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The Good Old Days

Poems About "The Good Old Days" and a Simpler Time

Table of Contents

  1. The Old Country Store by Ed Blair
  2. The Old Oaken Bucket by Samuel Woodworth
  3. The Family Doctor by Edgar A. Guest
  4. Old-Fashioned Letters by Edgar A. Guest
  5. A Time to Talk by Robert Frost
  6. The Milkman by Christopher Morley
  7. The Furnace by Christopher Morley
  8. The Country Schoolhouse by Edwin L. Sabin
  9. Song of the School Bell by John Edward Everett
  10. Bringing Home the Cows by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts
  11. The Homestead by M. P. A. Crozier
  12. Living on a Farm by Anonymous
  13. Winters on the Farm by Freeman E. Miller
  14. The Old Farm by O. Henry
  15. The Old Barn by Madison Cawein
  16. The Stack Behind the Barn by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts
  17. The Old Homestead by William Henry Venable
  18. The Old Fire-Place by John S. Mohler
  19. The Old-Time Fire by Samuel Harden
  20. The Old Dutch Oven by Arthur Chapman
  21. The Old Hickory Wood by Evander A. Crewson
  22. The Old Cane Mill by Nellie Gregg Tomlinson
  23. The Old Grist-Mill by Richard Henry Stoddard
  24. The Old Mill by the River by Isaac McLellan
  25. "The Mill in the Forest" by Douglas Malloch
  26. The Saw-mill on the Connecticut by Grace Hazard Conkling
  27. The Old Cider Press by Robert McIntyre
  28. The Old Cider Mill by James Arthur Lodge
  29. Keepsake Mill by Robert Louis Stevenson
  30. The Old Covered Bridge by Lewis Lamar
  31. The Old Covered Bridge by Richard Lee Dawson
  32. The Prairie-Schooner by Carl Holliday
  33. The Old Sheep Wagon by Arthur Chapman
  34. The Old Log Church by Lizzie F. Baldy
  35. The Village Blacksmith by Anna Marie Neis
  36. The Shoeing Forge by J. R. Eastwood
  37. The Stake and Rider Fence by W. E. Hutchinson
  38. Sleighing by Helen Lee Carey
  39. Country Sleighing by Edmund Clarence Stedman
  40. "Sugaring Off" by Hattie Howard
  41. The Old Sugar Camp by Helen M. Johnson
  42. The Sugar Camp by Robert McIntyre
  43. Sugaring by Raymond Holden
  44. The Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving by Edgar Albert Guest
  45. Spinning Tow by Ellen P. Allerton
  46. My Mother's Wheel by Ellen P. Allerton
  47. The Old Flax-Wheel by Virgil Viraldini Twitchell
  48. The Old Wooden Tub by Edgar A. Guest
  49. Knitting by Ellen P. Allerton
  50. The Sewing Circle by Evander A. Crewson
  51. The Basket Weaver by Douglas Malloch
  52. First of May by Nicholas Lester
  53. The Cabin in the Clearing by Benjamin S. Parker
  54. The Cabin Days of Kansas by Ed Blair
  55. Good Old Days by Floyd D. Raze
  56. The Kansas That Was by Albert Stroud
  57. The Man With the Axe by Horace Dumont Herr
  58. The Good Old Ways by Ellwood Roberts
  59. The Farmhouse Garret by Ellwood Roberts
  60. The Village May-Day by J. R. Eastwood
  61. The Village Wedding by J. R. Eastwood
  62. Thanksgiving by J. R. Eastwood
  63. The Shoemaker by Evander A. Crewson
  64. The Passenger Pigeons by Douglas Malloch
  65. The Old Brush Heap by James Russel Price
  66. Things Olden by Helen Smales
  67. The Old Apple Tree by Henry Harvey Fuson

Poems About Life in the Good Old Days

  1. 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.

  2. The Old Oaken Bucket

    by Samuel Woodworth

    How dear to this heart are the scenes of my childhood,
    When fond recollection presents them to view!
    The orchard, the meadow, the deep-tangled wild-wood,
    And every loved spot which my infancy knew!
    The wide-spreading pond, and the mill that stood by it,
    The bridge, and the rock where the cataract fell,
    The cot of my father, the dairy-house nigh it,
    And e'en the rude bucket that hung in the well―
    The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket,
    The moss-covered bucket which hung in the well.

    That moss-covered vessel I hailed as a treasure,
    For often at noon, when returned from the field,
    I found it the source of an exquisite pleasure,
    The purest and sweetest that nature can yield.
    How ardent I seized it, with hands that were glowing,
    And quick to the white-pebbled bottom it fell;
    Then soon, with the emblem of truth overflowing,
    And dripping with coolness, it rose from the well―
    The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket,
    The moss-covered bucket arose from the well.

    How sweet from the green mossy brim to receive it
    As poised on the curb it inclined to my lips!
    Not a full blushing goblet could tempt me to leave it,
    The brightest that beauty or revelry sips.
    And now, far removed from the loved habitation,
    The tear of regret will intrusively swell.
    As fancy reverts to my father's plantation,
    And sighs for the bucket that hangs in the well―
    The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket,
    The moss-covered bucket that hangs in the well!

  3. The Family Doctor

    by Edgar A. Guest

    I've tried the high-toned specialists, who doctor folks to-day;
    I've heard the throat man whisper low "Come on now let us spray";
    I've sat in fancy offices and waited long my turn,
    And paid for fifteen minutes what it took a week to earn;
    But while these scientific men are kindly, one and all,
    I miss the good old doctor that my mother used to call.

    The old-time family doctor! Oh, I am sorry that he's gone,
    He ushered us into the world and knew us every one;
    He didn't have to ask a lot of questions, for he knew
    Our histories from birth and all the ailments we'd been through.
    And though as children small we feared the medicines he'd send,
    The old-time family doctor grew to be our dearest friend.

    No hour too late, no night too rough for him to heed our call;
    He knew exactly where to hang his coat up in the hall;
    He knew exactly where to go, which room upstairs to find
    The patient he'd been called to see, and saying: "Never mind,
    I'll run up there myself and see what's causing all the fuss."
    It seems we grew to look and lean on him as one of us.

    He had a big and kindly heart, a fine and tender way,
    And more than once I've wished that I could call him in to-day.
    The specialists are clever men and busy men, I know,
    And haven't time to doctor as they did long years ago;
    But some day he may come again, the friend that we can call,
    The good old family doctor who will love us one and all.

  4. Old-Fashioned Letters

    by Edgar A. Guest

    Old-fashioned letters! How good they were!
    And nobody writes them now;
    Never at all comes in the scrawl
    On the written pages which told us all
    The news of town and the folks we knew,
    And what they had done or were going to do.
    It seems we've forgotten how
    To spend an hour with our pen in hand
    To write in the language we understand.

    Old-fashioned letters we used to get
    And ponder each fond line o'er;
    The glad words rolled like running gold,
    As smoothly their tales of joy they told,
    And our hearts beat fast with a keen delight
    As we read the news they were pleased to write
    And gathered the love they bore.
    But few of the letters that come to-day
    Are penned to us in the old-time way.

    Old-fashioned letters that told us all
    The tales of the far away;
    Where they'd been and the folks they'd seen;
    And better than any fine magazine
    Was the writing too, for it bore the style
    Of a simple heart and a sunny smile,
    And was pure as the breath of May.
    Some of them oft were damp with tears,
    But those were the letters that lived for years.

    Old-fashioned letters! How good they were!
    And, oh, how we watched the mails;
    But nobody writes of the quaint delights
    Of the sunny days and the merry nights
    Or tells us the things that we yearn to know—
    That art passed out with the long ago,
    And lost are the simple tales;
    Yet we all would happier be, I think,
    If we'd spend more time with our pen and ink.

  5. A Time to Talk

    by Robert Frost

    When a friend calls to me from the road
    And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
    I don’t stand still and look around
    On all the hills I haven’t hoed,
    And shout from where I am, What is it?
    No, not as there is a time to talk.
    I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
    Blade-end up and five feet tall,
    And plod: I go up to the stone wall
    For a friendly visit.

  6. The Milkman

    by Christopher Morley

    Early in the morning, when the dawn is on the roofs,
    You hear his wheels come rolling, you hear his horse's hoofs;
    You hear the bottles clinking, and then he drives away:
    You yawn in bed, turn over, and begin another day!

    The old-time dairy maids are dear to every poet's heart—
    I'd rather be the dairy man and drive a little cart,
    And bustle round the village in the early morning blue,
    And hang my reins upon a hook, as I've seen Casey do.

  7. The Furnace

    by Christopher Morley

    At night I opened
    The furnace door:
    The warm glow brightened
    The cellar floor.

    The fire that sparkled
    Blue and red,
    Kept small toes cosy
    In their bed.

    As up the stair
    So late I stole,
    I said my prayer:
    Thank God for coal!

  8. The Country Schoolhouse

    by Edwin L. Sabin

    The little country schoolhouse—you
    Remember it; of course you do!
    Within the angle snugly set,
    Where two long yellow highways met,
    And saplings planted here and there
    About the yard, and boxed with care
    As if to typify, in turn,
    The youngsters caught and caged, to learn.

    Around, the rolling pastures spread,
    With woodland patches garlanded,
    From which the breezes gladly bore
    Sly invitations to the door.
    Across the sills the bees' soft hum
    Was mingled with the muttered sum,
    And from their covert in the vale
    In plaintive pleading piped the quail.

    With basket and with pail equipped,
    Clear-eyed, tan-cheeked and berry-lipped,
    Athwart the pastures, down the road,
    They trudged to learning's poor abode;
    The pink sunbonnet, broad-brimmed straw;
    The bare brown feet that knew no law
    Of fashion's last; the bundled forms
    That laughed aloud at cold and storms.

    What tales the scarred desks might relate
    Of triumphs gained with book and slate!
    What lore the clapboards loose possess
    Of feats at noontime and recess!
    And doomed how oft the panes to see,
    Back up the road, and o'er the lea,
    Haste boy and girl, new worlds to find,
    The little schoolhouse left behind.

    O little country school! In vain
    May critics hold you in disdain.
    The greatest lessons that you taught
    Were not by chalk and pencil wrought.
    As oped your door on fields and sky,
    So, likewise just as wide and high,
    You opened to the eyes of youth
    The principles of love and truth.

  9. Song of the School Bell

    by John Edward Everett

    Kind neighbors, you and I are friends.
    And toiling for the selfsame ends,
    To help the children wiser grow,
    And teach them what they ought to know.

    Day after day, the winter through,
    I guard your sons and daughters true.
    Each day at nine I say, "hello",
    To the youthful world of joy and woe.
    Each day at nine are loudly sung
    Clear greetings from my iron tongue,
    While children rush with romp and race,
    As though to meet my fond embrace.
    Then through the hours they ply the mind
    To see what knowledge they may find—
    Sometimes with smile and radiant eye,
    Sometimes with frown and inward sigh.
    'Tis now with bright, now downcast, looks
    They bend their heads above their books.

    Kind neighbors, you and I are friends.
    And toiling for the selfsame ends,—
    To help the children wiser grow,
    And teach them what they ought to know.

  10. Bringing Home the Cows

    by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

    When potatoes were in blossom,
    When the new hay filled the mows,
    Sweet the paths we trod together,
    Bringing home the cows.

