read
    Of rare Aladdin’s wondrous cave,
    And to our own his name we gave,
    With many a wish the luck were ours
    To test his lamp’s supernal powers.
    We reached the barn with merry din,
    And roused the prisoned brutes within.
    The old horse thrust his long head out,
    And grave with wonder gazed about;
    The cock his lusty greeting said,
    And forth his speckled harem led;
    The oxen lashed their tails, and hooked,
    And mild reproach of hunger looked;
    The hornéd patriarch of the sheep,
    Like Egypt’s Amun roused from sleep,
    Shook his sage head with gesture mute,
    And emphasized with stamp of foot.

    All day the gusty north-wind bore
    The loosening drift its breath before;
    Low circling round its southern zone,
    The sun through dazzling snow-mist shone.
    No church-bell lent its Christian tone
    To the savage air, no social smoke
    Curled over woods of snow-hung oak.
    A solitude made more intense
    By dreary-voicéd elements,
    The shrieking of the mindless wind,
    The moaning tree-boughs swaying blind,
    And on the glass the unmeaning beat
    Of ghostly finger-tips of sleet.
    Beyond the circle of our hearth
    No welcome sound of toil or mirth
    Unbound the spell, and testified
    Of human life and thought outside.
    We minded that the sharpest ear
    The buried brooklet could not hear,
    The music of whose liquid lip
    Had been to us companionship,
    And, in our lonely life, had grown
    To have an almost human tone.

    As night drew on, and, from the crest
    Of wooded knolls that ridged the west,
    The sun, a snow-blown traveller, sank
    From sight beneath the smothering bank,
    We piled, with care, our nightly stack
    Of wood against the chimney-back,—
    The oaken log, green, huge, and thick,
    And on its top the stout back-stick;
    The knotty forestick laid apart,
    And filled between with curious art
    The ragged brush; then, hovering near,
    We watched the first red blaze appear,
    Heard the sharp crackle, caught the gleam
    On whitewashed wall and sagging beam,
    Until the old, rude-furnished room
    Burst, flower-like, into rosy bloom;
    While radiant with a mimic flame
    Outside the sparkling drift became,
    And through the bare-boughed lilac-tree
    Our own warm hearth seemed blazing free.
    The crane and pendent trammels showed,
    The Turks’ heads on the andirons glowed;
    While childish fancy, prompt to tell
    The meaning of the miracle,
    Whispered the old rhyme: “Under the tree,
    When fire outdoors burns merrily,
    There the witches are making tea.”

    The moon above the eastern wood
    Shone at its full; the hill-range stood
    Transfigured in the silver flood,
    Its blown snows flashing cold and keen,
    Dead white, save where some sharp ravine
    Took shadow, or the sombre green
    Of hemlocks turned to pitchy black
    Against the whiteness at their back.
    For such a world and such a night
    Most fitting that unwarming light,
    Which only seemed where’er it fell
    To make the coldness visible.

    Shut in from all the world without,
    We sat the clean-winged hearth about,
    Content to let the north-wind roar
    In baffled rage at pane and door,
    While the red logs before us beat
    The frost-line back with tropic heat;
    And ever, when a louder blast
    Shook beam and rafter as it passed,
    The merrier up its roaring draught
    The great throat of the chimney laughed;
    The house-dog on his paws outspread
    Laid to the fire his drowsy head,
    The cat’s dark silhouette on the wall
    A couchant tiger’s seemed to fall;
    And, for the winter fireside meet,
    Between the andirons’ straddling feet,
    The mug of cider simmered slow,
    The apples sputtered in a row,
    And, close at hand, the basket stood
    With nuts from brown October’s wood.

    What matter how the night behaved?
    What matter how the north-wind raved?
    Blow high, blow low, not all its snow
    Could quench our hearth-fire’s ruddy glow.
    O Time and Change!—with hair as gray
    As was my sire’s that winter day,
    How strange it seems, with so much gone
    Of life and love, to still live on!
    Ah, brother! only I and thou
    Are left of all that circle now,—
    The dear home faces whereupon
    That fitful firelight paled and shone.
    Henceforward, listen as we will,
    The voices of that hearth are still;
    Look where we may, the wide earth o’er,
    Those lighted faces smile no more.
    We tread the paths their feet have worn,
    We sit beneath their orchard trees,
    We hear, like them, the hum of bees
    And rustle of the bladed corn;
    We turn the pages that they read,
    Their written words we linger o’er,
    But in the sun they cast no shade,
    No voice is heard, no sign is made,
    No step is on the conscious floor!
    Yet Love will dream, and Faith will trust,
    (Since He who knows our need is just,)
    That somehow, somewhere, meet we must.
    Alas for him who never sees
    The stars shine through his cypress-trees!
    Who, hopeless, lays his dead away,
    Nor looks to see the breaking day
    Across the mournful marbles play!
    Who hath not learned, in hours of faith,
    The truth to flesh and sense unknown,
    That Life is ever lord of Death,
    And Love can never lose its own!

