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Story Poems

Table of Contents

  1. A Story for a Child by Bayard Taylor
  2. Paul Revere's Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  3. The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
  4. The Three Warnings by Hester Lynch Thrale
  5. The Revolutionary Soldier's Bequest by Hannah Flagg Gould
  6. The Veteran and the Child by Hannah Flagg Gould
  7. The Grave and the Tree by Arthur Weir
  8. Why the Dog's Nose Is Always Cold by Anonymous
  9. The Wife by John Charles McNeill
  10. Mine by Anonymous
  11. The Mocking-Bird and the Donkey by William Cullen Bryant
  12. All Have Work to Do by R. P. S.

  1. A Story for a Child

    by Bayard Taylor

    Little one, come to my knee!
    Hark, how the rain is pouring
    Over the roof, in the pitch-black night,
    And the wind in the woods a-roaring!

    Hush, my darling, and listen,
    Then pay for the story with kisses;
    Father was lost in the pitch-black night,
    In just such a storm as this is!

    High up on the lonely mountains,
    Where the wild men watched and waited;
    Wolves in the forest, and bears in the bush,
    And I on my path belated.

    The rain and the night together
    Came down and the wind came after,
    Bending the props of the pine-tree roof,
    And snapping many a rafter.

    I crept along in the darkness,
    Stunned, and bruised, and blinded,—
    Crept to a fir with thick-set boughs,
    And a sheltering rock behind it.

    There, from the blowing and raining,
    Crouching, I sought to hide me:
    Something rustled, two green eyes shone,
    And a wolf lay down beside me.

    Little one, be not frightened;
    I and the wolf together,
    Side by side, through the long, long night,
    Hid from the awful weather.

    His wet fur pressed against me;
    Each of us warmed the other;
    Each of us felt, in the stormy dark,
    That beast and man was brother.

    And when the falling forest
    No longer crashed in warning,
    Each of us went from our hiding-place
    Forth in the wild, wet morning.

    Darling, kiss me payment!
    Hark, how the wind is roaring;
    Father's house is a better place
    When the stormy rain is pouring!

  2. Paul Revere's Ride

    Paul Revere's Midnight Ride
    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Paul Revere's heroic actions in the cause of American freedom were immortalized in this poem which recounts the story Paul Revere's midnight ride of April 18-19, 1775 to warn the Massachusetts countryside of the coming British invasion.

    Listen my children and you shall hear
    Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
    On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
    Hardly a man is now alive
    Who remembers that famous day and year.

    He said to his friend, "If the British march
    By land or sea from the town to-night,
    Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
    Of the North Church tower as a signal light,—
    One if by land, and two if by sea;
    And I on the opposite shore will be,
    Ready to ride and spread the alarm
    Through every Middlesex village and farm,
    For the country folk to be up and to arm."
    ...

    Then he said "Good-night!" and with muffled oar
    Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
    Just as the moon rose over the bay,
    Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
    The Somerset, British man-of-war;
    A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
    Across the moon like a prison bar,
    And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
    By its own reflection in the tide.

    Meanwhile, his friend through alley and street
    Wanders and watches, with eager ears,
    Till in the silence around him he hears
    The muster of men at the barrack door,
    The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
    And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
    Marching down to their boats on the shore.

    Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
    By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
    To the belfry chamber overhead,
    And startled the pigeons from their perch
    On the sombre rafters, that round him made
    Masses and moving shapes of shade,—
    By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
    To the highest window in the wall,
    Where he paused to listen and look down
    A moment on the roofs of the town
    And the moonlight flowing over all.

    Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
    In their night encampment on the hill,
    Wrapped in silence so deep and still
    That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread,
    The watchful night-wind, as it went
    Creeping along from tent to tent,
    And seeming to whisper, "All is well!"
    A moment only he feels the spell
    Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
    Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
    For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
    On a shadowy something far away,
    Where the river widens to meet the bay,—
    A line of black that bends and floats
    On the rising tide like a bridge of boats.

    Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
    Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
    On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
    Now he patted his horse's side,
    Now he gazed at the landscape far and near,
    Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
    And turned and tightened his saddle girth;
    But mostly he watched with eager search
    The belfry tower of the Old North Church,
    As it rose above the graves on the hill,
    Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
    And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height
    A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
    He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
    But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
    A second lamp in the belfry burns.