    What a purple kissed the pasture,
    Kissed and blessed the alder-boughs,
    As we wandered slow at sundown,
    Bringing home the cows!

    How the far-off hills were gilded
    With the light that dream allows.
    As we built our hopes beyond them,
    Bringing home the cows!

    How our eyes were bright with visions,
    What a meaning wreathed our brows,
    As we watched the cranes, and lingered,
    Bringing home the cows!

    Past the years, and through the distance,
    Throbs the memory of our vows.
    Oh, that we again were children,
    Bringing home the cows!

  11. The Homestead

    by M. P. A. Crozier

    The years, like humming birds,
    Just poised a moment on the wing,
    To sip the nectar from the cup
    Of life's sweet offering;

    The homestead's old familiar halls,
    The grassy meadow where I played,
    The orchard with its melting fruit,
    And soft refreshing shade;

    The blacksmith-shop where, all day long,
    My noble father toiled and sang,
    Where in the morning and at eve,
    The music of the anvil rang;

    The garden with its spreading vines,
    Its roses and its daffodils;
    The dark old forest in the east;
    Beyond the heaven-aspiring hills.

  12. Living on a Farm

    by Anonymous

    How brightly through the mist of years,
    My quiet country home appears!
    My father busy all the day
    In plowing corn or raking hay;
    My mother moving with delight
    Among the milk pans, silver-bright;
    We children, just from school set free,
    Filling the garden with our glee.
    The blood of life was flowing warm
    When I was living on a farm.

    I hear the sweet churchgoing bell,
    As o'er the fields its music fell,
    I see the country neighbors round
    Gathering beneath the pleasant sound;
    They stop awhile beside the door,
    To talk their homely matters o'er
    The springing corn, the ripening grain,
    And "how we need a little rain;"
    "A little sun would do no harm,
    We want good weather for the farm."

    When autumn came, what joy to see
    The gathering of the husking bee,
    To hear the voices keeping tune,
    Of girls and boys beneath the moon,
    To mark the golden corn ears bright,
    More golden in the yellow light!
    Since I have learned the ways of men,
    I often turn to these again,
    And feel life wore its highest charm.
    When I was living on the farm.

  13. Winters on the Farm

    by Freeman E. Miller

    Glad winters on the olden farm!
    How raptures from those early times
    Commingle into fairy chimes
    Which gently banish cries of harm!
    My fainting soul finds rest the whiles
    Within the arms of memory,
    And tender scenes of boyish glee
    Transform my sorrows into smiles.

    How brightly beamed the pleasures then,
    When frigid fingers came to throw
    A wintry winding sheet of snow
    Around the silent homes of men!
    But happiness found no alarm,
    For safe with cheer, secure with love,
    She gladly grew and sweetly throve
    Through winters on the olden farm.

    With merry bells and busy sleighs,
    That sung and flew o'er icy vales
    And climbed the hills as fleet as gales,
    Like singing phantoms died the days;
    Or then with coat and muffler warm
    Sweet children glided on the lake,
    Or chased the rabbit through the brake,
    In winters on the olden farm.

    How glad the joys at eventide
    When 'round the hearth-stone's pleasant heat
    The simple song in music sweet
    From loving voices floated wide!
    The mellowed apples gave a charm,
    While pop-corn white and cider bright
    With worlds of laughter lent delight
    To winters on the olden farm.

    Thrice happy nights and happy days,
    Sweet isles of pleasure in the past,
    May long your hallowed moments cast
    A sacred sunshine o'er my ways!
    And where life leads me, gladly arm
    My soul with angel songs of bliss,
    With true embrace and holy kiss,
    O, winters on the olden farm!

  14. The Old Farm

    by O. Henry

    Just now when the whitening blossoms flare
    On the apple trees and the growing grass
    Creeps forth, and a balm is in the air;
    With my lighted pipe and well-filled glass
    Of the old farm I am dreaming,
    And softly smiling, seeming
    To see the bright sun beaming
    Upon the old home farm.

    And when I think how we milked the cows,
    And hauled the hay from the meadows low;
    And walked the furrows behind the plows,
    And chopped the cotton to make it grow
    I'd much rather be here dreaming
    And smiling, only seeming
    To see the hot sun gleaming
    Upon the old home farm.

  15. The Old Barn

    by Madison Cawein

    Low, swallow-swept and gray,
    Between the orchard and the spring,
    All its wide windows overflowing hay,
    And crannied doors a-swing,
    The old barn stands to-day.

    Deep in its hay the Leghorn hides
    A round white nest; and, humming soft
    On roof and rafter, or its log-rude sides,
    Black in the sun-shot loft,
    The building hornet glides.

    Along its corn-crib, cautiously
    As thieving fingers, skulks the rat;
    Or in warped stalls of fragrant timothy,
    Gnaws at some loosened slat,
    Or passes shadowy.

    A dream of drouth made audible
    Before its door, hot, smooth, and shrill
    All day the locust sings… What other spell
    Shall hold it, lazier still
    Than the long day's, now tell:—

    Dusk and the cricket and the strain
    Of tree-toad and of frog; and stars
    That burn above the rich west's ribbéd stain;
    And dropping pasture bars,
    And cow-bells up the lane.

    Night and the moon and katydid,
    And leaf-lisp of the wind-touched boughs;
    And mazy shadows that the fireflies thrid;
    And sweet breath of the cows,
    And the lone owl here hid.

  16. The Stack Behind the Barn

    by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

    September is here, with the ripened seeds,
    And the homely smell of the autumn weeds,
    My heart goes back to a vanished day,
    And I am again a boy at play
    In the stack behind the barn.

    Dear memory of the old home-farm,—
    The hedge-rows fencing the crops from harm,
    The cows, too heavy with milk for haste,
    The barn-yard, yellow with harvest waste,
    And the stack behind the barn.

    Dear, dear, dear the old garden-smell,
    Sweet William and phlox that I loved so well,
    And the seeding mint, and the sage turned grey,
    But dearer the smell of the tumbled hay
    In the stack behind the barn.

    In the side of the stack we made our nest,
    And there was the play-house we loved the best.
    A thicket of goldenrod, bending and bright,
    Filled us with glory and hid us from sight
    In the stack behind the barn.

    Then, when the stack, with the year, ran low,
    And our frosty, morning cheeks were aglow,
    When time had forgotten the dropping leaves,
    What joy to drop from the barn's wide eaves
    To the stack behind the barn!

    O childhood years! Your heedless feet
    Have slipped away with how much that's sweet!
    But dreams and memory master you,
    Till the make-believe of Life is through
    I still may play as the children do
    In the stack behind the barn.

  17. The Old Homestead

    by William Henry Venable

    Enshrined among roses
    The Homestead reposes
    With vines mantled o'er;
    Ground-ivy and clover
    Are running all over
    The stone at the door.

    Pinks, lilies, are blowing,
    Blue violets showing
    Gold hearts to the June;
    Bees going and coming
    Keep evermore humming
    Their Hyblean tune.

    'Twas here that I wasted
    Youth's flower and tasted
    Love's first honey-dew;
    A boy here I slumbered,
    By care unencumbered,
    Long, balmy nights through.

    The wood-birds each morning
    Gave musical warning
    For shadows to fly;
    Their rhapsody choral
    Foretold the auroral
    First flush of the sky.

    With rising emotion
    Akin to devotion
    The scene I behold;—
    With fond recollections
    Of tender affections
    Too sweet to be told.

  18. The Old Fire-Place

    by Rev. John S. Mohler

    How sad is the memory of days that are gone
    When parents and children in a circle at home
    Around the Old Fire-place would cheerfully gather,
    Away from the cold and inclemency of weather.

    Around the Old Fire-place mother, all the day long,
    Was toiling, and toiling with cheer and with song
    For father and children preparing them food,
    While nourishing and rearing her innocent brood.

    At evening with treadle she was humming the wheel
    While father was wrapping the yarn from the reel;
    And brothers and sisters were reading their books,
    Or merrily playing in their innocent sports.

    As the embers on the hearth were dying away,
    Our father more fuel would carefully lay,
    Till the Old Fire-place blazed again in a roar,
    Which caused us to widen our circle still more.

    When the toils and the pleasures of evening were o'er,
    We knelt 'round the Fire-place, God's mercy to implore,
    From harm and from evil us safely would keep,
    As defenseless we lay in the silence of sleep.

    As the cold wintery winds were passing away,
    And the gentle breeze sighed through the long summer day,
    And the embers had died on the once blazing hearth,
    Now vocal at evening with the cricket's soft chirp.

    The Old Fire-place scenes, alas, I see them no more,
    For its circle is scattered to far distant shores:
    the wheel and the reel are covered with rust,
    And parents and children are moldering to dust.

    The hearth that once glowed with warmth and with cheer,
    Is forsaken and desolate, cold and drear;
    No prattling of children's sweet voices are there,
    No songs of devotion, thanksgiving, or prayer.

    Just a few broken links of the beautiful chain,
    That bound us together on earth, yet remain;
    But that circle complete I hope I shall view
    In the day when the Lord maketh all things new.

  19. The Old-Time Fire

    by Samuel Harden

    "Talk about yer buildin's
    That's het up by steam―
    Give me the old oak fire
    Where the old folks used to dream.

    "The rickety dog-irons,
    One-sided as could be;
    The ashes banked with 'taters
    That was roastin' there fer me.

    "The dog on one side, drowsin', Or barkin' near the door;
    The kitten cuttin' capers With the knittin' on the floor.

    "An' me a little tow head
    By mammy's side at night;
    With both my cheeks a-burnin'
    From the red flames leapin bright.

    "These steam-het buildin's make me
    Jest weary fer the blaze
    That was heap more comfortable
    In my childhood's nights and days.

    "An I'd give the finest heater
    In the buildin's het by steam
    Fer the old-time chimbley corner
    Where the old folks used to dream."

  20. The Old Dutch Oven

    Arthur Chapman

    Some sigh for cooks of boyhood days, but none of them for me;
    One roundup cook was best of all—'twas with the XBar-T.
    And when we heard the grub-pile call at morning, noon, and night,
    The old Dutch oven never failed to cook the things just right.

    'T was covered o'er with red-hot coals, and when we fetched her out,
    The biscuits there were of the sort no epicure would flout.
    I ain't so strong for boyhood grub, 'cause, summer, spring, or fall,
    The old Dutch oven baked the stuff that tasted best of all.

    Perhaps 't was 'cause our appetites were always mighty sharp—
    The men who ride the cattle range ain't apt to kick or carp;
    But, anyway, I find myself a-dreaming of that bread
    The old Dutch oven baked for us beneath those coals so red.

  21. The Old Hickory Wood Fire

    by Evander A. Crewson

    As I sit by the stove, all polished and nickeled,
    Where a carpet of velvet covers the floor,
    I reckon I ought to feel wonderfully tickled
    While the wind thumps and bangs at the door;
    Yes, ought to feel glad—so much to admire,
    But it all will not cure a longing desire
    A fellow will have for the old hickory fire;
    With its curling and snapping,
    And its whirling and lapping;
    That good old fashioned hickory wood fire.

    Their anthracite coal don't have any snap;
    No bright burning flame up the flue rolls;
    I can't help missing the sweet hickory sap
    Frying out of the fore-stick over the coals;
    These new fangled fires are all very well,
    But one thing I miss, and its easy to tell:
    'Tis the good old fashioned hickory wood smell;
    That old rustic perfume
    Which filled up the room;
    That good old fashioned hickory wood smell.