    We sped the time with stories old,
    Wrought puzzles out, and riddles told,
    Or stammered from our school-book lore
    “The Chief of Gambia’s golden shore.”
    How often since, when all the land
    Was clay in Slavery’s shaping hand,
    As if a trumpet called, I've heard
    Dame Mercy Warren's rousing word:
    “Does not the voice of reason cry,
    Claim the first right which Nature gave,
    From the red scourge of bondage to fly,
    Nor deign to live a burdened slave!”
    Our father rode again his ride
    On Memphremagog’s wooded side;
    Sat down again to moose and samp
    In trapper’s hut and Indian camp;
    Lived o’er the old idyllic ease
    Beneath St. François’ hemlock-trees;
    Again for him the moonlight shone
    On Norman cap and bodiced zone;
    Again he heard the violin play
    Which led the village dance away.
    And mingled in its merry whirl
    The grandam and the laughing girl.
    Or, nearer home, our steps he led
    Where Salisbury’s level marshes spread
    Mile-wide as flies the laden bee;
    Where merry mowers, hale and strong,
    Swept, scythe on scythe, their swaths along
    The low green prairies of the sea.
    We shared the fishing off Boar’s Head,
    And round the rocky Isles of Shoals
    The hake-broil on the drift-wood coals;
    The chowder on the sand-beach made,
    Dipped by the hungry, steaming hot,
    With spoons of clam-shell from the pot.
    We heard the tales of witchcraft old,
    And dream and sign and marvel told
    To sleepy listeners as they lay
    Stretched idly on the salted hay,
    Adrift along the winding shores,
    When favoring breezes deigned to blow
    The square sail of the gundelow
    And idle lay the useless oars.

    Our mother, while she turned her wheel
    Or run the new-knit stocking-heel,
    Told how the Indian hordes came down
    At midnight on Concheco town,
    And how her own great-uncle bore
    His cruel scalp-mark to fourscore.
    Recalling, in her fitting phrase,
    So rich and picturesque and free
    (The common unrhymed poetry
    Of simple life and country ways,)
    The story of her early days,—
    She made us welcome to her home;
    Old hearths grew wide to give us room;
    We stole with her a frightened look
    At the gray wizard’s conjuring-book,
    The fame whereof went far and wide
    Through all the simple country side;
    We heard the hawks at twilight play,
    The boat-horn on Piscataqua,
    The loon’s weird laughter far away;
    We fished her little trout-brook, knew
    What flowers in wood and meadow grew,
    What sunny hillsides autumn-brown
    She climbed to shake the ripe nuts down,
    Saw where in sheltered cove and bay,
    The ducks’ black squadron anchored lay,
    And heard the wild-geese calling loud
    Beneath the gray November cloud.

    Then, haply, with a look more grave,
    And soberer tone, some tale she gave
    From painful Sewel’s ancient tome,
    Beloved in every Quaker home,
    Of faith fire-winged by martyrdom,
    Or Chalkley’s Journal, old and quaint,—
    Gentlest of skippers, rare sea-saint!—
    Who, when the dreary calms prevailed,
    And water-butt and bread-cask failed,
    And cruel, hungry eyes pursued
    His portly presence mad for food,
    With dark hints muttered under breath
    Of casting lots for life or death,
    Offered, if Heaven withheld supplies,
    To be himself the sacrifice.
    Then, suddenly, as if to save
    The good man from his living grave,
    A ripple on the water grew,
    A school of porpoise flashed in view.
    “Take, eat,” he said, “and be content;
    These fishes in my stead are sent
    By Him who gave the tangled ram
    To spare the child of Abraham.”

    Our uncle, innocent of books,
    Was rich in lore of fields and brooks,
    The ancient teachers never dumb
    Of Nature’s unhoused lyceum.
    In moons and tides and weather wise,
    He read the clouds as prophecies,
    And foul or fair could well divine,
    By many an occult hint and sign,
    Holding the cunning-warded keys
    To all the woodcraft mysteries;
    Himself to Nature’s heart so near
    That all her voices in his ear
    Of beast or bird had meanings clear,
    Like Apollonius of old,
    Who knew the tales the sparrows told,
    Or Hermes, who interpreted
    What the sage cranes of Nilus said;
    A simple, guileless, childlike man,
    Content to live where life began;
    Strong only on his native grounds,
    The little world of sights and sounds
    Whose girdle was the parish bounds,
    Whereof his fondly partial pride
    The common features magnified,
    As Surrey hills to mountains grew
    In White of Selborne’s loving view,—
    He told how teal and loon he shot,
    And how the eagle’s eggs he got,
    The feats on pond and river done,
    The prodigies of rod and gun;
    Till, warming with the tales he told,
    Forgotten was the outside cold,
    The bitter wind unheeded blew,
    From ripening corn the pigeons flew,
    The partridge drummed i’ the wood, the mink
    Went fishing down the river-brink.
    In fields with bean or clover gay,
    The woodchuck, like a hermit gray,
    Peered from the doorway of his cell;
    The muskrat plied the mason’s trade,
    And tier by tier his mud-walls laid;
    And from the shagbark overhead
    The grizzled squirrel dropped his shell.

    Next, the dear aunt, whose smile of cheer
    And voice in dreams I see and hear,—
    The sweetest woman ever Fate
    Perverse denied a household mate,
    Who, lonely, homeless, not the less
    Found peace in love’s unselfishness,
    And welcome wheresoe’er she went,
    A calm and gracious element,
    Whose presence seemed the sweet income
    And womanly atmosphere of home,—
    Called up her girlhood memories,
    The huskings and the apple-bees,
    The sleigh-rides and the summer sails,
    Weaving through all the poor details
    And homespun warp of circumstance
    A golden woof-thread of romance.
    For well she kept her genial mood
    And simple faith of maidenhood;
    Before her still a cloud-land lay,
    The mirage loomed across her way;
    The morning dew, that dries so soon
    With others, glistened at her noon;
    Through years of toil and soil and care,
    From glossy tress to thin gray hair,
    All unprofaned she held apart
    The virgin fancies of the heart.
    Be shame to him of woman born
    Who hath for such but thought of scorn.