    A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
    A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
    And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
    Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
    That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
    The fate of a nation was riding that night;
    And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
    Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
    He has left the village and mounted the steep,
    And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
    Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
    And under the alders that skirt its edge,
    Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
    Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.

    It was twelve by the village clock
    When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
    He heard the crowing of the cock,
    And the barking of the farmer's dog,
    And felt the damp of the river fog,
    That rises after the sun goes down.

    It was one by the village clock,
    When he galloped into Lexington.
    He saw the gilded weathercock
    Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
    And the meeting-house windows, black and bare,
    Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
    As if they already stood aghast
    At the bloody work they would look upon.

    It was two by the village clock,
    When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
    He heard the bleating of the flock,
    And the twitter of birds among the trees,
    And felt the breath of the morning breeze
    Blowing over the meadow brown.
    And one was safe and asleep in his bed
    Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
    Who that day would be lying dead,
    Pierced by a British musket ball.

    You know the rest. In the books you have read
    How the British Regulars fired and fled,—
    How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
    From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
    Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
    Then crossing the fields to emerge again
    Under the trees at the turn of the road,
    And only pausing to fire and load.

    So through the night rode Paul Revere;
    And so through the night went his cry of alarm
    To every Middlesex village and farm,—
    A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
    A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
    And a word that shall echo for evermore!
    For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
    Through all our history, to the last,
    In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
    The people will waken and listen to hear
    The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
    And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

    More information at "The Paul Revere House"


  3. The Raven

    Edgar Allan Poe, 1809-1849, was born in Boston, and died in Baltimore. He was left a destitute orphan at an early age, and was adopted by Mr. John Allan, a wealthy citizen of Richmond. He entered the University of Virginia, at Charlottesville, where he excelled in his studies, and was always at the head of his class; but he was compelled to leave on account of irregularities. He was afterwards appointed a cadet at West Point, but failed to graduate there for the same reason. Poe now quarreled with his benefactor and left his house never to return. During the rest of his melancholy career, he obtained a precarious livelihood by different literary enterprises. His ability as a writer gained him positions with various periodicals in Richmond, New York, and Philadelphia, and during this time he wrote some of his finest prose. The appearance of "The Raven" in 1845, however, at once made Poe a literary lion. He was quite successful for a time, but then fell back into his dissipated habits which finally caused his death. In his personal appearance, Poe was neat and gentlemanly; his face was expressive of intellect and sensibility; and his mental powers in some directions were of a high order. His writings show care, and a great degree of skill in their construction; but their effect is generally morbid. NOTES.—Pallas, or Minerva, in ancient mythology, was the goddess of wisdom. Plutonian, see note on Pluto, page 242. Gilead is the name of a mountain group of Palestine, celebrated for its balsam or balm made from herbs. It is here used figuratively. Aidenn is an Anglicized and disguised spelling of the Arabic form of the word Eden: it is here used as a synonym for heaven.

    Once upon a midnight dreary,
    While I pondered, weak and weary,
    Over many a quaint and curious
    Volume of forgotten lore—
    While I nodded, nearly napping,
    Suddenly there came a tapping,
    As of some one gently rapping,
    Rapping at my chamber door.
    "'Tis some visitor," I muttered,
    "Tapping at my chamber door
    Only this, and nothing more."

    Ah, distinctly I remember,
    It was in the bleak December,
    And each separate dying ember
    Wrought its ghost upon the floor.
    Eagerly I wished the morrow;
    Vainly I had sought to borrow
    From my books surcease of sorrow
    Sorrow for the lost Lenore—
    For the rare and radiant maiden
    Whom the angels name Lenore—
    Nameless here for evermore.

    And the silken, sad, uncertain
    Rustling of each purple curtain
    Thrilled me,—filled me with fantastic
    Terrors, never felt before;
    So that now, to still the beating
    Of my heart, I stood repeating,
    " 'Tis some visitor entreating
    Entrance at my chamber door
    Some late visitor entreating
    Entrance at my chamber door;
    This it is, and nothing more."

    Presently my soul grew stronger;
    Hesitating then no longer,
    "Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly
    Your forgiveness I implore;
    But the fact is I was napping,
    And so gently you came rapping,
    And so faintly you came tapping,
    Tapping at my chamber door,
    That I scarce was sure I heard you."—
    Here I opened wide the door;
    Darkness there, and nothing more.