    How often we'd sit by that wide open fire,
    The wild winds howling and roaring outside;
    The bright hickory flames mounting up higher,
    Beaming on "linsey-woolsey" close to our side.
    Yep, thoughts of it oft' my memory will throng
    As I dream how, with apples and cider and song,
    We'd while away evenings that never seemed long;
    And when the fire burned low,
    How it would tell of the snow
    In the old winter evenings that never seemed long.

    You can take your coal and your natural gas,
    Which the tastes of to-day are made to desire;
    The bright burnished stove in its nickel and brass,
    But give me the old fashioned hickory wood fire;
    Where, with apples and walnuts, before it we'd sit,
    While father would doze and mother would knit,
    And the flames would snap and sparkle and spit;
    But the fire burned low
    In the long, long ago,
    And the ashes of years lie forever on it.

  22. The Old Cane Mill

    by Nellie Gregg Tomlinson

    "What's sorghum?" Don't you know sorghum?
    My gran'son nigh sixteen,
    Don t boys know nothin' nowadays?
    Beats all I ever seen.
    Why sorghum's the bulliest stuff
    Wuz ever made ter eat.
    You spread it thick on homemade bread;
    It's most oncommon sweet.

    "Come from?" Wall yer jist better bet
    It don't come from no can.
    Jus' b'iled down juice from sorghum cane,
    Straight I'way 'lasses bran'.
    "What's cane?" It's some like corn, yer know,
    An' topped with plumes o' seed.
    Grows straight an' tall on yaller clay
    That wouldn't grow a weed.

    Long in September when 'twuz ripe,
    The cane-patch battle field
    Wuz charged by boys with wooden swords,
    Good temper wuz their shield.
    They stripped the stalks of all their leaves,
    Then men, with steel knives keen
    Slashed off the heads and cut the stalks
    An' piled them straight an' clean.

    The tops wuz saved ter feed the hens,
    Likewise fer nex' year's seed.
    The farmer allus has ter save
    Against the futur's need.
    The neighbors cum from miles erbout
    An' fetched the cane ter mill.
    They stacked it high betwixt two trees,
    At Gran'dads, on the hill.

    An' ol' hoss turned the cane mill sweep,
    He led hisself erroun.
    The stalks wuz fed inter the press,
    From them the sap wuz groun'.
    This juice run through a little trough
    Ter pans beneath a shed;
    There it wuz b'iled an' skimmed and b'iled,
    Till it wuz thick an' red.

    Then it wuz cooled an' put in bar'ls
    An' toted off to town
    While us kids got ter lick the pan,
    Which job wuz dun up brown.
    Gee whiz! but we did hev good times
    At taffy pullin' bees.
    We woun' the taffy roun' girls' necks—
    Bob wuz the biggest tease.

    Inside the furnace, on live coals,
    We het cane stalks red hot,
    Then hit 'em hard out on the groun'—
    Yer oughter hear 'em pop!
    Sometimes a barefoot boy would step
    Inter the skimmin's hole,
    Er pinch his fingers in the mill,
    Er fall off from the pole.

    When winter winds went whis'lin' through
    The door an' winder cracks,
    An' piled up snow wuz driftin'
    Till yer couldn't see yer tracks,
    Then we all drawed roun' the table
    An' passed the buckwheat cakes,
    Er mebbe it wuz good corn bread.
    "What's sorghum?" Good lan' sakes.

    Wall, son, yer hev my symperthy;
    Yer've missed a lot, I swan.
    Oh, sure yer dance an' joy-ride
    Frum ev'nin' untel dawn,
    Yer've football, skates an' golf ter he'p
    The passin' time ter kill,
    But give me mem'ry's boyhood days,
    Erroun' the ol' cane mill.

  23. The Old Grist-Mill

    by Richard Henry Stoddard

    Beside the stream the grist-mill stands,
    With bending roof and leaning wall;
    So old, that when the winds are wild,
    The miller trembles lest it fall:
    And yet it baffles wind and rain,
    Our brave old Mill! and will again.

    Its dam is steep, and hung with weeds:
    The gates are up, the waters pour,
    And tread the old wheel’s slippery round,
    The lowest step forevermore.
    Methinks they fume, and chafe with ire,
    Because they cannot climb it higher.

    From morn to night in autumn time,
    When harvests fill the neighboring plains,
    Up to the mill the farmers drive,
    And back anon with loaded wains:
    And when the children come from school
    They stop, and watch its foamy pool.

    The mill inside is small and dark;
    But peeping in the open door
    You see the miller flitting round,
    The dusty bags along the floor,
    The whirling shaft, the clattering spout,
    And the yellow meal a-pouring out!

    All day the meal is floating there,
    Rising and falling in the breeze;
    And when the sunlight strikes its mist
    It glitters like a swarm of bees:
    Or like the cloud of smoke and light
    Above a blacksmith’s forge at night.

    All day the meal is floating there,
    Rising and falling in the breeze;
    And when the sunlight strikes its mist
    It glitters like a swarm of bees:
    Or like the cloud of smoke and light
    Above a blacksmith’s forge at night.

    I stand beside the stream of Life,
    And watch the current sweep along:
    And when the flood-gates of my heart
    Are raised it turns the wheel of Song:
    But scant, as yet, the harvest brought
    From out the golden fields of Thought!

  24. The Old Mill by the River

    by Isaac McLellan

    Here in the years when life was bright
    With dewy mornings and sunset light,
    In the pleasant season of leafy June,
    In each idle, holiday afternoon
    I lov'd to wander with willow wand—
    I lov'd on the river border to stand
    And take the trout or the yellow bream
    That leap'd, that glanc'd athwart the stream.

    With broken window, with hingeless door,
    Thro' which the slanting sunbeams pour;
    With leaning gable, and settling wall,
    O'er which the draperied ivies fall;
    With rafter moldy, worm-eaten beam,
    O'er which the silken cobwebs stream,
    Fast by the river-banks serene
    The old forsaken mill is seen.
    Its roof shows many a chasm and rent,
    Its creaking vane is crack'd and bent,
    In and out the swallows fly
    Under the eaves their dwellings lie.
    The leather-wing'd bats, when day is dim,
    Thro' vacant rooms and granaries skim;
    Its shingles that ages ago were new,
    Splendid with painters' lavish hue,
    Are faded now and swing in the gale,
    Scarce held by the loosen'd rusty nail;
    The clapboards rattle and clank amain
    In gusts of the snow-fall and the rain,
    For the dust of many a lapsing year
    Hath writ its wasteful chronicle here.
    The dam o'er which the waters pour
    Is settling and crumbling by the shore;
    The slippery logs and mossy stone
    Yield to the current one by one;
    And swift thro' many a rent abyss
    The spouting rivulets foam and hiss,
    And soon must the crazy fabric decay,
    And the torrent sweep uncheck'd away.
    The water-wheel so black and vast,
    With beam like a battle-vessel's mast
    That once would churn with mighty sweep
    The boiling waters so dark and deep,
    Lies now a wreck in humbled pride,
    Trembling with each assault of the tide.
    Under the crumbling, blacken'd wheel
    The crystal bubbles circle and reel;
    Over and under the eddies boil
    Round molder'd timber and rotting post;
    In many a circling ripple they coil
    In sudden plunge, in wild turmoil,
    Now seen an instant, then quickly lost.

  25. "The Mill in the Forest"

    by Douglas Malloch

    A rendition in words of the musical idyl by Eilenberg.

    While twittering songsters yet announce the morn
    And all the wood is wondrous calm and still,
    Upon the zephyr tremulous is borne
    The waking rumble of the forest mill.

    The great wheel moves; the foaming waters pour
    On waiting sands in crystal melody;
    The saw's high treble and the pulley's roar
    Are mingled in a song of industry.

    Now through the day the busy millwheel turns;
    And through the day the saw untiring sings,
    Nor rests till red and gold the sunset burns
    And blaze and gilt on all the landscape flings.

    But, as the orb of day slips down the west,
    The waters turn to other ways more still;
    The weary wheel at last subsides to rest
    And peace comes down upon the silent mill.

    A yellow moon arises o'er the trees,
    The little stars, with eyes half-timid, peep;
    Night brings her black and somber tapestries
    And wraps the forest and the mill in sleep.

  26. The Saw-mill on the Connecticut

    by Grace Hazard Conkling

    Where clear the river ponders
    The marshes' slow maroon,
    There floats a leveled forest
    Upon a broad lagoon.

    The bowl of spacious meadow
    Is brimmed with trunks of trees
    And there's a wilding fragrance
    Embroidered on the breeze.

    Along the azure water
    Most patiently they lie,
    And hear the shrieking saw-mill
    And memorize the sky,

    And see the impartial sunlight
    They knew so well of old,
    Turn shavings into satin
    And saw-dust into gold.

    All in the ripe September
    I tried to pass today.
    The smooth road beckoned Follow!
    But the logs whispered . . . Stay!

    And lest alone the tree-folk
    Go sadly to their death,
    I watched the pine surrender
    Its rich and final breath,

    And heard the oak's last murmur
    Where poured its scented dust—
    "I do but travel onward
    As valiant farers must."

  27. The Old Cider Press

    by Robert McIntyre

    O the old Cider Press, how its thin yellow thread
    Runs backward to-night to the days that are dead,
    When it fell from the mill with mellifluous sound,
    Where the apples went in, and the oxen went round!
    O the great honest eyes of the slow-moving steers
    Seem to look at me now, like my own full of tears,
    As I smell the sweet odor, which must be, I guess,
    A breath of the past from the old Cider Press.

    O the old Cider Press on the old orchard hill!
    The brook was the hem and the forest the frill
    Of that outskirt of Eden we called the "old farm,"
    Where all knew the Lord and took hold of his arm.

  28. The Old Cider Mill

    by James Arthur Lodge

    If I could be a boy again
    For fifteen minutes, or even ten,
    I'd make a bee-line for that old mill,
    Hidden by tangled vines down by the rill;
    Where the apples were piled in heaps all 'round,
    Red, streaked and yellow all over the ground;
    And the old sleepy horse goes round and round
    And turns the wheels while the apples are ground.

    Straight for that cider mill I'd start,
    With light bare feet and lighter heart,
    A smiling face, a big straw hat,
    Hum-made breeches and all o' that.
    And when I got there I would just take a peep,
    To see if old cider mill John was asleep,
    And if he was I'd go snooking round
    'Till a great big round rye straw I'd found;
    I'd straddle a barrel and quick begin
    To fill with cider right up to my chin.

    As old as I am, I can shut my eyes
    And see the yellow jackets, bees and flies
    A-swarming 'round the juicy cheese
    And bung-holes; drinking as much as they please.
    I can see the clear sweet cider flow
    From the press above to the tub below,
    And a'steaming up into my old nose
    Comes the smell that only a cider mill knows.

    You may talk about your fine old Crow,
    Your champagne, sherry, and so and so,
    But of all the drinks of press or still,
    Give me the juice of that old cider mill.
    A small boy's energy and suction power
    For just ten minutes or quarter of an hour,
    And the happiest boy you ever saw
    You'd find at the end of that rye straw,
    And I'll forego forevermore
    All liquors known on this earthly shore.