    There, too, our elder sister plied
    Her evening task the stand beside;
    A full, rich nature, free to trust,
    Truthful and almost sternly just,
    Impulsive, earnest, prompt to act,
    And make her generous thought a fact,
    Keeping with many a light disguise
    The secret of self-sacrifice.
    O heart sore-tried! thou hast the best
    That Heaven itself could give thee,—rest,
    Rest from all bitter thoughts and things!
    How many a poor one’s blessing went
    With thee beneath the low green tent
    Whose curtain never outward swings!

    As one who held herself a part
    Of all she saw, and let her heart
    Against the household bosom lean,
    Upon the motley-braided mat
    Our youngest and our dearest sat,
    Lifting her large, sweet, asking eyes,
    Now bathed in the unfading green
    And holy peace of Paradise.
    Oh, looking from some heavenly hill,
    Or from the shade of saintly palms,
    Or silver reach of river calms,
    Do those large eyes behold me still?
    With me one little year ago:—
    The chill weight of the winter snow
    For months upon her grave has lain;
    And now, when summer south-winds blow
    And brier and harebell bloom again,
    I tread the pleasant paths we trod,
    I see the violet-sprinkled sod
    Whereon she leaned, too frail and weak
    The hillside flowers she loved to seek,
    Yet following me where’er I went
    With dark eyes full of love’s content.
    The birds are glad; the brier-rose fills
    The air with sweetness; all the hills
    Stretch green to June’s unclouded sky;
    But still I wait with ear and eye
    For something gone which should be nigh,
    A loss in all familiar things,
    In flower that blooms, and bird that sings.
    And yet, dear heart! remembering thee,
    Am I not richer than of old?
    Safe in thy immortality,
    What change can reach the wealth I hold?
    What chance can mar the pearl and gold
    Thy love hath left in trust with me?
    And while in life’s late afternoon,
    Where cool and long the shadows grow,
    I walk to meet the night that soon
    Shall shape and shadow overflow,
    I cannot feel that thou art far,
    Since near at need the angels are;
    And when the sunset gates unbar,
    Shall I not see thee waiting stand,
    And, white against the evening star,
    The welcome of thy beckoning hand?

    Brisk wielder of the birch and rule,
    The master of the district school
    Held at the fire his favored place,
    Its warm glow lit a laughing face
    Fresh-hued and fair, where scarce appeared
    The uncertain prophecy of beard.
    He teased the mitten-blinded cat,
    Played cross-pins on my uncle’s hat,
    Sang songs, and told us what befalls
    In classic Dartmouth’s college halls.
    Born the wild Northern hills among,
    From whence his yeoman father wrung
    By patient toil subsistence scant,
    Not competence and yet not want,
    He early gained the power to pay
    His cheerful, self-reliant way;
    Could doff at ease his scholar’s gown
    To peddle wares from town to town;
    Or through the long vacation’s reach
    In lonely lowland districts teach,
    Where all the droll experience found
    At stranger hearths in boarding round,
    The moonlit skater’s keen delight,
    The sleigh-drive through the frosty night,
    The rustic party, with its rough
    Accompaniment of blind-man’s-buff,
    And whirling-plate, and forfeits paid,
    His winter task a pastime made.
    Happy the snow-locked homes wherein
    He tuned his merry violin,
    Or played the athlete in the barn,
    Or held the good dame’s winding-yarn,
    Or mirth-provoking versions told
    Of classic legends rare and old,
    Wherein the scenes of Greece and Rome
    Had all the commonplace of home,
    And little seemed at best the odds
    ’Twixt Yankee pedlers and old gods;
    Where Pindus-born Arachthus took
    The guise of any grist-mill brook,
    And dread Olympus at his will
    Became a huckleberry hill.

    A careless boy that night he seemed;
    But at his desk he had the look
    And air of one who wisely schemed,
    And hostage from the future took
    In trainéd thought and lore of book.
    Large-brained, clear-eyed, of such as he
    Shall Freedom’s young apostles be,
    Who, following in War’s bloody trail,
    Shall every lingering wrong assail;
    All chains from limb and spirit strike,
    Uplift the black and white alike;
    Scatter before their swift advance
    The darkness and the ignorance,
    The pride, the lust, the squalid sloth,
    Which nurtured Treason’s monstrous growth,
    Made murder pastime, and the hell
    Of prison-torture possible;
    The cruel lie of caste refute,
    Old forms remould, and substitute
    For Slavery’s lash the freeman’s will,
    For blind routine, wise-handed skill;
    A school-house plant on every hill,
    Stretching in radiate nerve-lines thence
    The quick wires of intelligence;
    Till North and South together brought
    Shall own the same electric thought,
    In peace a common flag salute,
    And, side by side in labor’s free
    And unresentful rivalry,
    Harvest the fields wherein they fought.

