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Touching Poems

Table of Contents

  1. Inviolate by William Henry Venable
  2. "One, Two, Three!" by Henry Cuyler Bunner
  3. The Pride of Battery B by Frank H. Gassaway
  4. The Friendly Tree by Annette Wynne

  1. Inviolate

    by William Henry Venable

    We took a walk in Winter woods,
    My little lad and I,—
    The hills and hollows all were pearl,
    And sapphire all the sky.

    Before guerilla winds we saw
    The skurrying drift retreat;
    We thought of budded roots that lay
    Asleep beneath our feet.

    We spoke of how, last year, in May,
    One sunny bank we found,
    Where wind-flowers stood in fairy crowds,
    To charm the gladdened ground.

    A subtle feeling checked the boy,—
    His small hand held me back,
    With mute appeal that we should tread
    The wood-path's beaten track.

    "My child, 'tis pleasanter to break
    New pathways as we go."
    He said, "I do not like to spoil
    The beauty of the snow."

  2. "One, Two, Three!"

    by Henry Cuyler Bunner

    It was an old, old, old, old lady,
    And a boy that was half past three;
    And the way that they played together
    Was beautiful to see.

    She couldn't go running and jumping,
    And the boy, no more could he;
    For he was a thin little fellow,
    With a thin little twisted knee,

    They sat in the yellow sunlight,
    Out under the maple-tree;
    And the game that they played I'll tell you,
    Just as it was told to me.

    It was Hide-and-Go-Seek they were playing,
    Though you'd never have known it to be—
    With an old, old, old, old lady,
    And a boy with a twisted knee.

    The boy would bend his face down
    On his one little sound right knee,
    And he'd guess where she was hiding,
    In guesses One, Two, Three!

    "You are in the china-closet!"
    He would cry, and laugh with glee—
    It wasn't the china-closet;
    But he still had Two and Three.

    "You are up in Papa's big bedroom,
    In the chest with the queer old key!"
    And she said: "You are warm and warmer;
    But you're not quite right," said she.

    "It can't be the little cupboard
    Where Mamma's things used to be—
    So it must be the clothes-press, Gran'ma!"
    And he found her with his Three.

    Then she covered her face with her fingers,
    That were wrinkled and white and wee,
    And she guessed where the boy was hiding,
    With a One and a Two and a Three.

    And they never had stirred from their places,
    Right under the maple-tree—
    This old, old, old, old lady,
    And the boy with the lame little knee—
    This dear, dear, dear old lady,
    And the boy who was half past three.

  3. The Pride of Battery B

    by Frank H. Gassaway. This poem is a “gem of the purest ray serene.’” It recounts an incident of the late civil war. A little orphan child, a war waif, adopted by a battery of the Southern troops, is so distressed by the failure of the tobacco supplies of her whilom guardians, that she escapes from her tent, and, crossing to the enemy’s entrenchment, begs a supply from the Yankee soldiers. The latter send her back well supplied with the weed so dear to the soldier’s heart, and during the rest of the engagement the gunners on the Yankee side refuse to direct their shells in the vicinity of the child’s detachment. This poem has enjoyed remarkable popularity, and has been widely copied in England and elsewhere.

    South Mountain towered on our right, far off the river lay,
    And over on the wooded height we held their lines at bay.
    At last the mutt’ring guns were stilled; the day died slow and wan;
    At last the gunners’ pipes were filled, the Sergeant’s yarns began.
    When,—as the wind a moment blew aside the fragrant flood
    Our brierwoods raised,—within our view a little maiden stood.

    A tiny tot of six or seven, from fireside fresh she seemed
    (Of such a little one in heaven one soldier often dreamed).
    And, as we stared, her little hand went to her curly head
    In grave salute: “And who are you?” at length the Sergeant said.
    “And where’s your home?” he growled again. Shelispedout,“Who is me?
    Why, don’t you know? I’m little Jane, the Pride of Battery ‘B.’
    My home? Why, that was burned away, and pa and ma are dead,
    And so, so I ride the guns all day along with Sergeant Ned.
    And I’ve a drum that’s not a toy, a cap with feathers, too,
    And I march beside the drummer boy on Sundays at review;
    But now our ’bacca’s all give out, the men can’t have their smoke,
    And so they’re cross—why, even Ned won’t play with me and joke,
    And the big Colonel said to-day—I hate to hear him swear—
    He’d give a leg for a good pipe like the Yanks had over there
    And so I thought when beat the drum and the big guns were still,
    I’d creep beneath the tent and come out here across the hill,
    And beg, good Mister Yankee men, you’d give me some tobac;
    Please do—when we get some again I’ll surely bring it back.
    Indeed I will, for Ned—says he—if I do what I say,
    I’ll be a general yet, maybe, and ride a prancing bay.”
    We brimmed her tiny apron o’er; you should have heard her laugh
    As each man from his scanty store shook out a generous half.
    To kiss the little mouth stooped down a score of grimy men,
    Until the Sergeant’s husky voice said “’Tention, squad and then
    We gave her escort, till good night the pretty waif we bid.
    And watched her toddle out of sight—or else ’twas tears that hid
    Her tiny form—nor turned about a man, nor spoke a word,
    ’Till after while a far, hoarse shout upon the wind was heard!
    We sent it hack—then cast sad eye upon the scene around,
    A baby’s hand had touched the tie that brothers once had bound.
    That’s all—save when the dawn awoke again the work of hell,
    And through the sullen clouds of smoke the screaming missiles fell;
    Our General often rubbed his glass and marveled much to see
    Not a single shell that whole day fell in the lines of Battery “B.”

  4. The Friendly Tree

    by Annette Wynne

    I've found a place beside a friendly tree,
    Where I'll hide my face when the world hurts me,
    For the tree will never hurt; I shall love it to the end;
    It shall have a dear, dear name:
    "My true and silent friend."