  29. Keepsake Mill

    by Robert Louis Stevenson

    Over the borders, a sin without pardon,
    Breaking the branches and crawling below,
    Out through the breach in the wall of the garden,
    Down by the banks of the river, we go.

    Here is the mill with the humming of thunder,
    Here is the weir with the wonder of foam,
    Here is the sluice with the race running under—
    Marvellous places, though handy to home!

    Sounds of the village grow stiller and stiller,
    Stiller the note of the birds on the hill;
    Dusty and dim are the eyes of the miller,
    Deaf are his ears with the moil of the mill.

    Years may go by, and the wheel in the river
    Wheel as it wheels for us, children, to-day,
    Wheel and keep roaring and foaming for ever
    Long after all of the boys are away.

    Home from the Indies and home from the ocean,
    Heroes and soldiers we all shall come home;
    Still we shall find the old mill wheel in motion,
    Turning and churning that river to foam.

    You with the bean that I gave when we quarrelled,
    I with your marble of Saturday last,
    Honoured and old and all gaily apparelled,
    Here we shall meet and remember the past.

  30. The Old Covered Bridge

    by Lewis Lamar


    The covered bridge is travel-worn
    By massive loads across it borne,
    Its sidings once were new and fair,
    But time has wrought its mischief there.
    The oaken floor on duty there,
    A story tells of age and wear;
    Its sill is patched, and here and there
    Are seen rude traces of repair.

    Those rudely cut, initials show
    The rustic hand of years ago.
    In cuts and crayons intertwined,
    And diagrams the oddest kind
    On frame and gabe' and everywhere
    Are seen the marks of age and wear;
    And on its ragged hulk appears
    The gathered dust of many years.

    Its high and handy walls afford
    A ready advertising board,
    And gaudy bills are posted thickly
    To fool the green and fleece the sickly;
    There quack'ry makes a great display,
    It don't "verstehen," but quacks away,
    Unblushingly, for gain and pay,
    And busily barters life away.

    How merrily the light and gay
    Have tripped across it tunnel way,
    And loving once have lingered there,
    Perchance the envied kiss to share.
    And little feet have pattered through
    This bridge so trusty aud so true;
    The halt and blind, oppressed and poor
    Have freely crossed its dusty floor.

    This bridge has seen year after year
    The emerald hue of spring appear,
    And summer full of life and cheer,
    As well as autumn, brown and sere:

  31. The Old Covered Bridge

    by Richard Lee Dawson

    O the old covered bridge! sixty years it has stood
    Like a mother to nourish the town's babyhood
    With the current of life that unceasingly flowed
    Thro' its tunnel along the old National road,
    And its moss-covered walls still triumphantly loom,
    With their history hidden in cobwebs and gloom,
    Like a grim silent sphinx with the future in view,
    Or Colossus that spans the old times and the new.

    O the old covered bridge! how the years whirl around
    As I see it once more, and my life is unwound,
    With its burdens and sorrows laid by, and I seem
    To be standing again in the sweet happy dream
    Of my childhood and watching with innocent glee
    The birds and the waters that talked there with me,
    While the trees were live giants and I but a midge,
    As I lolled on the banks by the old covered bridge.

    O the old covered bridge! how I wondered and feared
    As far, far through its narrow foot-passage I peered,
    And fancied it led to the end of the world
    Or some dim distant country in mystery whirled,
    And I climbed to the rail and gazed dizzily down
    At the current with wrinkles of yellow and brown,
    And I lingered till terror of dusk made me fly
    And with tears bid the bridge and the river good-by

    O the old covered bridge! may it never decay;
    May the march of the ages just wear it away,
    For it marks the proud growth of a city in fame
    And the third generation still finds it the same;
    And if ever a flood of the future uprears
    To tear the old structure by force from its piers
    May my spirit be with it and, perched on its ridge,
    Sail away into space with the old covered bridge!

  32. The Prairie-Schooner

    Carl Holliday

    All day the creeping caravan
    Wound on its serpent-trailing way;
    A thousand miles of wind-swept tan,
    A thousand miles of cloudless gray.

    Beneath the quivering summer-heat
    The prairie-schooner creaked afar;
    Some day, some time, the trail would meet
    The Setting Sun, the Golden Bar.

    The course is done; the servant old
    Long stood in shivering rags, and gazed
    Upon the mansions built of gold;
    All wondering, by their splendor dazed.

    The course is done; yet on and on
    Beyond Time's wavering shadow-line
    The prairie-schooner long has gone,
    Forsaken, lost, with ne'er a shrine.

  33. The Old Sheep Wagon

    Arthur Chapman

    I have heard men long for a palace, but I want no such abode,
    For wealth is a source of trouble, and a jeweled crown is a load;
    I'11 take my home in the open, with a mixture of sun and rain—
    Just give me my old sheep wagon, on the boundless Wyoming plain.

    With the calling sheep around me, and my collie's head on my knees,
    I float my cigarette smoke on the sage-scented prairie breeze;
    And at night, when the band is bedded, I creep, like a tired child,
    To my tarp, in the friendly wagon, alone on the sheep range wild.

    Music and art I am missing?—but what great symphony
    Can equal the harps of nature that are twanged by the plains-wind free?
    And where is the master of color to match, though for years he tried,
    The purples that veil yon mesa, at the hour of eventide?

    I have had my fill of mankind, and my dog is my only friend,
    So I'm waiting, here in the sagebrush, for the judgment the Lord may send;
    They'll find me dead in my wagon, out here on the hilltops brown,
    But I reckon I'11 die as easy as I would in a bed in town!

  34. The Old Log Church

    by Lizzie F. Baldy

    In the primitive days that have long past away,
    When the sun shone as brightly as sun shines to-day,
    Here the old church was built, and the settlement small
    Held the stanch frontier heart, that would answer the call
    To the volunteer ranks, when the foeman was near.
    Leaping into their saddles as swift as the deer,
    Pursuing the red warrior o'er plateau and dale,
    Until night threw around them her dark star-gemmed vail,
    Like a benison of peace bringing rest everywhere,
    While the worshippers knelt in their quaint church of prayer.

    Old Time holds his scepter, and beneath his stern sway
    A city looms up in her stately array;
    New churches have taken the place of the old,
    New worshipers worship within the new fold,
    Whose spires point to heaven; here the rich and the gay
    Kneel low at their altars: do they all kneel to pray
    With the reverence for God marking all of their moods,
    As when the old church stood mid nature's solitudes;
    When the faith of the people had hallowed the sod,
    And they raised this rude temple to worship their God?

    No fine garb of fashion, no carpeted aisles;
    No cloak of vast riches, from which guilt oft smiles;
    No soft cushioned pews in which sinners may rest,
    Unheeding the future in the present's bequest;
    No grand organ music, no fashionable choir,
    But they sang the old tunes with a heartfelt desire.
    The swift flowing river rolling down to the sea
    Oft caught up the refrain in her wild minstrelsy;
    And the wide answering paean went up on high,
    Till the echo hath flown like birds to the sky.
    The church is still there and the river flows on,
    But the people who built it. Oh! where have they gone?

    Many bridges hang over the river's dark wave,
    Progress laughs at the failures she hides in the grave;
    Her bidding the iron horse obeys with a bound,
    His track like a girdle spans the continent round;
    The lightning of heaven flashing o'er the wire,
    Brings the news of a people as a single desire.
    And here Commerce, twin sister, asserts her bold sway,
    While success crowns her efforts with laurels each day,
    But the little log church stands deserted, alone,
    Like some ancient relic whose daytime hath flown.

    Oh! church as you stand in your loneliness now,
    Hath the dark hand of death pressed each worshiper's brow?
    Did the sunlight of peace shine with joy on each face,
    As they knelt round thy altar to ask for His grace?
    Our God sends his blessing in hamlet and hall,
    He sees not their riches, but heeds each low call;
    The church may be humble, or stately and grand,
    The last to be built, or the first in the land.
    The old log church may crumble to dust bye-and-bye,
    But God keeps the record of each up on high.

  35. The Village Blacksmith

    by Anna Marie Neis

    Ho! the village blacksmith,
    All the live-long day,
    The ringing of his anvil,
    Wears many hours away.

    How manfully he lifts his arm,
    And strikes the heavy blow,
    The hammer beating perfect time,
    As he swings it to and fro.

    Listen to the anvil!
    The sound is very dear,
    As across the little park,
    It rings out loud and clear.

    'Tis the only chiming sound,
    That keeps the village stirring,
    For in the quiet little town,
    There's nothing much occurring.

    On a bright and sunny morning,
    When the sky is blue,
    And the grass is fresh and green,
    And slightly wet with dew.

    The farmer boy may be seen
    Coming from afar,
    With horse to shoe, wagon to fix,
    And to get a box of tar.

    Then a little chit-chat
    In a loud and jolly tone,
    The farmer boy hooks up his horse,
    And hurries on toward home.

    No sooner is he out of sight,
    Than others come and go,
    Thus keeping the village blacksmith's shop
    In a continual glow.

    The smith is known for many a mile,
    And greatly esteemed it appears,
    For he has been the village smith
    For five and twenty years.

    But things will change as time goes on
    And cause us deep despair,
    For in the little village shop,
    The smith is no more there.

    For sickness came as it will to all
    Midst pleasure and midst mirth,
    And sad to say in three short days
    He departed from this earth.

    The shock is great to all around,
    Even those who knew him not,
    His death casts a shadow,
    Which will not be soon forgot.

    In the quiet little churchyard
    The smith was laid low,
    Where the green grass and the flowers,
    Will soon begin to grow.

    The birds will sing their songs
    In the bright and genial days,
    Near the lonely grave where
    The village blacksmith lays.

  36. The Shoeing Forge

    by J. R. Eastwood

    A Stone's throw from the market town,
    Close on the lane that wanders down
    Between tall trees and hedgerows green,
    The famous shoeing forge is seen;
    Open it stands upon the road,
    That day and night is overflowed
    By ruddy light that leaps and falls
    Along the rafters and the walls.

    And often, halting on his way,
    The idler from the town will stay
    To hear the sharp, clear, ringing sound,
    And watch the red sparks raining round,
    And the bright fiery metal glow,
    While the strong smith, with blow on blow,
    Hammers it into shape—a sight
    To rouse his wonder and delight.

    Now in the smouldering fire once more
    The bar is thrust; the bellows roar,
    And fan the flame to fiercer light,
    Until the metal waxes white;
    Then, on the anvil placed again,
    Ding-dong, the strokes descend amain;
    Strong is the arm, the vision true,
    Of him who shapes the iron shoe.

    For thee, O reader, is the thought
    That great success in life is wrought
    Not by the idler as he stands
    With wondering looks and empty hands,
    But by the toiler who can take
    Each adverse circumstance and make
    It bend beneath the force and fire
    Of firm resolve and high desire!

  37. The Stake and Rider Fence

    by W. E. Hutchinson

    I love to let my fancy go wandering where it will,
    To the happy days of boyhood, to the meadow and the hill;
    To the brooks and quiet places, to the woods that seemed immense,
    But they always linger fondly at the stake-and-rider fence.

    Here, cicadas sing their loudest, and the crickets draw the bow,
    And the 'hoppers and the locusts join the chorus, soft and low;
    And you hear the bees a humming like a fiddle with one string,
    While the air just seems to vibrate with a soothing kind of ring.