    Another guest that winter night
    Flashed back from lustrous eyes the light.
    Unmarked by time, and yet not young,
    The honeyed music of her tongue
    And words of meekness scarcely told
    A nature passionate and bold,
    Strong, self-concentred, spurning guide,
    Its milder features dwarfed beside
    Her unbent will’s majestic pride.
    She sat among us, at the best,
    A not unfeared, half-welcome guest,
    Rebuking with her cultured phrase
    Our homeliness of words and ways.
    A certain pard-like, treacherous grace
    Swayed the lithe limbs and drooped the lash,
    Lent the white teeth their dazzling flash;
    And under low brows, black with night,
    Rayed out at times a dangerous light;
    The sharp heat-lightnings of her face
    Presaging ill to him whom Fate
    Condemned to share her love or hate.
    A woman tropical, intense
    In thought and act, in soul and sense,
    She blended in a like degree
    The vixen and the devotee,
    Revealing with each freak or feint
    The temper of Petruchio’s Kate,
    The raptures of Siena’s saint.
    Her tapering hand and rounded wrist
    Had facile power to form a fist;
    The warm, dark languish of her eyes
    Was never safe from wrath’s surprise.
    Brows saintly calm and lips devout
    Knew every change of scowl and pout;
    And the sweet voice had notes more high
    And shrill for social battle-cry.

    Since then what old cathedral town
    Has missed her pilgrim staff and gown,
    What convent-gate has held its lock
    Against the challenge of her knock!
    Through Smyrna’s plague-hushed thoroughfares,
    Up sea-set Malta’s rocky stairs,
    Gray olive slopes of hills that hem
    Thy tombs and shrines, Jerusalem,
    Or startling on her desert throne
    The crazy Queen of Lebanon
    With claims fantastic as her own,
    Her tireless feet have held their way;
    And still, unrestful, bowed, and gray,
    She watches under Eastern skies,
    With hope each day renewed and fresh,
    The Lord’s quick coming in the flesh,
    Whereof she dreams and prophesies!

    Where’er her troubled path may be,
    The Lord’s sweet pity with her go!
    The outward wayward life we see,
    The hidden springs we may not know.
    Nor is it given us to discern
    What threads the fatal sisters spun,
    Through what ancestral years has run
    The sorrow with the woman born,
    What forged her cruel chain of moods,
    What set her feet in solitudes,
    And held the love within her mute,
    What mingled madness in the blood,
    A life-long discord and annoy,
    Water of tears with oil of joy,
    And hid within the folded bud
    Perversities of flower and fruit.
    It is not ours to separate
    The tangled skein of will and fate,
    To show what metes and bounds should stand
    Upon the soul’s debatable land,
    And between choice and Providence
    Divide the circle of events;
    But He who knows our frame is just,
    Merciful and compassionate,
    And full of sweet assurances
    And hope for all the language is,
    That He remembereth we are dust!

    At last the great logs, crumbling low,
    Sent out a dull and duller glow,
    The bull’s-eye watch that hung in view,
    Ticking its weary circuit through,
    Pointed with mutely warning sign
    Its black hand to the hour of nine.
    That sign the pleasant circle broke:
    My uncle ceased his pipe to smoke,
    Knocked from its bowl the refuse gray,
    And laid it tenderly away;
    Then roused himself to safely cover
    The dull red brands with ashes over.
    And while, with care, our mother laid
    The work aside, her steps she stayed
    One moment, seeking to express
    Her grateful sense of happiness
    For food and shelter, warmth and health,
    And love’s contentment more than wealth,
    With simple wishes (not the weak,
    Vain prayers which no fulfilment seek,
    But such as warm the generous heart,
    O’er-prompt to do with Heaven its part)
    That none might lack, that bitter night,
    For bread and clothing, warmth and light.

    Within our beds awhile we heard
    The wind that round the gables roared,
    With now and then a ruder shock,
    Which made our very bedsteads rock.
    We heard the loosened clapboards tost,
    The board-nails snapping in the frost;
    And on us, through the unplastered wall,
    Felt the light sifted snow-flakes fall.
    But sleep stole on, as sleep will do
    When hearts are light and life is new;
    Faint and more faint the murmurs grew,
    Till in the summer-land of dreams
    They softened to the sound of streams,
    Low stir of leaves, and dip of oars,
    And lapsing waves on quiet shores.

    Next morn we wakened with the shout
    Of merry voices high and clear;
    And saw the teamsters drawing near
    To break the drifted highways out.
    Down the long hillside treading slow
    We saw the half-buried oxen go,
    Shaking the snow from heads uptost,
    Their straining nostrils white with frost.
    Before our door the straggling train
    Drew up, an added team to gain.
    The elders threshed their hands a-cold,
    Passed, with the cider-mug, their jokes
    From lip to lip; the younger folks
    Down the loose snow-banks, wrestling, rolled,
    Then toiled again the cavalcade
    O’er windy hill, through clogged ravine,
    And woodland paths that wound between
    Low drooping pine-boughs winter-weighed.
    From every barn a team afoot,
    At every house a new recruit,
    Where, drawn by Nature’s subtlest law,
    Haply the watchful young men saw
    Sweet doorway pictures of the curls
    And curious eyes of merry girls,
    Lifting their hands in mock defence
    Against the snow-ball’s compliments,
    And reading in each missive tost
    The charm with Eden never lost.

    We heard once more the sleigh-bells’ sound;
    And, following where the teamsters led,
    The wise old Doctor went his round,
    Just pausing at our door to say,
    In the brief autocratic way
    Of one who, prompt at Duty’s call,
    Was free to urge her claim on all,
    That some poor neighbor sick abed
    At night our mother’s aid would need.
    For, one in generous thought and deed,
    What mattered in the sufferer’s sight
    The Quaker matron’s inward light,
    The Doctor’s mail of Calvin’s creed?
    All hearts confess the saints elect
    Who, twain in faith, in love agree,
    And melt not in an acid sect
    The Christian pearl of charity!

