Favorite Poetry (below)
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JULIA C. R. DORR
CHARLES SCRIBNER’S SONS
Copyright, 1879, 1885, 1892, by
CHARLES SCRIBNER’S SONS
PRINTING AND BOOKBINDING COMPANY
TO S. M. D.Let us go forth and gather golden-rod!O love, my love, see how upon the hills,Where still the warm air palpitates and thrills,And earth lies breathless in the smile of God,Like plumes of serried hosts its tassels nod!All the green vales its golden glory fills;By lonely waysides and by mountain rillsIts yellow banners flaunt above the sod.Perhaps the apple-blossoms were more fair;Perhaps, dear heart, the roses were more sweet,June’s dewy roses, with their buds half blown;Yet what care we, while tremulous and rareThis golden sunshine falleth at our feetAnd song lives on, though summer birds have flown?August, 1884.
Let the words stand as they were writ, dear heart!Although no more for thee in earthly bowersShall bloom the earlier or the later flowers;Although to-day ’tis springtime where thou art,While I, with Autumn, wander far apart,Yet, in the name of that long love of ours,Tested by years and tried by sun and showers,Let the words stand as they were writ, dear heart!
PAGEDedication. To S. M. D. v
EARLIER POEMS.The Three Ships, 3Maud and Madge, 6A Mother’s Question, 8Over the Wall, 9Outgrown,11A Song for Two,14A Picture,15Hymn to Life,16The Chimney Swallow,18Heirship,20Hilda, Spinning,22Hereafter,25Without and Within,27Vashti’s Scroll,29What my Friend Said to Me,37Hymn. For the Dedication of a Cemetery,38Yesterday and To-day,39Lyric. For the Dedication of a Music-Hall,41What I Lost,43Once!45Catharine,47[viii]The Name,48Under the Palm-Trees,49Night and Morning,51Agnes,53“Into Thy Hands,”55Idle Words,56The Sparrow to the Skylark,58The Bell of St. Paul’s,60December 26, 1910. A Ballad of Major Anderson,62From Baton Rouge,66In the Wilderness,68Charley of Malvern Hill,70Supplicamus,73The Last of Six,75The Drummer Boy’s Burial,79Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-five,82Our Flags at the Capitol,84My Mocking-Bird,86Coming Home,88Wakening Early,90Blest,92Helen,94
“PRO PATRIA.”The Dead Century,97The River Otter,106Past and Present,109Vermont,114Gettysburg. 1863-1889.126“No More the Thunder of Cannon,”133Grant,135[ix]
FRIAR ANSELMO, AND OTHER POEMS.Friar Anselmo,141The King’s Rosebud,146Somewhere,147Peradventure,148Rena. A Legend of Brussels,150A Secret,159This Day,161“Christus!”163The Kiss,167What She Thought,168What Need?170Two,172Unanswered,175The Clay to the Rose,178At the Last,180To the “Bouquet Club,”181Eventide,182My Lovers,184The Legend of the Organ-builder,186Butterfly and Baby Blue,190King Ivan’s Oath,192At Dawn,199In Memoriam,201Weaving the Web,203The “Christus” of Oberammergau,205Rabbi Benaiah,206A Child’s Thought,209“God Knows,”211The Mountain Road,213Entering In,215A Flower for the Dead,217Thou Knowest,219Winter,220Five,221Unsolved,223Quietness,226The Difference,227My Birthday,229A Red Rose,231Twenty-one,233Singing in the Dark,235Thomas Moore,236A Last Word,238[x]
SONNETS.The Sonnet. I. To a Critic.241 " " II. To a Poet.241At Rest,243Too Wide!244Mercédès,245Grass-Grown,246To Zülma, I., II.,247Sleep,249In King’s Chapel,250To-day,251F. A. F.,252Day and Night, I., II.,253Thy Name,255Resurgamus,256At the Tomb,257Three Days, I., II., III.,258Darkness,260Silence,261Sanctified,262A Message,263When Lesser Loves,264George Eliot,265Knowing,266A Thought,267To-morrow, I., II.,268“O Earth! Art Thou not Weary?”270Alexander,271The Place, I., II., III.,[xi]272To a Goddess,274O. W. H.,275Gifts for the King,276Recognition, I., II.,277Shakespeare,279To E. C. S.,280A Christmas Sonnet,281Poverty,282Surprises, I., II.,283C. H. R.,285A New Beatitude,286Compensation, I., II.,287Questionings,289Remembrance,290In the High Tower,291
AFTERNOON SONGS.Four O’Clocks,295A Dream of Songs Unsung,296Questioning a Rose,304The Fallow Field,306Out and In,309Her Flowers,310Three Laddies,312Summer,314Thornless Roses,315Treasure-Ships,316Choosing,318Not Mine,320The Chamber of Silence,322Three Roses,325Four Letters,326Valdemar,328Jubilate!338Easter Lilies,339[xii]“O, Wind that Blows Out of the West,”340A Summer Song,342The Urn,344The Parson’s Daughter,345March Fourth, 1881-1882,348Roy,350The Painter’s Prayer,351From Exile,354A Mother-Song,358Easter Morning,359Sealed Orders,363An Anniversary,365Martha,367The Hour,368The Closed Gate,369Content,371My Wonderland,373The Guest,375An Old-fashioned Garden,377Discontent,380The Doves at Mendon,383A Late Rose,386Periwinkle,387Afternoon,389The Lady of the Prow,392Thou and I,395
LATER POEMS.The Legend of the Baboushka. A Christmas Ballad,399Daybreak. An Easter Poem,405The Apple-Tree,411The Comforter,413Santa-Claus,415The Armorer’s Errand,417Foreshadowings,423[xiii]Won,425Baptism of Fire,427At the Feast,429Over and Over,430A Listening Bird,432The First Fire,433Midnight Chimes,436My Lady Sleep,438The King’s Touch,440“By Divers Paths,”442The Blind Bird’s Nest,444Two Paths,446St. John’s Eve,447A Little Song,449The Princes’ Chamber,450Wonderland,453In a Gallery,455In Marble Prayer,457Nocturne,459Come What May,460Nuremberg,462A Mater Dolorosa,464After Long Waiting,470
EARLIER POEMSTHE THREE SHIPSOver the waters clear and darkFlew, like a startled bird, our bark.