    Deep into that darkness peering,
    Long I stood there, wondering, fearing,
    Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals
    Ever dared to dream before;
    But the silence was unbroken,
    And the stillness gave no token,
    And the only word there spoken
    Was the whispered word, "Lenore!"
    This I whispered, and an echo
    Murmured back the word, "Lenore!"
    Merely this, and nothing more.

    Back into the chamber turning,
    All my soul within me burning,
    Soon again I heard a tapping,
    Something louder than before.
    "Surely," said I, "surely, that is
    Something at my window lattice;
    Let me see then, what thereat is,
    And this mystery explore—
    Let my heart be still a moment,
    And this mystery explore;—
    'Tis the wind, and nothing more."

    Open here I flung the shutter.
    When, with many a flirt and flutter,
    In there stepped a stately Raven
    Of the saintly days of yore;
    Not the least obeisance made he;
    Not a minute stopped or stayed he,
    But, with mien of lord or lady,
    Perched above my chamber door—
    Perched upon a bust of Pallas
    Just above my chamber door—
    Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

    Then this ebony bird beguiling
    My sad fancy into smiling,
    By the grave and stern decorum
    Of the countenance it wore,
    "Though thy crest be shorn and shaven,
    Thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
    Ghastly, grim, and ancient Raven,
    Wandering from the nightly shore,
    Tell me what thy lordly name is
    On the night's Plutonian shore!"
    Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

    Much I marveled this ungainly
    Fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
    Though its answer little meaning—
    Little relevancy bore;
    For we can not help agreeing
    That no living human being
    Ever yet was blest with seeing
    Bird above his chamber door—
    Bird or beast upon the sculptured
    Bust above his chamber door,
    With such name as "Nevermore."

    But the Raven, sitting lonely
    On that placid bust, spoke only
    That one word, as if his soul in
    That one word he did outpour.
    Nothing farther then he uttered,
    Not a feather then he fluttered,
    Till I scarcely more than muttered,
    "Other friends have flown before—
    On the morrow he will leave me,
    As my Hopes have flown before."
    Then the bird said, "Nevermore."

    Startled at the stillness broken
    By reply so aptly spoken,
    "Doubtless," said I, "what it utters
    Is its only stock and store,
    Caught from some unhappy master
    Whom unmerciful Disaster
    Followed fast and followed faster
    Till his songs one burden bore—
    Till the dirges of his Hope that
    Melancholy burden bore
    Of 'Never—nevermore.' "

    But the Raven still beguiling
    All my sad soul into smiling,
    Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in
    Front of bird, and bust, and door;
    Then, upon the velvet sinking,
    I betook myself to linking
    Fancy unto fancy, thinking
    What this ominous bird of yore—
    What this grim, ungainly, ghastly,
    Gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
    Meant in croaking "Nevermore."

    This I sat engaged in guessing,
    But no syllable expressing
    To the fowl whose fiery eyes now
    Burned into my bosom's core;
    This and more I sat divining,
    With my head at ease reclining
    On the cushion's velvet lining
    That the lamplight gloated o'er,
    But whose velvet violet lining,
    With the lamplight gloating o'er
    She shall press, ah, nevermore!

    Then, methought, the air grew denser,
    Perfumed from an unseen censer
    Swung by Seraphim, whose footfalls
    Tinkled on the tufted floor.
    "Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee—
    By these angels he hath sent thee
    Respite—respite and nepenthe[1]
    From thy memories of Lenore!
    Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe,
    And forget this lost Lenore!"
    Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

    "Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!—
    Prophet still, if bird or devil!—
    Whether Tempter sent, or whether
    Tempest tossed thee here ashore,
    Desolate, yet all undaunted,
    On this desert land enchanted—
    On this home by Horror haunted—
    Tell me truly, I implore—
    Is there—is there balm in Gilead?
    Tell me—tell me, I implore!"
    Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

    "Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil,—
    Prophet still, if bird or devil!—
    By that heaven that bends above us,
    By that God we both adore,
    Tell this soul with sorrow laden,
    If, within the distant Aidenn,
    It shall clasp a sainted maiden
    Whom the angels name Lenore—
    Clasp a rare and radiant maiden,
    Whom the angels name Lenore."
    Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

    "Be that word our sign of parting,
    Bird or fiend," I shrieked, upstarting;
    "Get thee back into the tempest
    And the night's Plutonian shore!
    Leave no black plume as a token
    Of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
    Leave my loneliness unbroken!—
    Quit the bust above my door!
    Take thy beak from out my heart, and
    Take thy form from off my door!"
    Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

    And the Raven, never flitting,
    Still is sitting, still is sitting
    On the pallid bust of Pallas
    Just above my chamber door;
    And his eyes have all the seeming
    Of a demon's that is dreaming,
    And the lamplight o'er him streaming
    Throws his shadow on the floor;
    And my soul from out that shadow,
    That lies floating on the floor,
    Shall be lifted—nevermore!