    So days went on: a week had passed
    Since the great world was heard from last.
    The Almanac we studied o’er,
    Read and reread our little store
    Of books and pamphlets, scarce a score;
    One harmless novel, mostly hid
    From younger eyes, a book forbid,
    And poetry, (or good or bad,
    A single book was all we had,)
    Where Ellwood’s meek, drab-skirted Muse,
    A stranger to the heathen Nine,
    Sang, with a somewhat nasal whine,
    The wars of David and the Jews.
    At last the floundering carrier bore
    The village paper to our door.
    Lo! broadening outward as we read,
    To warmer zones the horizon spread
    In panoramic length unrolled
    We saw the marvels that it told.
    Before us passed the painted Creeks,
    And daft McGregor on his raids
    In Costa Rica’s everglades.
    And up Taygetos winding slow
    Rode Ypsilanti’s Mainote Greeks,
    A Turk’s head at each saddle-bow!
    Welcome to us its week-old news,
    Its corner for the rustic Muse,
    Its monthly gauge of snow and rain,
    Its record, mingling in a breath
    The wedding bell and dirge of death:
    Jest, anecdote, and love-lorn tale,
    The latest culprit sent to jail;
    Its hue and cry of stolen and lost,
    Its vendue sales and goods at cost,
    And traffic calling loud for gain.
    We felt the stir of hall and street,
    The pulse of life that round us beat;
    The chill embargo of the snow
    Was melted in the genial glow;
    Wide swung again our ice-locked door,
    And all the world was ours once more!

    Clasp, Angel of the backword look
    And folded wings of ashen gray
    And voice of echoes far away,
    The brazen covers of thy book;
    The weird palimpsest old and vast,
    Wherein thou hid’st the spectral past;
    Where, closely mingling, pale and glow
    The characters of joy and woe;
    The monographs of outlived years,
    Or smile-illumed or dim with tears,
    Green hills of life that slope to death,
    And haunts of home, whose vistaed trees
    Shade off to mournful cypresses
    With the white amaranths underneath.
    Even while I look, I can but heed
    The restless sands’ incessant fall,
    Importunate hours that hours succeed,
    Each clamorous with its own sharp need,
    And duty keeping pace with all.
    Shut down and clasp with heavy lids;
    I hear again the voice that bids
    The dreamer leave his dream midway
    For larger hopes and graver fears:
    Life greatens in these later years,
    The century’s aloe flowers to-day!

    Yet, haply, in some lull of life,
    Some Truce of God which breaks its strife,
    The worldling’s eyes shall gather dew,
    Dreaming in throngful city ways
    Of winter joys his boyhood knew;
    And dear and early friends—the few
    Who yet remain—shall pause to view
    These Flemish pictures of old days;
    Sit with me by the homestead hearth,
    And stretch the hands of memory forth
    To warm them at the wood-fire’s blaze!
    And thanks untraced to lips unknown
    Shall greet me like the odors blown
    From unseen meadows newly mown,
    Or lilies floating in some pond,
    Wood-fringed, the wayside gaze beyond;
    The traveller owns the grateful sense
    Of sweetness near, he knows not whence,
    And, pausing, takes with forehead bare
    The benediction of the air.

  9. When I have Fears

    by John Keats

    When I have fears that I may cease to be
    Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,
    Before high-pilèd books, in charactery,
    Hold like rich garners the full ripened grain;
    When I behold, upon the night’s starred face,
    Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
    And think that I may never live to trace
    Their shadows with the magic hand of chance;
    And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
    That I shall never look upon thee more,
    Never have relish in the faery power
    Of unreflecting love—then on the shore
    Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
    Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.

  10. If—

    by Rudyard Kipling

    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

    If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

  11. A Dream Within a Dream

    by Nikolay Dosekin
    by Edgar Allan Poe

    Take this kiss upon the brow!
    And, in parting from you now,
    Thus much let me avow —
    You are not wrong, who deem
    That my days have been a dream;
    Yet if hope has flown away
    In a night, or in a day,
    In a vision, or in none,
    Is it therefore the less gone?
    All that we see or seem
    Is but a dream within a dream.

    I stand amid the roar
    Of a surf-tormented shore,
    And I hold within my hand
    Grains of the golden sand —
    How few! yet how they creep
    Through my fingers to the deep,
    While I weep — while I weep!
    O God! Can I not grasp
    Them with a tighter clasp?
    O God! can I not save
    One from the pitiless wave?
    Is all that we see or seem
    But a dream within a dream?

  12. Pioneers! O Pioneers!

    The Covered Wagon
    The Covered Wagon
    by W. H. D. Koerner
    by Walt Whitman