All the day long with steady sweepSeagulls followed us over the deep.
Weird and strange were the silent shores,Rich with their wealth of buried ores;
Mighty the forests, old and gray,With the secrets locked in their hearts away.
Semblance of castle and arch and shrineTowered aloft in the clear sunshine;
And we watched for the warder, stern and grim,And the priest with his chanted prayer and hymn.
Over that wonderful northern sea,As one who sails in a dream, sailed we,
Till, when the young moon soared on high,Nothing was round us but wave and sky.
Up in the tremulous space it swung,--A crescent dim in the azure hung;
While the sun lay low in the glowing west,With bars of purple across his breast.
The skies were aflame with the sunset glow,The billows were all aflame below;
The far horizon seemed the gateTo some mystic world’s enchanted state;
And all the air was a luminous mist,Crimson and amber and amethyst.
Then silently into that fiery sea--Into the heart of the mystery--
Three ships went sailing, one by one,The fairest visions under the sun.
Like the flame in the heart of a ruby setWere the sails that flew from each mast of jet;
While darkly against the burning skyStreamer and pennant floated high.
Steadily, silently, on they pressedInto the glowing, reddening west;
Until, on the far horizon’s fold,They slowly passed through its gate of gold.
You think, perhaps, they were nothing moreThan schooners laden with common ore?
Where Care clasped hands with grimy Toil,And the decks were stained with earthly moil?
Oh, beautiful ships, that sailed that nightInto the west from our yearning sight,
Full well I know that the freight ye boreWas laden not for an earthly shore!
To some far realm ye were sailing on,Where all we have lost shall yet be won;
Ye were bearing thither a world of dreams,Bright as that sunset’s golden gleams;
And hopes whose tremulous, rosy flush,Grew fairer still in the twilight hush.
Ye were bearing hence to that mystic sphereThoughts no mortal may utter here,--
Songs that on earth may not be sung,--Words too holy for human tongue,--
The golden deeds that we would have done,--The fadeless wreaths that we would have won!
And hence it was that our souls with youTraversed the measureless waste of blue,
Till you passed under the sunset gate,And to us a voice said, softly, “Wait!”
MAUD AND MADGEMaud in a crimson velvet chairStrings her pearls on a silken thread,While, lovingly lifting her golden hair,Soft airs wander about her head.She has silken robes of the softest flow,She has jewels rare and a chain of gold,And her two white hands flit to and fro,Fair as the dainty toys they hold.
She has tropical birds and rare perfumes;Pictures that speak to the heart and eye;For her each flower of the Orient blooms,--For her the song and the lute swell high;But daintily stringing her gleaming pearlsShe dreams to-day in her velvet chair,While the sunlight sleeps in her golden curls,Lightly stirred by the odorous air.
Down on the beach, when the tide goes out,Madge is gathering shining shells;The sea-breeze blows her locks about;O’er bare, brown feet the white sand swells.Coarsest serge is her gown of gray,Faded and torn her apron blue,And there in the beautiful, dying dayThe girl still thinks of the work to do.
Stains of labor are on her hands,Lost is the young form’s airy grace;And standing there on the shining sandsYou read her fate in her weary face.Up with the dawn to toil all dayFor meagre fare and a place to sleep;Seldom a moment to dream or play,Little leisure to laugh or weep.
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Beautiful Maud, you think, maybe,Lying back in your velvet chair,There is naught in common with her and thee,--You scarce could breathe in the self-same air.But the warm blood in her girlish heartLeaps quick as yours at her nature’s call,And ye, though moving so far apart,Must share one destiny after all.