    There the squirrel scolds and chatters as he runs along the rail,
    And you hear the rain-crow calling, and the whistle of the quail;
    And the catbird, and the blue jay, scold with vigor most intense,
    As they build among the branches by the stake-and-rider fence.

    There grew the tasseled milkweed with its bursting silken pods,
    And the stately, waving branches of the yellow goldenrod;
    The mullein stalk and asters, with teasels growing dense,
    God's garden, in the angle of the stake-and-rider fence.

    It was homely, but I loved it, and I wouldn't trade, would you?
    For all the hothouse beauties that a florist ever knew.
    Yes, I'd give up earthly honors, and count it recompense,
    Just to wander through the meadow by the stake-and-rider fence.

  38. Sleighing

    by Helen Lee Carey

    Here are we nestled, warm and snug,
    Within the cutter's perfumed rug,
    And swiftly o'er the light road skim
    Toward the hills far and dim
    Lie on the cold horizon's rim.

    Away, away! the snow is white,
    The air is clear, the moon is bright,
    To backward glance the village spires,
    Tipped with their pale up-pointing fires,
    Fade as a holy thought expires.

    Away! to-night our company
    The spirits of the frost shall be;
    We'll chase the flying bells whose play
    On moonlit meadows far away
    Is softened to a murmur gay.

    Away through villages that lie
    Like silver jewels, gliding by
    The river's gleaming stream of steel,
    Whose fringe of ice the waves conceal
    That echo back our sleigh-bells' peal.

    Here stands a quiet farm-house; there
    A stretch of glistening fields lies bare;
    Here thickets, robed in white array
    Climb the sleep banks, and sharply lay
    Dark shadows o'er our rapid way.

    The shaken trees their crystals fling,
    That shatter with an airy ring;
    And hark! a mocking ripple swells
    From where the covered streamlet wells
    And tinkles through its icy cells.

    Away again! yon pine-trees tall
    Close round us a mysterious wall;
    Through their great harps the solemn moan
    Of winds is sweeping, long and lone,
    In melancholy minor tone.

    Away through spicy forests, hung
    With mantles by the storm-winds flung,
    From out whose solitude the sigh
    Of breezes brings some weird, wild cry,
    To scare us as we glimmer by.

    Ah, see! the watch-fire on the lake,
    Where merry skaters pleasure take!
    Their voices, as we onward go,
    Die to a light cadenza low,
    As sounds through dreams of music flow.

    The prospect widens; on before
    Stretches the broad lake's dazzling floor;
    And far, where pearly vapors rise,
    Shine through a mist the peaceful skies
    And azure hills of paradise.

    The distance shuts like wings behind;
    Before, it opens silver-lined;
    The angel of the radiant night
    Leads ever on before our flight,
    And past us stream its robes of light.

  39. Country Sleighing

    by Edmund Clarence Stedman

    In January, when down the dairy
    The cream and clabber freeze,
    When snow-drifts cover the fences over,
    We farmers take our ease.
    At night we rig the team,
    And bring the cutter out;
    Then fill it, fill it, fill it, fill it,
    And heap the furs about.

    Here friends and cousins dash up by dozens,
    And sleighs at least a score;
    There John and Molly, behind, are jolly,
    Nell rides with me, before.
    All down the village street
    We range us in a row:
    Now jingle, jingle, jingle, jingle,
    And over the crispy snow!

    The windows glisten, the old folks listen
    To hear the sleigh-bells pass;
    The fields grow whiter, the stars are brighter,
    The road is smooth as glass.
    Our muffled faces burn,
    The clear north-wind blows cold,
    The girls all nestle, nestle, nestle,
    Each in her lover's hold.

    Through bridge and gateway we're shooting straightway,
    Their tollman was too slow!
    He'll listen after our song and laughter
    As over the hill we go.
    The girls cry, "Fie! for shame!"
    Their cheeks and lips are red,
    And so, with kisses, kisses, kisses,
    They take the toll instead.

    Still follow, follow! across the hollow
    The tavern fronts the road.
    Whoa, now! all steady! the host is ready,—
    He knows the country mode!
    The irons are in the fire,
    The hissing flip is got;
    So pour and sip it, sip it, sip it,
    And sip it while 't is hot.

    Push back the tables, and from the stables
    Bring Tom, the fiddler, in;
    All take your places, and make your graces,
    And let the dance begin.
    The girls are beating time
    To hear the music sound;
    Now foot it, foot it, foot it, foot it,
    And swing your partners round.

    Last couple toward the left! all forward!
    Cotillons through, let 's wheel:
    First tune the fiddle, then down the middle
    In old Virginia Reel.
    Play Money Musk to close,
    Then take the "long chassé,"
    While in to supper, supper, supper,
    The landlord leads the way.

    The bells are ringing, the ostlers bringing
    The cutters up anew;
    The beasts are neighing; too long we 're staying,
    The night is half-way through.
    Wrap close the buffalo-robes,
    We 're all aboard once more;
    Now jingle, jingle, jingle, jingle,
    Away from the tavern-door.

    So follow, follow, by hill and hollow,
    And swiftly homeward glide.
    What midnight splendor! how warm and tender
    The maiden by your side!
    The sleighs drop far apart,
    Her words are soft and low;
    Now, if you love her, love her, love her,
    'T is safe to tell her so.

  40. "Sugaring Off"

    by Hattie Howard

    Round after round in rugged tramp,
    But wholesome discipline,
    By sturdy hands about the camp
    The sap was gathered in;
    When one perspiring, very red,
    And sitting on a trough,
    "To close the season," so he said,
    Proposed to "sugar off."

    Beyond the farm-house still and white,
    Beyond the poplar bars,
    A lignous pile emitted light
    That paled the brighest stars;
    Where caldrons hung, like those of which
    The Bard of Avon told,
    With ebullition contents rich
    Above the flame of gold.

    A score or more of beaux and belles
    On toothsomeness intent,
    Like buzzing bees in flower-dells
    Inhaled the maple scent;
    Who danced around in impish glee
    Like witches in Macbeth,
    And stirred the sweet consistency,
    And laughed till out of breath.

    In fidget spells, by trial sips
    Of liquid boiling hot,
    How many burned their saucy lips;
    And pouted at the thought
    Of strips of plaster stretched across
    Each rosy orifice,
    Or sighed in secret o'er the loss
    Of some prospective kiss.

    Anon, the mass like melted wax
    Electrified their hopes,
    Who followed out diversion's tracks
    By making candy ropes;
    That by mysterous lasso twirls—
    How, record never tells—
    Glued ribbon-bows and spiral curls
    To overcoat lapels.

    How many lads in languid pose
    Leaned later 'gainst the trees,
    The sticky syrup on their clothes,
    The 'lasses on their knees—
    That is, the sugar!—never yet
    Hath language run so fast—
    But one can never quite forget
    What happened decades past.

    Such fun beyond the curfew hour
    A Puritan might rue,
    Or like an unbelieving Giaour
    Deny the statement true;
    But so it was—till Pater (and A lantern) caused surprise,
    Who quite broke up the festive band
    And captured their supplies.

    O, with a wild remembrance-thrill
    My heart in rapture beats!
    The egg-shell cups again I fill
    With granulated sweets,
    And mold in scalloped patty-pans
    Delicious maple cakes
    As yellow as the golden sands,
    But pure as snowy flakes.

    I've been, as by the drift of chance,
    A wanderer for years
    From those delightful, happy haunts
    That memory endears;
    But never life hath been so bright
    As when, upon a trough
    With Peter Stump, one blessed night
    I helped to "sugar off."

    * * * * *

    And for his sake, where'er he is,
    This rustic ode I pen
    To stir his risibilities;
    The jolliest of men,
    Though Prelate of the Holy See;
    Who dreams sometimes I know
    Of sweetness, sap, and sorcery—
    O, years and years ago!

  41. The Old Sugar Camp

    by Helen M. Johnson

    Come let us away to the old Sugar Camp;
    The sky is serene though the ground may be damp,—
    And the little bright streams, as they frolic and run,
    Turn a look full of thanks to the ice-melting sun;
    While the warm southern winds, wherever they go,
    Leave patches of brown 'mid the glittering snow.

    The oxen are ready, and Carlo and Tray
    Are watching us, ready to be on the way,
    While a group of gay children, with platter and spoon,
    And faces as bright as the roses of June,
    O'er fences and ditches exultingly spring,
    Light-hearted and careless as birds on the wing.

    Where's Edwin? Oh, here he comes, loading his gun;
    Look out for the partridges—hush! there is one!
    Poor victim! a bang and a flutter—'tis o'er,—
    And those fair dappled wings shall expand nevermore;
    It was shot for one invalid sister at home,
    Yet we sigh as beneath the tall branches we roam.

    Our cheeks all aglow with the long morning tramp,
    We soon come in sight of the old Sugar Camp;
    The syrup already is placed in the pan,
    And we gather around it as many as can,—
    We try it on snow; when we find it is done
    We fill up a mold for a dear absent one.

    Oh, gayest and best of all parties are these,
    That meet in the Camp 'neath the old maple trees,
    Renewing the love and the friendship of years,—
    They are scenes to be thought of with smiles and with tears
    When age shall have furrowed each beautiful cheek,
    And left in dark tresses a silvery streak.

    Here brothers and sisters and lovers have met,
    And cousins and friends we can never forget;
    The prairie, the ocean, divide us from some,
    Yet oft as the seasons for sugaring come,
    The cup of bright syrup to friendship we'll drain,
    And gather them home to our bosom again.

    Dear Maple, that yieldeth a nectar so rare,
    So useful in spring, and in summer so fair,—
    Of autumn acknowledged the glory and queen,
    Attendant on every Canadian scene,
    Enshrined in our homes it is meet thou shouldst be
    Of our country the emblem, O beautiful Tree!

  42. The Sugar Camp

    by Robert McIntyre

    When you want a treat, delicious to eat, pass by the poor old bees;
    Slip out and go, thro' a late March snow, to a bush of sugar-trees;
    Step down the hill, when all is still, and soft blue smoke is curled
    In the frosty haze, where ice-gems blaze, when sundown takes the world.
    No honey of flowers in this world of ours, no sap of the Southern cane,
    Melts on the lip like the sweets that drip from a wounded maple's grain;
    And if you take up a gourd or a cup of the plain old-fashioned stamp,
    And sip some juice, you will then turn loose and shout in the sugar camp.

    The giants there have strength to spare; their seed no man has sown;
    But the Lord, who willed our good, has tilled and tended them alone.
    One hundred years of smiles and tears—of the sunshine and the dew—
    Have gone to build the tree that spilled its blood today for you.
    O to wander free, as I used to be, through that grand primeval grove,
    Meandering slow, as I used to go, with the sled and the team I drove!
    Don't talk to me of the barley-bree, that steeps in a stillhouse damp;
    There never was wine came out of the vine like the sap of a sugar camp.

    What are stately palms in the Syrian calms, or gardens of olives dim,
    To one who goes where the mighty rows of the maples make way for him,
    When the sap runs free as the melody of the robin above the shed,
    With the whole white earth beneath him and the whole blue sky o'erhead?
    For the happy man looks into the pan where the amber sweetness swirls,
    And sees the face and lightsome grace of the best of the country girls,
    And he seems to see that home to be, where, under the well-trimmed lamp,
    His wife doth wait, when he comes home late from work in the sugar camp.