    Come, my tan-faced children,
    Follow well in order, get your weapons ready;
    Have you your pistols? have you your sharp edged axes?
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    For we cannot tarry here,
    We must march my darlings, we must bear the brunt of danger,
    We, the youthful sinewy races, all the rest on us depend,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    O you youths, western youths,
    So impatient, full of action, full of manly pride and friendship,
    Plain I see you, western youths, see you tramping with the foremost,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    Have the elder races halted?
    Do they droop and end their lesson, wearied, over there beyond the seas?
    We take up the task eternal, and the burden, and the lesson,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    All the past we leave behind;
    We debouch upon a newer, mightier world, varied world,
    Fresh and strong the world we seize, world of labor and the march,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    We detachments steady throwing,
    Down the edges, through the passes, up the mountains steep,
    Conquering, holding, daring, venturing, as we go, the unknown ways,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    We primeval forests felling,
    We the rivers stemming, vexing we, and piercing deep the mines within;
    We the surface broad surveying, we the virgin soil upheaving,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    Colorado men are we,
    From the peaks gigantic, from the great sierras and the high plateaus,
    From the mine and from the gully, from the hunting trail we come,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    From Nebraska, from Arkansas,
    Central inland race are we, from Missouri, with the continental blood intervein’d;
    All the hands of comrades clasping, all the Southern, all the Northern,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    O resistless, restless race!
    O beloved race in all! O my breast aches with tender love for all!
    O I mourn and yet exult—I am rapt with love for all,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    Raise the mighty mother mistress,
    Waving high the delicate mistress, over all the starry mistress, (bend your heads all,)
    Raise the fang’d and warlike mistress, stern, impassive, weapon’d mistress,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    See, my children, resolute children,
    By those swarms upon our rear, we must never yield or falter,
    Ages back in ghostly millions, frowning there behind us urging,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    On and on, the compact ranks,
    With accessions ever waiting, with the places of the dead quickly fill’d,
    Through the battle, through defeat, moving yet and never stopping,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    O to die advancing on!
    Are there some of us to droop and die? has the hour come?
    Then upon the march we fittest die, soon and sure the gap is fill’d,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    All the pulses of the world,
    Falling in, they beat for us, with the western movement beat;
    Holding single or together, steady moving, to the front, all for us,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    Life’s involv’d and varied pageants,
    All the forms and shows, all the workmen at their work,
    All the seamen and the landsmen, all the masters with their slaves,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    All the hapless silent lovers,
    All the prisoners in the prisons, all the righteous and the wicked,
    All the joyous, all the sorrowing, all the living, all the dying,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    I too with my soul and body,
    We, a curious trio, picking, wandering on our way,
    Through these shores, amid the shadows, with the apparitions pressing,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    Lo! the darting bowling orb!
    Lo! the brother orbs around! all the clustering suns and planets,
    All the dazzling days, all the mystic nights with dreams,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    These are of us, they are with us,
    All for primal needed work, while the followers there in embryo wait behind,
    We to-day’s procession heading, we the route for travel clearing,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    O you daughters of the west!
    O you young and elder daughters! O you mothers and you wives!
    Never must you be divided, in our ranks you move united,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    Minstrels latent on the prairies!
    (Shrouded bards of other lands! you may sleep—you have done your work;)
    Soon I hear you coming warbling, soon you rise and tramp amid us,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    Not for delectations sweet;
    Not the cushion and the slipper, not the peaceful and the studious;
    Not the riches safe and palling, not for us the tame enjoyment,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    Do the feasters gluttonous feast?
    Do the corpulent sleepers sleep? have they lock’d and bolted doors?
    Still be ours the diet hard, and the blanket on the ground,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    Has the night descended?
    Was the road of late so toilsome? did we stop discouraged, nodding on our way?
    Yet a passing hour I yield you, in your tracks to pause oblivious,
    Pioneers! O pioneers!

    Till with sound of trumpet,
    Far, far off the day-break call—hark! how loud and clear I hear it wind;
    Swift! to the head of the army!—swift! spring to your places,
    Pioneers! O pioneers.

  13. The School-Ma'am

    The Country School
    The Country School
    by Winslow Homer
    by Robert J. C. Stead

    No hope of worldly gain is hers,
    A yokel's wages for her hire,
    And every throb of self's desire
    Resigned to childish worshippers.

    A tiny school her citadel,
    A fenceless acre her domain,
    Her life a sacrifice; her gain
    The gain of those she serves so well.

    Though little more than child herself,
    A mother she to many sons;
    In every vein the child-love runs
    And fondly floods each little elf.

    Though hampered by the formal sense
    Of laws that check her usefulness
    And boards of rustic truthfulness
    And kindly-meant incompetence,

    She earns a price they cannot pay,
    Obeys a law they did not make,
    Enduring for their children's sake
    The arrogance of human clay.

    Oh, hide your littleness in shame Who think ye pay for all she gives;
    Within her sacred circle lives
    The light of an eternal flame,

    And growing down your country's page.
    The beauty of her sacrifice
    Shall glow again in other eyes,
    And multiply from age to age.

    The mothers of the race to be
    Shall live her tenderness anew,
    And her devotion shall imbue
    The sons who keep our country free.

    She gains no flagrant, pompous prize,
    But men who move the world's affairs
    Shall snatch a moment from their cares
    To think of her with moistened eyes.

    The conquerors of hostile lands,
    The hearts the nation's burdens bear,
    To-morrow's lords of earth and air,
    To-day are moulded in her hands.

    The lightest trifle from her lips
    May charge some soul with fertile seed
    That in the hour of direst need
    Shall save your nation from eclipse.

    The kings of action, speech, and brain,
    The men your sons shall mark and raise
    To shape the nation's destinies,
    Shall earn her salary again.

    I count the paltry dollars spent
    Pay richer dividends than gold
    When those who such position hold
    Exert it for earth's betterment.

  14. The Old Country Store

    by Ed Blair

    Oh, the old country store with the candy jars in it,
    And the bag of green coffee that sat by the door;
    The barrel of sorghum with plug driven in it,
    That leaked every hour a few drops on the floor.
    The barrel of crackers with cover beside it,
    The cheese, where a patron could pilfer a bite.
    The jugs and the jars with the straw in between them,
    When I was a boy 'twas a source of delight.