  4. The Three Warnings

    by Hester Lynch Thrale

    The tree of deepest root is found
    Least willing still to quit the ground;
    'T was therefore said by ancient sages,
    That love of life increased with years
    So much, that in our latter stages,
    When pains grow sharp, and sickness rages,
    The greatest love of life appears.

    This great affection to believe,
    Which all confess, but few perceive,
    If old assertions can't prevail,
    Be pleased to hear a modern tale.

    When sports went round, and all were gay,
    On neighbor Dodson's wedding day,
    Death called aside the jocund groom
    With him into another room;
    And looking grave, "You must," says he,
    "Quit your sweet bride, and come with me."
    "With you! and quit my Susan's side?
    With you!" the hapless bridegroom cried:
    "Young as I am, 't is monstrous hard!
    Besides, in truth, I'm not prepared."

    What more he urged, I have not heard;
    His reasons could not well be stronger:
    So Death the poor delinquent spared,
    And left to live a little longer.
    Yet, calling up a serious look,
    His hourglass trembled while he spoke:
    "Neighbor," he said, "farewell! no more
    Shall Death disturb your mirthful hour;
    And further, to avoid all blame
    Of cruelty upon my name,
    To give you time for preparation,
    And fit you for your future station,
    Three several warnings you shall have
    Before you're summoned to the grave;
    Willing for once I'll quit my prey,
    And grant a kind reprieve;
    In hopes you'll have no more to say,
    But, when I call again this way,
    Well pleased the world will leave."
    To these conditions both consented,
    And parted perfectly contented.

    What next the hero of our tale befell,
    How long he lived, how wisely, and how well,
    It boots not that the Muse should tell;
    He plowed, he sowed, he bought, he sold,
    Nor once perceived his growing old,
    Nor thought of Death as near;
    His friends not false, his wife no shrew,
    Many his gains, his children few,
    He passed his hours in peace.
    But, while he viewed his wealth increase,
    While thus along life's dusty road,
    The beaten track, content he trod,
    Old Time, whose haste no mortal spares,
    Uncalled, unheeded, unawares,
    Brought on his eightieth year.

    And now, one night, in musing mood,
    As all alone he sate,
    The unwelcome messenger of Fate
    Once more before him stood.
    Half-killed with wonder and surprise,
    "So soon returned!" old Dodson cries.
    "So soon d' ye call it?" Death replies:
    "Surely! my friend, you're but in jest;
    Since I was here before,
    'T is six and thirty years at least,
    And you are now fourscore."
    "So much the worse!" the clown rejoined;
    "To spare the aged would be kind:
    Besides, you promised me three warnings,
    Which I have looked for nights and mornings!"

    "I know," cries Death, "that at the best,
    I seldom am a welcome guest;
    But don't be captious, friend; at least,
    I little thought that you'd be able
    To stump about your farm and stable;
    Your years have run to a great length,
    Yet still you seem to have your strength."

    "Hold!" says the farmer, "not so fast!
    I have been lame, these four years past."
    "And no great wonder," Death replies,
    "However, you still keep your eyes;
    And surely, sir, to see one's friends,
    For legs and arms would make amends."
    "Perhaps," says Dodson, "so it might,
    But latterly I've lost my sight."
    "This is a shocking story, faith;
    But there's some comfort still," says Death;
    "Each strives your sadness to amuse;
    I warrant you hear all the news."
    "There's none," cries he, "and if there were,
    I've grown so deaf, I could not hear."

    "Nay, then," the specter stern rejoined,
    "These are unpardonable yearnings;
    If you are lame, and deaf, and blind,
    You've had your three sufficient warnings,
    So, come along; no more we'll part."
    He said, and touched him with his dart:
    And now old Dodson, turning pale,
    Yields to his fate—so ends my tale.