    So he drives his sleigh down a winding way, along the moonlit lanes,
    To where the light of a farmhouse, bright, shines from the window-panes;
    Then, cuddled snug in the ample rug, o'er the snowy roads they whirr,
    While his sweetheart eats the spicy sweets he made that day for her.
    With tinkle of bells and song that swells, how gleaming miles unroll;
    And he tastes, so plain, the flavor again as he takes his lover's toll;
    For the sleigh is narrow, and one swift arrow from Cupid, the rosy scamp,
    Strikes man and maid from his ambuscade as they circle the sugar camp.

    How he smiles next day, as he toils away stirring the bubbling trough;
    For he must wait to know his fate till the night of the sugaring-off.
    Cupid makes his bows of wood that grows in the sugar-thicket's shade,
    And dips each shaft, clear down to the haft, in the syrup when 't is made.
    So all ends right, and I say to-night, though we have suffered and toiled,
    We could both forget our sorrows yet in a dipper of sap half-boiled.
    When we get to heaven we'll kiss our folks, then start for a happy tramp
    Up toward the headwaters of Paradise, just to work in the sugar camp.

  43. Sugaring

    by Raymond Holden

    A man may think wild things under the moon—
    In March when there is a tapping in the pails
    Hung breast-high on the maples. Though you sink
    To boot-tops only in the uncrusted snow,
    And feel last autumn's leaves a short foot down,
    There will be one among the men you meet
    To say the snow lies six feet level there.
    "Not here!" you say; and he says, "In the woods"—
    Implying woods that he knows where to find.
    Well, such a moon may be miraculous,
    And if it has the power to make one man
    Believe a common February snow
    The great storm-wonder he would talk about
    For years if once he saw it, there may be
    In the same shimmering sickle over the hill
    Vision of other things for other men.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    The moon again
    Playing tonight with vapors that go up
    And out into the silver. The brown sap works
    Its foamy bulk over the great log fire.
    Colors of flame light up a man, who kneels
    With sticks upon his arm, and in his face
    A grimace of resistance to the glow.
    All that is burning is not under here
    Boiling the early sap—I wonder why.
    It is as calm as a dream of paradise
    Out there among the trees, where runnels make
    The only music heard above the sway
    Of branches fingering the leaning moon.
    And yet a man must go, when the sap has thickened,
    Up and away to sleep a tired sleep,
    And dream of dripping from a rotting roof
    Back into sap that once was rid of him.
    I wonder why, I wonder why, I wonder . . .

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Close the iron doors and let the fire die,
    And the faint night-wind blow through the broken walls.
    The sugar thickens, and the moon is gone,
    And frost threads up the singing rivulets.
    I am going up the mountain toward the stars,
    But I should like to lie near earth tonight—
    Earth that has borne the furious grip of winter
    And given a kind of birth to beauty at last.
    Look! — the old breath thrills through her once again
    And there will be passion soon, shaking her veins
    And driving her spirit upward till the buds
    Burst overhead, and swallows find the eaves
    Of the sugar-house untroubled by the talk
    Of men gone off with teams to mend the roads.
    I think I shall throw myself down here in the snow
    So to be very near her when she stirs.

  44. The Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving

    by Edgar Albert Guest

    It may be I am getting old and like too much to dwell
    Upon the days of bygone years, the days I loved so well;
    But thinking of them now I wish somehow that I could know
    A simple old Thanksgiving Day, like those of long ago,
    When all the family gathered round a table richly spread,
    With little Jamie at the foot and grandpa at the head,
    The youngest of us all to greet the oldest with a smile,
    With mother running in and out and laughing all the while.

    It may be I'm old-fashioned, but it seems to me to-day
    We're too much bent on having fun to take the time to pray;
    Each little family grows up with fashions of its own;
    It lives within a world itself and wants to be alone.
    It has its special pleasures, its circle, too, of friends;
    There are no get-together days; each one his journey wends,
    Pursuing what he likes the best in his particular way,
    Letting the others do the same upon Thanksgiving Day.

    I like the olden way the best, when relatives were glad
    To meet the way they used to do when I was but a lad;
    The old home was a rendezvous for all our kith and kin,
    And whether living far or near they all came trooping in
    With shouts of "Hello, daddy!" as they fairly stormed the place
    And made a rush for mother, who would stop to wipe her face
    Upon her gingham apron before she kissed them all,
    Hugging them proudly to her breast, the grownups and the small.

    Then laughter rang throughout the home, and, Oh, the jokes they told;
    From Boston, Frank brought new ones, but father sprang the old;
    All afternoon we chatted, telling what we hoped to do,
    The struggles we were making and the hardships we'd gone through;
    We gathered round the fireside. How fast the hours would fly—
    It seemed before we'd settled down 'twas time to say good-bye.
    Those were the glad Thanksgivings, the old-time families knew
    When relatives could still be friends and every heart was true.

  45. Spinning Tow

    by Ellen P. Allerton

    A little maiden with braided hair
    Walks to and fro
    Before a wheel. What does she there?
    The child is spinning tow.

    In through the open window comes
    The scented breeze;
    With drowsy wing the wild bee hums
    Out in the orchard trees.

    The blue sky bends, the flowers are sweet,
    As children know;
    Yet with deft hands and steady feet,
    This child keeps spinning tow,

    Still works she; steady mounts the sun
    Through the skies of May,—
    The small task ends; the skein is spun;
    The girl bounds out to play.

    She learns life's lesson young you say?
    'Tis better so.
    That life is toil as well as play,
    She learns here spinning tow.

    Years pass. Beside her own hearthstone
    A woman stands
    With steady eye and cheerful tone,
    Brave heart and willing hands.

    This matron, who on household ways
    Glides to and fro,
    Learned when a child, on soft spring days,
    Life's lesson, spinning tow.

  46. My Mother's Wheel

    by Ellen P. Allerton

    Broken, dismantled! would that it were mine:
    I would not keep it in that dusty nook,
    Where tangled cobwebs cross and intertwine,
    And old, grim spiders from their corners look.

    From distaff, band, and polished rim, are hung
    The dusty meshes. Black the spindle is,
    Crooked, and rusty—a dead, silent tongue,
    That once made whispering music—there it lies.

    Ah, dear to me is the forsaken thing!
    I gaze upon it and my eyes grow dim;
    For I can see my mother, hear her sing,
    As winds the shining thread, and whirls the rim.

    So sweet she sang—her youngest on her knee—
    Now a low warble, now some grand old hymn,
    Sublime, exultant, full of victory,
    Triumphant as the songs of seraphim.

    Sweet toiler! through her life of crowded care,
    While grief came oft, and pain, and weariness,
    Still swelled the anthem, still was breathed the prayer,
    Till death came clasping with its cold caress.

    She sings no more; beside the chimney wide
    No more she spins. Years come and go;
    Above her grave on the lone hillside,
    The snow drifts lie, the summer grasses grow.

  47. The Old Flax-Wheel

    by Virgil Viraldini Twitchell

    Grandma sat there in her old arm-chair, humming her favorite tune,
    Her head was white but her face as bright as a leafless rose in June;
    She tapped her heel as she turned her reel, in a sing-song way so queer,
    I can hear her yet, and I'll never forget, though I live a hundred year,
    The distaff's rebound as it turned around, and grandma's cry, "Take care!"
    'Twas always my fate, I found too late, the "old thing" pulling my hair.

    She'd sit upright from morn till night, nor think it was a tax,
    With toe and heel she'd turn the wheel and finger the glossy flax;
    The old black cat asleep on the mat, the clock so tall and queer
    Its tick, tick, tick, and the wheels' click, click, were musical sounds to hear;
    The fiery blaze from the fire-place made shadows on the wall
    Of revolving reel and spinning wheel, with grandma over all.

  48. The Old Wooden Tub

    by Edgar A. Guest

    I like to get to thinking of the old days that are gone,
    When there were joys that never more the world will look upon,
    The days before inventors smoothed the little cares away
    And made, what seemed but luxuries then, the joys of every day;
    When bathrooms were exceptions, and we got our weekly scrub
    By standing in the middle of a little wooden tub.

    We had no rapid heaters, and no blazing gas to burn,
    We boiled the water on the stove, and each one took his turn.
    Sometimes to save expenses we would use one tub for two;
    The water brother Billy used for me would also do,
    Although an extra kettle I was granted, I admit,
    On winter nights to freshen and to warm it up a bit.

    We carried water up the stairs in buckets and in pails,
    And sometimes splashed it on our legs, and rent the air with wails,
    But if the nights were very cold, by closing every door
    We were allowed to take our bath upon the kitchen floor.
    Beside the cheery stove we stood and gave ourselves a rub,
    In comfort most luxurious in that old wooden tub.

    But modern homes no more go through that joyous weekly fun,
    And through the sitting rooms at night no half-dried children run;
    No little flying forms go past, too swift to see their charms,
    With shirts and underwear and things tucked underneath their arms;
    The home's so full of luxury now, it's almost like a club,
    I sometimes wish we could go back to that old wooden tub.

  49. Knitting

    by Ellen P. Allerton

    An old-time kitchen, an open door,
    Sunshine lying across the floor;
    A little maid, feet bare and brown,
    Cheeks like roses, a cotton gown,
    Rippling masses of shining hair,
    And a childish forehead smooth and fair.

    The child is knitting. The open door
    Wooes her, tempts her, more and more.
    The sky is cloudless, the air is sweet
    And sadly restless the bare brown feet.
    Still, as she wishes her task were done,
    She counts the rounds off, one by one.

    Higher yet mounts the sun of June;
    But one round more!—a joyous tune
    Ripples out from the childish lips,
    While swift and swifter the finger-tips
    Play out and in, till I hear her say,
    "Twenty rounds! I'm going to play!"

    Up to the hedge where the sweet-brier blows,
    Down to the bank where the brooklet flows,
    Chasing the butterflies, watching the bees,
    Wading in clover up to her knees,
    Mocking the bobolinks; oh, what fun
    It is to be free when the task is done!

    Years and years have glided away.
    The child is a woman, and threads of gray
    One by one creep into her hair,
    And I see the prints of the feet of care.
    Yet I like to watch har. To-night she sits
    By her household fire, and as then she knits.

    Swiftly the needles glance, and the thread
    Glides through her fingers, white and red.
    'Tis a baby's stocking. To and fro
    And out and in as the needles go,
    She sings as she sang that day in June,
    But the low, soft strain is a nursery tune.

    Closely beside her the baby lies,
    Slowly closing his sleepy eyes.
    Forward, backward, the cradle swings,
    Touched by her foot as she softly sings.
    And now in silence har watch she keeps;
    The song is hushed, for the baby sleeps.

    Up from the green, through the twilight gray,
    Comes the shouts of a troop at play.
    Blue eyes, black eyes, golden curls—
    These are all hers—her boys and girls.
    Then wonder not at the prints of care,
    Or the silver threads in her braided hair.

    Does she ever pine for the meadow brook,
    The sweet-brier hedge, the clover nook?
    When sweet winds woo, when smiles the sun,
    Does she ever wish that her task was done?
    Would you know? Than watch her where she sits
    Smiling dreamily, while she knits.

  50. The Sewing Circle

    by Evander A. Crewson

    Sewing, sewing, busy sewing;
    Hear the scissors rattle, rattle;
    Everybody's tongue agoing—
    Tittle-tattle, tittle-tattle.