    Piled up on the counter, the "hickory shirting"—
    A stripe and a plaid for the patrons to choose.
    Some featherproof ticking, some ducking for "breeches,"
    Some calicos, ginghams, a few pairs of shoes,
    A barrel of kraut never spoiled in the making,
    How good it did taste when I tiptoed a wee,
    And the "gingersnap cookies" that came in the boxes,
    What a treat to have one of them given to me.

    The old country store, what a charm to the youngster
    The hogshead of sugar (sometimes mixed with sand),
    And if I was there when the "store man" was opening,
    A lump of its sweetness was placed in my hand.
    The coffee pots stood in a row on the shelving,
    The old iron boilers and tubs down below,
    A can of gunpowder and shot for the hunters
    And the "waterproof" caps that ofttimes wouldn't go.

    Oh, the old country store, what a joy there to visit
    With postoffice boxes, 'mong cobwebs galore,
    That gave us the letters and papers on Monday,
    That rode in the mails for a fortnight or more.
    Oh, never a city with street cars and bridges
    And viaducts, factories—yea, all of these,
    Can e'er beat the store at the cross roads on Cow creek
    Where first I bought candy and crackers and cheese.

  15. Mending Wall

    A Welsh Cornfield
    A Welsh Cornfield
    by Benjamin Williams Leader
    by Robert Frost

    Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
    That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
    And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
    And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
    The work of hunters is another thing:
    I have come after them and made repair
    Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
    But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
    To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
    No one has seen them made or heard them made,
    But at spring mending-time we find them there.

    I let my neighbour know beyond the hill;
    And on a day we meet to walk the line
    And set the wall between us once again.
    We keep the wall between us as we go.
    To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
    And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
    We have to use a spell to make them balance:
    "Stay where you are until our backs are turned!"
    We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
    Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
    One on a side. It comes to little more:
    There where it is we do not need the wall:
    He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
    My apple trees will never get across
    And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
    He only says, "Good fences make good neighbours."
    Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
    If I could put a notion in his head:
    "Why do they make good neighbours? Isn't it
    Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
    Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
    What I was walling in or walling out,
    And to whom I was like to give offence.
    Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
    That wants it down." I could say "Elves" to him,
    But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
    He said it for himself. I see him there
    Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
    In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
    He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
    Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
    He will not go behind his father's saying,
    And he likes having thought of it so well
    He says again, "Good fences make good neighbours."

  16. The Barefoot Boy

    The Blue Boy
    The Blue Boy
    by Winslow Homer
    John Greenleaf Whittier

    Blessings on thee, little man,
    Barefoot boy, with cheek of tan!
    With thy turned-up pantaloons,
    And thy merry whistled tunes;
    With thy red lip, redder still
    Kissed by strawberries on the hill;
    With the sunshine on thy face,
    Through thy torn brim's jaunty grace;
    From my heart I give thee joy,—
    I was once a barefoot boy!
    Prince thou art,—the grown-up man
    Only is republican.
    Let the million-dollared ride!
    Barefoot, trudging, at his side,
    Thou hast more than he can buy
    In the reach of ear and eye,—
    Outward sunshine, inward joy:
    Blessings on thee, barefoot boy!

    Oh for boyhood's painless play,
    Sleep that wakes in laughing day,
    Health that mocks the doctor's rules,
    Knowledge never learned of schools,
    Of the wild bee's morning chase,
    Of the wild flower's time and place,
    Flight of fowl and habitude
    Of the tenants of the wood;
    How the tortoise bears his shell,
    How the woodchuck digs his cell,
    And the ground mole sinks his well
    How the robin feeds her young,
    How the oriole's nest is hung;
    Where the whitest lilies blow,
    Where the freshest berries grow,
    Where the groundnut trails its vine,
    Where the wood grape's clusters shine;
    Of the black wasp's cunning way,
    Mason of his walls of clay,
    And the architectural plans
    Of gray hornet artisans!—
    For, eschewing books and tasks,
    Nature answers all he asks;
    Hand in hand with her he walks,
    Face to face with her he talks,
    Part and parcel of her joy,—
    Blessings on thee, barefoot boy!

    Oh for boyhood's time of June,
    Crowding years in one brief moon,
    When all things I heard or saw
    Me, their master, waited for.
    I was rich in flowers and trees,
    Humming birds and honeybees;
    For my sport the squirrel played,
    Plied the snouted mole his spade;
    For my taste the blackberry cone
    Purpled over hedge and stone;
    Laughed the brook for my delight
    Through the day and through the night,
    Whispering at the garden wall,
    Talked with me from fall to fall;
    Mine the sand-rimmed pickerel pond,
    Mine the walnut slopes beyond,
    Mine, on bending orchard trees,
    Apples of Hesperides!
    Still, as my horizon grew,
    Larger grew my riches too;
    All the world I saw or knew
    Seemed a complex Chinese toy,
    Fashioned for a barefoot boy!

    Oh for festal dainties spread,
    Like my bowl of milk and bread,—
    Pewter spoon and bowl of wood,
    On the doorstone, gray and rude!
    O'er me, like a regal tent,
    Cloudy-ribbed, the sunset bent,
    Purple-curtained, fringed with gold,
    Looped in many a wind-swung fold;
    While for music came the play
    Of the pied frog's orchestra;
    And to light the noisy choir,
    Lit the fly his lamp of fire.
    I was monarch: pomp and joy
    Waited on the barefoot boy!