  5. The Revolutionary Soldier's Bequest

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    "Behold," the hoary veteran said,
    "The silver scattered o'er my head;
    A remnant of the auburn hair,
    That curled in sunny clusters there,
    When, in the land that now is thine,
    With bounding flock and fruitful vine,
    While Freedom's banner waves unfurled,
    The envy of a gazing world,
    Life was but slavery to me;
    And when I fought, my son, for thee.

    "Thy father's forehead time has bared;
    The few white locks, that yet are spared
    And lonely round my temples stray,
    Soon from thy sight must pass away.
    So thinned, so scattered o'er the land
    Is now that valiant, patriot band,
    Who, when their country gave the word,
    ' To arms! to arms! gird on thy sword!'
    Sprang forth, resolved her chains to break,
    Or earth their gory bed to make.
    And, gathering where their chieftain led,
    Thick as the hairs that clothed his head,
    Marched onward, where the foeman stood
    Waiting to dip his foot in blood.

    "Though many a groan was heard around
    From quivering lips that strewed the ground;
    Yet none could pause to bid farewell,
    When at his side his brother fell,
    To close alone the dying eye—
    To heave unheard the final sigh,
    With none to stay the fleeting breath,
    Or wipe away the damps of death.
    For struggling Liberty impelled,
    When nature's ties had fain withheld;
    Until the God of armies spake
    The word, that made her bonds to break.
    And Independence, shouting loud,
    Burst glorious from the fiery cloud
    That rolled upon the battle-field,
    And scenes of blood and death concealed!
    'T was thus thy liberty was won,
    'T was thus I fought for thee, my son!

    "Yes, on the earth I've sought my rest,
    The hoar-frost gathering o'er my breast;
    And oft the freezing, midnight air
    That chilled my blood, has warmed my prayer,
    That He, who governs all, would ride
    With victory on our injured side.
    Through winter's cold, and summer's heat,
    With aching head and weary feet,
    And hunger's cravings I have gone;
    And when I saw the morning dawn,
    Have thought my day of life must close,
    Ere the first star of evening rose.

    "But now those toils have long been o'er,
    And Plenty spreads from shore to shore;
    While Peace and Freedom join to sing
    The praises of our heavenly King.
    And long his eye has sweetly slept,
    Who then in lonely sorrow wept,
    And bowed with years beneath the stroke,
    When his last earthly prop was broke,
    And his fair son, upon the plain,
    Lay pale, and numbered with the slain.
    The widow too, has made her bed
    Low as her soldier's when he bled,
    And waning life could only spare
    A breath to waft the soldier's prayer,
    'Receive, O God, my soul—and bless
    The widow and the fatherless!'

    "And now, the dimpled babe that smiled,
    When the armed warrior clasped his child;
    And felt a father's parting kiss
    Distend his little heart with bliss;
    Nor knew that parting kiss must sever
    His father's face from his for ever;
    That infant's face is altered now,
    Life's Autumn rays are on his brow.
    While bending o'er the grave I stand
    Waiting a few last grains of sand,
    To drop my clay beneath the sod
    And give my spirit back to God.

    "No glittering wealth that stored the mine,
    Will at thy father's death be thine.
    The scanty portion earth bestows
    Just lasts me to my journey's close!
    But then, I feel I leave thee more
    Than sparkling gems, or dazzling ore;
    Thy heritage is worth them all—
    Thy lines in pleasant places fall,
    Thou hast the land of liberty,
    Which I have fought to win for thee.
    O, keep the dear bequest I make
    Unsullied, for my memory's sake!
    Let no usurping tyrant tread
    Upon my low and peaceful bed—
    No cringing slave retire to weep
    For freedom, where my ashes sleep.
    But when the hand of Time shall trace
    His name in furrows on thy face;
    When four-score years have plucked thy hair,
    And bowed thy form their weight to bear;
    When thou the minute hand shalt see
    Pointing thy feet to follow me,
    To God, and to thy country true,
    Then, for a heavenly home in view,
    Thou to thy son this land resign
    As blessed and free, as I to mine."

  6. The Veteran and the Child

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    'Come, grandfather, show how you carried your gun
    To the field, where Amcrica's freedom was won,
    Or bore your old sword, which you say was new then,
    When you rose to command, and led forward your men;
    And tell how you felt with the balls whizzing by,
    Where the wounded fell round you, to bleed and to die!'