    Good intentions, glorious cause—
    Willing angels in life's battle;
    Picking out the little flaws—
    Tittle-tattle, tittle-tattle.

    Making some poor mother clothes;
    Helping buy the baby's rattle;
    Hitting friends and hitting foes—
    Tittle-tattle, tittle-tattle.

    Willing hearts and willing hands:
    Generals all in life's battle;
    Laying bare each other's plans—
    Tittle-tattle, tittle-tattle.

  51. The Basket Weaver

    by Douglas Malloch

    No flashing loom is hers; no shuttle flies
    To do the bidding of her hands and eyes.
    No needle glides to designated place,
    As weave her sisters overseas the lace.
    Hers is a simpler workshop in the leaves;
    This is a simpler pattern that she weaves,
    Her woof the splinter of the forest tree,
    The ash so white, the elm and hickory,
    Her dyes the blood of marish weeds and bark
    With tints as ruddy as her features dark—
    These are her simple implements of toil,
    The ready products of the woodland soil.

    Yet who shall say her skill is aught the less
    Than that of her who weaves the princess' dress?
    For generations women of her race
    Have woven baskets in this quiet place,
    And she who weaves beneath the ancient trees
    Reveals the skill of toilsome centuries.

    Into the basket weaves she more than wood—
    For weaves she in the romance of her blood,
    Yea, weaves she in the moonlight and the sun,
    The westward's burning rays when day is done,
    The verdant tints of winter's evergreen,
    The lily's whiteness and the willow's sheen,
    The regal purple of her honored chief,
    The simple beauty of her God-belief.

    So, through its time, the basket that she makes
    Shall sing to me of brooks and sylvan lakes,
    Shall sing the glory of the vanished Red,
    Shall sing a requiem for peoples dead,
    Shall sing of tree, of flower and of sod—
    Shall sing of Nature and the place of God.

  52. First of May

    by Nicholas Lester

    The winter's breath of snow and sleet
    No longer on our faces beat,
    And loungers have resumed the street;
    To work the house-wife quick will go
    House cleaning, that the world may know
    She is to dirt a deadly foe.

    The house she'll rummage through through,
    The bed-rooms and the closets too;
    Mid-floor their contents she will pile,
    And greet her lord with winning smile
    While she demands a carpet new.

    Each table, bedstead, stand and chair.
    Of scrubbing gets an ample share,
    And soon the spouse becomes aware
    The carpets from the floors are ripped,
    And he must put them out to air;
    (Let him remonstrate if he dare,)
    And see that they are whipp'd.

    The bureaus, brackets, stands and cases,
    Must occupy some new-found places
    For the ensuing year;
    The parlor stove removed must be,
    The pipes from soot be shaken free;
    The pictures from the walls be taken;
    The blankets, rugs and bed-quilts shaken;
    And every nook with suds be drenched,
    The kitchen fire remaining quench'd,
    For dinner he in vain may look,
    And should he grumble at the cook,
    A flea gets in his ear.

  53. The Cabin in the Clearing

    by Benjamin S. Parker

    Backward gazing through the shadows.
    As the evening fades away,
    I perceive the little footprints,
    Where the morning sunlight lay,
    Warm and mellow, on the pathway
    Leading to the open door
    Of the cabin in the clearing,
    Where my soul reclines once more.

    Oh! that cabin in the clearing,
    Where my Mary came, a bride,
    Where our children grew to love us,
    Where our little Robbie died:
    Still in memory blooms the redbud
    By the doorway, and the breeze
    Tingles with the spicewood's odor
    And the catbird's melodies.

    And I mind the floor of puncheons,
    Rudely laid on joist and sill,
    And the fireplace shaped and beaten
    From the red clay on the hill;
    With the chimney standing outside,
    Like a blind man asking alms,
    Wrought of sticks and clay and fashioned
    By the builder's ready palms.

    Half way up the flue, wide-throated,
    Does the hickory crosstree rest,
    Whence depend the pot and kettle,
    Where the great fire blazes best.
    Oh! I smell the savory venison,
    Hear the hominy simmer low,
    As my Mary stirs the embers
    That were ashes long ago.

    Once again I hurry homeward,
    When the day of toil is o'er,
    And my heart leaps up in gladness,
    For in this wide open door,
    Mary in her homespun habit,
    With her hand above her eyes,
    Gazes all around the clearing
    Till my coming form she spies.

    'Tis for her I am a hunter,
    And the fleet deer's sudden bound
    Tells how swift and sure my aim is,
    Ere his life-tide dyes the ground;
    'Tis for her I am an angler,
    And the spotted beauties woo
    From their paradise of waters,
    Ere the sun has dried the dew.

    And the wild rose and the bluebell
    That I pluck with gentle care,
    Are for her who rules the cabin-
    Mary, of the raven hair;
    'Tis for her I smite the forest
    Day by day with myriad blows;
    'Tis for her the cornstalk tassels,
    And the golden pumpkin grows.

    Often, winding through the woodlands,
    Neighbors come with song and shout,
    Eager for a day of pleasure
    Where the latch-string hangeth out.
    And with ready hands assist us
    At our labors, while the zest
    Of our conversation heightens
    Till the sun goes down the west.

    Aye, and once again I see them,
    On a sad, sweet summer day
    When the robin on the maple
    Seems to sing his soul away;
    And the clearing swims around me
    In a tangled dream of woe,
    And my weeping Mary whispers,
    "Tell me why he had to go?"

    "Why he had to go?" O Heaven!
    "Did God want our little boy?"
    'Tis the old, unanswered question,
    Cankering in the heart of joy,
    And subduing many a pleasure,
    As I see those friends of old,
    Hiding tenderly our darling
    In the forest's virgin mold.

    Now, that cabin in the clearing
    Is but dust, blown here and there,
    Where the palpitating engines
    Breathe their darkness on the air;
    Where my forests towered in beauty,
    Now a smoky village stands,
    And the rows of factories cluster
    Grimly on my fertile lands.

    Scarcely room enough is left me
    For this double, clustering rose,
    Where the baby and its mother
    Side by side in earth repose;
    Soon the last fond trace will vanish
    Which proclaims that they have been;
    But no matter—heaven's gateway
    Opened wide to let them in.

    Yet with Mary oft I linger,
    Where the well-sweep slanteth low,
    Planning over all our labors,
    When to plant and what to sow,
    How to ride to Sunday meeting—
    Fixing on a proper day
    For the rolling and the quilting,
    And the young folks' evening play.

    "Eighty, and a memory only!"
    Is that what you speak of me?
    Well, the memory is a blessing,
    And its pictures fair to see;
    While the fairest and the sweetest
    Lingers with me evermore—
    'Tis the cabin in the clearing,
    And my Mary at the door.

  54. The Cabin Days of Kansas

    by Ed Blair

    In the cabin days of Kansas,
    Oh! 'twas great to live here then,
    When we heard the morning cackle
    Of the prairie chicken hen;
    And the drum like noise of roosters,
    Coming from the prairie near,
    In the early days of Kansas—
    Days that always will be dear.

    How we visited with neighbors,
    Living miles and miles away,
    In a bobsled or a wagon,
    For the trip, the entire day.
    How we welcomed all the strangers,
    As they drove up to the yard,
    And they shared our every comfort,
    Though the best sometimes was hard.

    In the twilight father's "fiddle"
    Used to pour the music sweet
    Of the "Devil's Dream" and others,
    While the foot ne'er lost a beat.
    And the "Sweet Tobacco Posey,"
    Alabama's dearest rose,
    Always came in for a feature
    Ere the evening would close,

    Oh! the old time songs he gave us—
    Could a child of his e'er roam?
    "Bobbie Burns," his favorite ballads,
    Best of all, "No Place Like Home."
    And the songs of war-time heroes,
    In each line a thrill of love
    For the Union Flag forever,
    On the ramparts far above.

    How the music soothed a youngster,
    As the creaking trundle bed,
    Cuddled me between the comforts,
    And the "Good Night" words were said,
    And I lay there drifting, dreaming,
    On the wings of peaceful sleep.
    With no thought of stern tomorrow's
    Climbing up Life's Hill so steep.

    "Turn your backs" would come the warning,
    As the women left the hearth,
    (Breaking up the happy circle
    'Round the fireplace) for their berth.
    Then the last was father's winding
    Of the old Seth Thomas clock,
    Like the katydid's false warning.
    Latch string in. Asleep his flock.

  55. Good Old Days

    by Floyd D. Raze

     Full Text

    O, give me back the good old days
    When all the world was mine;
    My palace home, the rude log hut,
    Half hidden 'neath the pine.
    O let me scent the woodbine sweet
    That clustered 'round the eaves,
    And, dropping, hid the moss-grown logs
    Beneath its thousand leaves.

    How gladly would I turn my back
    Upon the setting sun,
    To view those well-remembered joys
    Of all the years agone.
    I fain would trace my journey back
    To greet the rising morn,
    E'en from the rude, old cottage,
    Now empty and forlorn.

    What are the joys of hoarded wealth?
    Vain, transitory, vain—
    O give me back the golden age
    Of boyhood's time again!
    The wondrous forest and the fields
    Where I was wont to be,
    And let the summer flowers bud
    And bloom again for me.

    The dear ones long departed,
    O bring them back once more,
    And let me hear my mother's song
    Sound from the cottage door.
    And let my sister come again
    To play beneath the pine—
    O give me back the good old days
    When all the world was mine!

  56. The Kansas That Was

    by Albert Stroud

    There was a state called Kansas, it's a place I used to know,
    And I'd like right well to see it if I knew which way to go;
    Its prairies they were level and as far as eye could see
    There wasn't any house but ours, and not a fence or tree.
    We had a field of second sod where tumble weeds would grow
    And in the fall when they were dry I liked to watch them blow.
    They made the nicest herd of cows for little girls and boys
    Who didn't have—and didn't need—a lot of costly toys.
    We hadn't any berries so we made sheep-sorrel pie;
    We sliced our pumpkins into strips and hung them up to dry,
    And in the winter they were fine, cooked with a hunk of meat;
    Those were the days when anything seemed mighty good to eat.
    The sunsets out in Kansas were not clouded o'er with smoke
    And when we went to take a walk there was no dust to choke;
    I could name a hundred reasons, as I live those times again,
    Why Kansas was a paradise for women folks and men.
    I ought to go back there once more, I thought I heard you say;
    Why, sure, I'd like to do it—but I never moved away.

  57. The Man With the Axe

    by Horace Dumont Herr

    The Summer has come and the Summer is past,
    And "the man with the hoe," he is out of a job,
    The pastures are bare and are swept by the blast,
    And the cattle for grass must eat "corn on the cob,"
    While scraggy-haired colts are turned out to the stalks,
    But the woodman he whistles a tune as he walks.

    The Summer brings harvest of oats and of wheat,
    And the meadows are strewn with the fragrant new hay;
    And Autumn gives apples, and pumpkin and beet,
    And the fruits and the nuts make the gatherers gay;
    But fruits for the cellar and wheat for the stacks
    Have a rival in the harvest of the wood chopper's ax.

    The scythe is keen edged and the sword is a power,
    And the reaper, old Time, mows a path thro' the years,
    And age falls in ripeness and childhood in flower,
    And the sword hews a channel for blood and for tears;
    But the woodman he smites with a stroke that ne'er tires,
    For his ax cleaves the wood for the home-altar fires.