    Cheerily, then, my little man,
    Live and laugh, as boyhood can!
    Though the flinty slopes be hard,
    Stubble-speared the new-mown sward,
    Every morn shall lead thee through
    Fresh baptisms of the dew;
    Every evening from thy feet
    Shall the cool wind kiss the heat:
    All too soon these feet must hide
    In the prison cells of pride,
    Lose the freedom of the sod,
    Like a colt's for work be shod,
    Made to tread the mills of toil,
    Up and down in ceaseless moil:
    Happy if their track be found
    Never on forbidden ground;
    Happy if they sink not in
    Quick and treacherous sands of sin.
    Ah! that thou shouldst know thy joy
    Ere it passes, barefoot boy!

  17. The Thinker

    by Berton Braley. Did it ever occur to you that somebody’s thought is responsible for everything that is done or made?
    The clothespin and the towering building alike had to be planned by some one. There is a Thinker, a Dreamer, a Planner, for every tool that has been made, for every appliance, every labor-saving device, for every project that demands manual work, or labor with the hands, to accomplish it.
    The Thinker, then, means the Inventor, the Discoverer, or the man with brains, who as superintendent or construction engineer sets tasks for the man wdio works with his hands and gives the necessary directions to have the task done.
    Here is a poem in which big thoughts challenge you in every line. See if you can find them.

    Back of the beating hammer
    By which the steel is wrought,
    Back of the workshop’s clamor
    The seeker may find the Thought,
    The thought that is ever Master
    Of iron and steam and steel,
    That rises above disaster
    And tramples it under heel.

    The drudge may fret and tinker
    Or labor with lusty blows,
    But back of him stands the Thinker,
    The clear-eyed man who knows;
    For into each plow or saber,
    Each piece and part and whole,
    Must go the brains of labor,
    Which gives the work a soul.

    Back of the motor’s humming,
    Back of the bells that sing,
    Back of the hammer’s drumming,
    Back of the cranes that swing,
    There is the Eye which scans them,
    Watching through stress and strain,
    There is the Mind which plans them —
    Back of the brawn, the Brain.

    Might of the roaring boiler,
    Force of the engine’s thrust,
    Strength of the sweating toiler,
    Greatly in these we trust,
    But back of them stands the schemer,
    The Thinker who drives things through,
    Back of the job — the Dreamer
    Who’s making the dream come true.

  18. Robert Gould Shaw

    Robert Gould Shaw Memorial
    Robert Gould Shaw Memorial
    by Augustus Saint-Gaudens
    by Paul Laurence Dunbar

    Why was it that the thunder voice of Fate
    Should call thee, studious, from the classic groves,
    Where calm-eyed Pallas with still footsteps roves,
    And charge thee seek the turmoil of the State?
    What bade thee hear the voice and rise elate,
    Leave home and kindred and thy spicy loaves,
    To lead th' unlettered and despised droves
    To manhood's home and thunder at the gate?

    Far better the slow blaze of Learning's light,
    The cool and quiet of her dearer fane,
    Than this hot terror of a hopeless fight,
    This cold endurance of the final pain,—
    Since thou and those who with thee died for right
    Have died, the Present teaches, but in vain!

  19. The Song of the Potter

    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Turn, turn, my wheel! Turn round and round,
    Without a pause, without a sound:
    So spins the flying world away!
    This clay, well mixed with marl and sand,
    Follows the motion of my hand;
    For some must follow, and some command,
    Though all are made of clay!

    Turn, turn, my wheel! All things must change
    To something new, to something strange;
    Nothing that is can pause or stay;
    The moon will wax, the moon will wane,
    The mist and cloud will turn to rain,
    The rain to mist and cloud again,
    To-morrow be to-day.

    Turn, turn, my wheel! All life is brief;
    What now is bud will soon be leaf,
    What now is leaf will soon decay;
    The wind blows east, the wind blows west;
    The blue eggs in the robin's nest
    Will soon have wings and beak and breast,
    And flutter and fly away.

    Turn, turn, my wheel! This earthen jar
    A touch can make, a touch can mar;
    And shall it to the Potter say,
    What makest thou? Thou hast no hand?
    As men who think to understand
    A world by their Creator planned,
    Who wiser is than they.

    Turn, turn, my wheel! 'Tis nature's plan
    The child should grow into the man,
    The man grow wrinkled, old, and gray;
    In youth the heart exults and sings,
    The pulses leap, the feet have wings;
    In age the cricket chirps, and brings
    The harvest home of day.

    Turn, turn, my wheel! The human race,
    Of every tongue, of every place,
    Caucasian, Coptic, or Malay,
    All that inhabit this great earth,
    Whatever be their rank or worth,
    Are kindred and allied by birth,
    And made of the same clay.

    Turn, turn, my wheel! What is begun
    At daybreak must at dark be done,
    To-morrow will be another day;
    To-morrow the hot furnace flame
    Will search the heart and try the frame,
    And stamp with honor or with shame
    These vessels made of clay.

    Stop, stop, my wheel! Too soon, too soon
    The noon will be the afternoon,
    Too soon to-day be yesterday;
    Behind us in our path we cast
    The broken potsherds of the past,
    And all are ground to dust at last,
    And trodden into clay.

  20. Abide with Me

    by Henry Francis Lyte

    Abide with me! fast falls the eventide;
    The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide!
    When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
    Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.

    Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
    Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
    Change and decay in all around I see;
    O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

    Come not in terrors, as the King of kings;
    But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings:
    Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea;
    Come, Friend of sinners, thus abide with me.

    I need Thy presence every passing hour:
    What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
    Who like Thyself my guide and stay can be?
    Through cloud and sunshine, oh, abide with me.

    I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless:
    Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness:
    Where is death’s sting? where, grave, thy victory?
    I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

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