    The prattler had stirred, in the veteran's breast,
    The embers of fire that had long been at rest.
    The blood of his youth rushed anew through his veins;
    The soldier returned to his weary campaigns;
    His perilous battles at once fighting o'er,
    While the soul of nineteen lit the eye of four-score.

    "I carried my musket, as one that must be
    But loosed from the hold of the dead, or the free!
    And fearless I lifted my good, trusty sword,
    In the hand of a mortal, the strength of the Lord!
    In battle, my vital flame freely, I felt
    Should go, but the chains of my country to melt!"

    "I sprinkled my blood upon Lexington's sod,
    And Charlestown's green height to the war-drum I trod.
    From the fort, on the Hudson, our guns I depressed,
    The proud coming sail of the foe to arrest.
    I stood at Stillwater, the Lakes, and White Plains,
    And offered for freedom to empty my veins!"

    "Dost now ask me, child, since thou hear'st where I ve been,
    Why my brow is so furrowed, my locks white and thin—
    Why this faded eye cannot go by the line,
    Trace out little beauties, and sparkle like thine;
    Or why so unstable his tremulous knee,
    Who bore 'sixty years since,' such perils for thee?"

    "What! sobbing so quick? are the tears going to start?
    Come! lean thy young head on thy grandfather's heart!
    It has not much longer to glow with the joy
    I feel thus to clasp thee, so noble a boy!
    But when in earth's bosom it long has been cold,
    A man, thou 'lt recall, what, a babe, thou art told."

  7. The Grave and the Tree

    by Arthur Weir

    Of double depth they made her grave,
    And covered it with massive stone,
    And there, where silvery birches wave,
    They left her sleeping all alone.

    These words were chiselled on her tomb:
    "This grave, bought for eternity,
    Even to and through the day of doom,
    And ever, shall unopened be."

    For years the passing stranger saw
    The epitaph of Caroline,
    And wondered, with a shuddering awe,
    That it could dare the wrath divine.

    Time is of God. He does not need
    To work his purpose in an hour:
    Years came and went, and then a seed,
    Borne downwards by a summer shower,

    Fell gently on the scanty earth,
    Among the heaped-up stones that lay,
    And soon a tiny birch had birth,
    And grew in stature day by day.

    The sun, the shower, the passing wind,
    All helped the youthful tree to grow;
    Its little roots ran far to find
    Subsistence in the depths below.

    Years passed, until at last the tree
    Sundered the stones, and made the grave
    Yawn wide, that hoped eternally
    The ravages of Time to brave.

    Vain was the exercise of skill
    To seal the grave of Caroline;
    And vain is every human will
    That strives to break the law divine.

  8. Why the Dog's Nose Is Always Cold

    by Anonymous

    What makes the dog's nose always cold?
    I'll try to tell you, Curls of Gold,
    If you will good and quiet be,
    And come and stand by mamma's knee.
    Well, years and years and years ago—
    How many I don't really know—
    There came a rain on sea and shore,
    Its like was never seen before
    Or since. It fell unceasing down,
    Till all the world began to drown;
    But just before it began to pour,
    An old, old man—his name was Noah—
    Built him an Ark, that he might save
    His family from a wat'ry grave;
    And in it also he designed
    To shelter two of every kind
    Of beast. Well, dear, when it was done,
    And heavy clouds obscured the sun,
    The Noah folks to it quickly ran,
    And then the animals began
    To gravely march along in pairs;
    The leopards, tigers, wolves and bears,
    The deer, the hippopotamuses,
    The rabbits, squirrels, elks, walruses,
    The camels, goats, cats and donkeys,
    The tall giraffes, the beavers, monkeys,
    The rats, the big rhinoceroses,
    The dromedaries and the horses,
    The sheep, and mice and kangaroos,
    Hyenas, elephants, koodoos,
    And hundreds more—'twould take all day,
    My dear, so many names to say—
    And at the very, very end
    Of the procession, by his friend
    And master, faithful dog was seen;
    The livelong time he'd helping been,
    To drive the crowd of creatures in;
    And now, with loud, exultant bark,
    He gaily sprang abroad the Ark.
    Alas! so crowded was the space
    He could not in it find a place;
    So, patiently, he turned about,
    Stood half way in, half way out,
    And those extremely heavy showers
    Descended through nine hundred hours
    And more; and, darling, at the close,
    'Most frozen was his honest nose;
    And never could it lose again
    The dampness of that dreadful rain.
    And that is what, my Curls of Gold,
    Made all the doggies' noses cold.