    The snowflakes have wrapped in white down the dark earth,
    And the woods a black fringe show against the cold sky;
    When all appears dead that in Summer had birth,
    And there's not a bird songster a solo to try,
    Then cheery as notes of the robin in Spring
    Does the ax of the woodman re-echo and ring.

    A man of wood-craft the good axman is he,
    He knows well the name and the nature of wood,
    Can chip, and make fall any sort of a tree
    In the very direction he willed that it should;
    And when it is down on its body he stands,
    And he severs the giant, with the ax in his hands.

    This man of the woods is a surgeon of trees,
    He can chop a straight cut or a flying slant chip,
    He can halve with his wedge, if it so should him please,
    And can quarter, and heart, and around the knot slip,
    'Til body and limbs into cordwood he racks,
    For an artist is he with the wedge and the ax.

    He swings his great maul like the hammer of Thor,
    And the cord-lengths fly open of oak and of beach,
    'Till the clearing at last is with wood scattered o'er,
    And heaped up as high as the chopper can reach
    Are the tepees of brush that the axman has made
    In the places where trees by his ax were low laid.

    All corded and straight thro' the Summer shall lie
    All the wood that the woodman in Winter has chopped,
    In wind and in sun will the sticks slowly dry,
    And when Winter again plow and reaper has stopped,
    The farmer to sheds with his horses will draw
    What the axman has cut for the buck and the saw.

    And often the farmer, the evening before,
    Will upon his red wagon pile up a good load
    To haul it to town for some dwelling or store,
    And the wheels of his broad-tread will sing on the road,
    With four horses drawing it over the snow,
    For the axman's dry wood to the city must go.

  58. The Good Old Ways

    by Ellwood Roberts

    Who has not been disgusted oft
    Because of senseless change;
    And rising indignation felt
    At fashions new and strange?
    How much unlike the customs old
    Are those of modern days!
    No wonder they sometimes complain,
    Who love the good old ways.

    The men and women years ago,
    Were happy in their way;
    They had their troubles, great and small,
    But not like ours to-day.
    They came and went as pleased themselves,
    And gave but little care
    To trifling matters such as vex
    And drive us to despair.

    Decrees of fashion in their day,
    Were held in light esteem;
    Just like their fathers did before,
    They floated down life's stream.
    They viewed with more respect than we
    The customs of the past;
    A race too slow were they, I own;
    May we not live too fast?

    Each generation, we are told,
    Is wiser than the last;
    We would not, if we could, recall
    The years forever past;
    Where'er we go, from day to day,
    We find improvements vast;
    And thankful we our lot on earth
    In such an age was cast.

    But much we see, around us here,
    That merits little praise;
    The simpler forms of speech are gone,
    The unaffected phrase.
    Mankind love change; they lightly hold
    Bequests of former days,
    Nor think how much of good they lose
    In leaving good old ways.

    Some live, 'tis said, before their time,
    And others much too late;
    Let not these last bewail the fact,
    Nor murmur at their fate;
    For still we will to them concede—
    These changeful modern days—
    That they must not be blamed because
    They love the good old ways.

  59. The Farmhouse Garret

    by Ellwood Roberts

    Afar from the city's dust and noise,
    Beside a grand old wood—
    Away from the busy haunts of men—
    The ancient farmhouse stood.
    By low hills girt was the well-tilled vale,
    A picture ever fair;
    The fields were green and the skies were blue,
    And all was peaceful there.

    A building quaint was that farmhouse old.
    In the days so long gone by,
    And its dearest nook to us children all,
    The garret, strange and high.
    The roof ran up to a peak above,
    The rafters all were bare,
    No plaster covered the space between,
    We saw the shingles there.

    Life then was new and the world unknown;
    A paradise to me
    That garret old, with its treasures heaped,
    Its wonders, strange to see.
    Its worn old books had a charm, indeed,
    I read them, hour by hour;
    No stories like theirs I find to-day,
    Not one has half their power.

    We children played in that garret old
    From noon till twilight fell;
    To our young hearts it was fairy-land;
    How weird yet seems the spell!
    Sometimes we heard on the roof outside,
    The pattering rain-drops fall;
    But what cared we for the world beyond,
    To whom our play was all?

    The hours flew swiftly, unheeded, by,
    And all too soon came night;
    While there we mimicked the ways of men,
    With sense of keen delight.
    The years fled fast, and the happy days
    Of childhood passed away;
    Time came when we left the farmhouse old,
    And ended all our play.

    From that wonder-land, so full of joy,
    Shut out, we scarce know how,
    All, all is changed, and the mimic fun
    Is sober earnest, now.
    The world and its ways familiar grown—
    Its marvels understood—
    Recalled are days in the farmhouse spent,
    Beside the grand old wood.

    The farm is sold and the house pulled down;
    A mansion, stately, tall,
    Stands now in place of the farmhouse old;
    How changed, indeed, is all!
    And they who played in the garret there,
    Are scattered, far away;
    So busy they with the cares of life,
    They rarely meet, to-day.

    The fields are green and the skies are blue,
    The valley still is fair;
    The treasures heaped and the books are gone,
    There's none can tell me where.
    Long years have passed, and I look in vain
    For what I used to see,—
    When life was new, and the garret old
    Was all the world to me.

    And, glancing back o'er the days of youth,
    I drop a silent tear
    For the happy days, in the years gone by,
    Within that attic dear.
    For sweetest still are the times long past,
    The faces gone for aye;
    And Memory's treasures far outweigh
    All those we hold to-day.

  60. The Village May-Day

    by J. R. Eastwood

    Piled up with sacks, to yonder town
    The great mill waggon lumbers down:
    Drawn by three horses, tall and strong,
    The great mill waggon rolls along.

    The miller's smock is clean and new,
    And smart with ribbons, red and blue;
    And tinkling bells on bridle rein
    Have made the stately horses vain.

    And every year the First of May
    Is made the village holiday:
    The school is closed: the children run
    In meadows smiling with the sun.

    And now before the mill they wait,
    While some, impatient, climb the gate,
    And shout with glee, when drawing near
    The loudly rumbling wheels they hear.

    And soon the horses loom in sight,
    With gay rosettes, and harness bright,
    While dose beside the leader's head,
    The miller walks with sturdy tread.

    Long may the festive day come round
    And find the miller hale and sound,
    And may his goods increase, and still
    The great wheel turn his busy mill.

  61. The Village Wedding

    by J. R. Eastwood

    The weeks and months, with long delay,
    Have brought at last the wedding day;
    And pealing bells, with merry din,
    The joyful morn have ushered in!

    And now the church begins to fill;
    And all are seated, pleased and still,
    While matron looks rebuke the boys
    Who move their feet with shuffling noise.

    And village girls, with whispered talk,
    And smiling lips, have lined the walk,
    And ready stand, on either side,
    To scatter flowers before the bride.

    And soon she comes, with modest grace,
    The bridegroom waiting in his place;
    The ring is on, the words are said,
    They kneel to pray, and they are wed.

  62. Thanksgiving

    by J. R. Eastwood

    The village church, a quaint old pile,
    Stands where the quiet meadows smile,
    Dotted with sheep, and, reaped and bare,
    The stubble fields, and orchards fair.

    Pleasant it was that Sabbath morn
    To see the mighty stacks of corn,
    And joyful on that blessed day
    To feel that toil was put away.

    Sweet, in the church, it was to hear
    The harvest anthem rising clear,
    And in those tuneful strains outpoured
    To join the praises of the Lord.

    For from our hearts that song arose
    To Him whose loving kindness flows
    To crown with joy a thousand lands,
    And bless the labour of our hands.

    The anthem ceased, and still I thought
    On all the mercies God had wrought:
    And in my heart I took away
    This lesson of that Sabbath day.

    The sweetest song can ill declare
    The praises of the worshipper;
    The life of service must express
    The heart's desire of thankfulness.

  63. The Shoemaker

    by Evander A. Crewson

    The shoemaker sat on his bench of leather
    Pegging away on a half-worn shoe;
    Whatever the times or state of the weather,
    He pegged away, the whole day through.

    Sometimes he'd whistle, sometimes he'd sing;
    He cut his patch to fit the hole,
    And he always had some one on the "string,"
    While hammering down another man's "sole."

    Some said his leather was "tan-barked" and old;
    Some said his calf was poorly "revealed,"
    Others said the shoemaker was only "half-souled,"
    Others said he was mighty well "heeled."

    Each trade that he made brought him some "boot,"
    No happier man could well be born;
    Though even the farmer he failed to suit,
    He always had a share in his "corn."

    Though people at him would "bristle" and "wax,"
    And "button-hook" him as he passed,
    Still they finally paid the shoemaker's "tacks,"
    For he got them down at the "last."

  64. The Passenger Pigeons

    by Douglas Malloch

    Where roam ye now, ye nomads of the air.
    The old-time heralds of our old-time Springs?
    Once, when we heard the thunder of your wings,
    We looked upon the world—and Spring was there.

    One time your armies swept across the sky,
    Your feathered millions in a mighty march
    Filling with life and music all the arch
    Where now a lonely swallow flutters by.

    Where roam ye now, ye nomads of the air?
    In what far land? What undiscovered place?
    Ye may have found the refuge of the race
    That mortals visit but in dream and prayer.

    Perhaps in some blest land ye wing your flight,
    Now undisturbed by murder and by greed,
    And there await the coming of the freed
    Who shall emerge, like ye, from earth and night.

  65. The Old Brush Heap

    by James Russel Price

    Old brush heap of my boyhood days,
    I saw you in my dreams last night;
    Your scraggy limbs and thorny trims
    So vividly appeared in sight.
    For years you served your purpose well;
    How oft I wished you free from brier
    That I might as a barefoot boy
    Help grandpa pile you still up higher.

    From apple trees that stood so near
    The ripened fruit would often fall,
    Zigzagging down, from top to base,
    Where mice and rats and snakes would crawl.
    The speckled hen would find a place,
    Meandering through the crooked sticks,
    To make a nest and lay her eggs
    And hateh for us a dozen chicks.

    My mother early placed her wash
    Upon your bulging sides to dry;
    If neath the brush I'd lose my ball,
    Then she would say: "My boy, don't cry."
    Long years have passed, old brown brush heap
    Since I have seen your spiky dome;
    Beholding you in vision now
    Reminds me of my dear old home.

  66. Things Olden

    by Helen Smales

    Old houses, abandoned, forgotten,
    Grown weird with the spell of old fears;
    Old rafters, now heavy with secrets
    Of sorrows and hopes, or of tears:
    These weave a mystic attraction,
    The wrecks of dead lives and spent years.

    Old paths with their moss-covered flag-stone,
    Old cities of peoples unknown;
    Strange relics, queer pictures, odd writings
    Of civilizations outgrown—
    Whose heart thrills not at things ancient
    Of times far removed from our own?

  67. The Old Apple Tree

    by Henry Harvey Fuson

    Just beside the forest great,
    Close to a path traveled a generation ago,
    Stands the old apple tree to wait
    The final summons to go.
    Amid a new grown forest, with vines
    Entwined about his stooping form,
    He ever clings to life, but pines
    For the good old days that are gone.
    Like an old man who has spent
    His allotted time in service true,
    With the ranks of his generation rent
    By death, in a generation that is new,
    He holds to life that to him is dear
    And approaches the end without fear.

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