  9. The Wife

    by John Charles McNeill

    They locked him in a prison cell,
    Murky and mean.
    She kissed him there a wife's farewell
    The bars between.
    And when she turned to go, the crowd,
    Thinking to see her shamed and bowed,
    Saw her pass out as calm and proud
    As any queen.

    She passed a kinsman on the street,
    To whose sad eyes
    She made reply with smile as sweet
    As April skies.
    To one who loved her once and knew
    The sorrow of her life, she threw
    A gay word, ere his tale was due
    Of sympathies.

    She met a playmate, whose red rose
    Had never a thorn,
    Whom fortune guided when she chose
    Her marriage morn,
    And, smiling, looked her in the eye;
    But, seeing the tears of sympathy,
    Her smile died, and she passed on by
    In quiet scorn.

    They could not know how, when by night
    The city slept,
    A sleepless woman, still and white,
    The watches kept;
    How her wife-loyal heart had borne
    The keen pain of a flowerless thorn,
    How hot the tears that smiles and scorn
    Had held unwept.

  10. Mine

    by Amos Russel Wells

    "Old man," the captain blustered,
    In haste to meet the foe,
    "My troops are seeking forage;
    Come! show us where to go."

    A mile he led them onward,
    To where, in beauty spread,
    They saw a field of barley,
    "The very thing!" they said.

    "Not here!" the old man urged them;
    "Have patience for a while."
    And sturdily he led them
    Another weary mile.

    The barley fleld he showed them
    They speedily despoiled;
    Ah, little need of reapers,
    Where such a troop has tolled!

    But "Fie on all this pother!"
    The angry captain cursed;
    "Old man, this second barley
    Is poorer than the first."

    "Perhaps," the good man answered,
    "It may not be so fine;
    But that field is another's
    And this field, sir, is mine."

  11. The Mocking-Bird and the Donkey

    by William Cullen Bryant. From the Spanish of the Mexican poet José Rosas.

    A mock-bird in a village
    Had somehow gained the skill
    To imitate the voices
    Of animals at will.

    And singing in his prison,
    Once, at the close of day,
    He gave, with great precision,
    The donkey's heavy bray.

    Well pleased, the mock-bird's master
    Sent to the neighbors 'round,
    And bade them come together
    To hear that curious sound.

    They came, and all were talking
    In praise of what they heard,
    And one delighted lady
    Would fain have bought the bird.

    A donkey listened sadly,
    And said: "Confess I must
    That these are shallow people,
    And terribly unjust.

    "I'm bigger than the mock-bird,
    And better bray than he,
    Yet not a soul has uttered
    A word in praise of me."

  12. All Have Work to Do

    by R. P. S.

    A child went wandering through a wood
    Upon a summer day;
    She hoped to meet some pretty thing
    To join her in her play.

    The cloudless sky above was blue,
    The grass beneath was green,
    And all around were lovely flowers,
    The brightest ever seen.

    A honey-bee went humming by—
    “Stay, little bee!” she cried,
    “Oh, do come back and play with me.”
    And thus the bee replied:

    “I cannot stay, I must away,
    And gather in my store,
    For winter drear will soon be here,
    When I can work no more.”

    She heard a pigeon cooing soft
    High in the bough above—
    “Come down, and play a while with me,
    My pretty, gentle dove.”

    “I cannot come and play with thee,
    For I must guard my nest,
    And keep my sleeping children war
    Beneath my downy breast."

    She saw a squirrel gathering nuts
    Upon a tall beech tree—
    “I love to see you bound and leap;
    Come down and play with me.”

    “I dare not play, I must away,
    And quickly homeward hie;
    Were I to stay, my little ones
    For want of food must die.”

    She came unto a stream that leaped
    Between its rocky banks—
    “Stay, pretty stream, and play with me,
    And you shall have my thanks.”

    The stream replied, while in the pool
    A moment it stood still,
    “I cannot play, I must away
    And drive the village mill.”

    The child sat down upon a stone,
    And hung her little head:
    She wept a while, and sobbed a while,
    Then to herself she said:
    “The stream, the squirrel, dove and bee
    Have all got work to do;
    I must not play my hours away—
    I must be busy too.”