Love shall come to you both one day,For still must be what aye hath been;And under satin or russet grayHearts will open to let him in.Motherhood with its joy and woeEach must compass through burning pain,--You, fair Maud, with your brow of snow,Madge with her brown hands labor-stained.
Each shall sorrow and each shall weep,Though one is in hovel, one in hall;Over your gold the frost shall creep,As over her jet the snows will fall.Exquisite Maud, you lift your eyesAt Madge out yonder under the sun;Yet know ye both by the countless tiesOf a common womanhood ye are one!
A MOTHER’S QUESTIONWhat mother-angel tended thee last night,Sweet baby mine?Cradled upon what breast all soft and whiteDidst thou recline?
Who took thee, frail and tender as thou art,Within her arms?And shielded thee, close claspéd to her heart,From all alarms?
Surely that God who lured thee from the breastThat hoped to beThe softest pillow and the sweetest restThenceforth to thee,
Sent thee not forth into the dread unknownWithout a guide,To grope in darkness, treading all aloneThe path untried.
Compassionate is He who called thee, child;And well I knowHe sent some Blessed One of aspect mildWith thee to go
Through the dark valley, where the shadows dimForever brood,That the low music of an angel’s hymnMight cheer the solitude!
OVER THE WALLI know a spot where the wild vines creep,And the coral moss-cups grow,And where, at the foot of the rocky steep,The sweet blue violets blow.There all day long, in the summer-time,You may hear the river’s dreamy rhyme;There all day long does the honey-beeMurmur and hum in the hollow tree.
And there the feathery hemlock makesA shadow cool and sweet,While from its emerald wing it shakesRare incense at your feet.There do the silvery lichens cling,There does the tremulous harebell swing;And many a scarlet berry shinesDeep in the green of the tangled vines.
Over the wall at dawn of day,Over the wall at noon,Over the wall when the shadows sayThat night is coming soon,A little maiden with laughing eyesClimbs in her eager haste, and hiesDown to the spot where the wild vines creep,And violets bloom by the rocky steep.
All wild things love her. The murmuring beeScarce stirs when she draws near,And sings the bird in the hemlock-treeIts sweetest for her ear.The harebells nod as she passes by,The violet lifts its tender eye,The low ferns bend her steps to greet,And the mosses creep to her dancing feet.
Up in her pathway seems to springAll that is sweet or rare,--Chrysalis quaint, or the moth’s bright wing,Or flower-buds strangely fair.She watches the tiniest bird’s-nest hidThe thickly clustering leaves amid;And the small brown tree-toad on her armQuietly hops, and fears no harm.
Ah, child of the laughing eyes, and heartAttuned to Nature’s voice!Thou hast found a bliss that will ne’er departWhile earth can say, “Rejoice!”The years must come, and the years must go;But the flowers will bloom, and the breezes blow,And bird and butterfly, moth and bee,Bring on their swift wings joy to thee!
OUTGROWNNay, you wrong her, my friend, she’s not fickle; her love she has simply outgrown;One can read the whole matter, translating her heart by the light of one’s own.
Can you bear me to talk with you frankly? There is much that my heart would say,And you know we were children together, have quarreled and “made up” in play.
And so, for the sake of old friendship, I venture to tell you the truth,As plainly, perhaps, and as bluntly, as I might in our earlier youth.
Five summers ago, when you wooed her, you stood on the self-same plane,Face to face, heart to heart, never dreaming your souls could be parted again.
She loved you at that time entirely, in the bloom of her life’s early May,And it is not her fault, I repeat it, that she does not love you to-day.
Nature never stands still, nor souls either. They ever go up or go down;And hers has been steadily soaring,—but how has it been with your own?
She has struggled, and yearned, and aspired,—grown stronger and wiser each year;The stars are not farther above you, in yon luminous atmosphere!
For she whom you crowned with fresh roses, down yonder, five summers ago,Has learned that the first of our duties to God and ourselves is to grow.
Her eyes they are sweeter and calmer, but their vision is clearer as well;Her voice has a tenderer cadence, but it rings like a silver bell.
Her face has the look worn by those who with God and his angels have talked;The white robes she wears are less white than the spirits with whom she has walked.
And you? Have you aimed at the highest? Have you, too, aspired and prayed?Have you looked upon evil unsullied? have you conquered it undismayed?
Have you, too, grown stronger and wiser, as the months and the years have rolled on?Did you meet her this morning rejoicing in the triumph of victory won?
Nay, hear me! The truth cannot harm you. When to-day in her presence you stood,Was the hand that you gave her as white and clean as that of her womanhood?
Go measure yourself by her standard. Look back on the years that have fled;Then ask, if you need, why she tells you that the love of her girlhood is dead!
She cannot look down to her lover; her love, like her soul, aspires;He must stand by her side, or above her, who would kindle its holy fires.
Now, farewell! For the sake of old friendship I have ventured to tell you the truth,As plainly, perhaps, and as bluntly, as I might in our earlier youth.
A SONG FOR TWONot for its sunsets burning clear and low,Its purple splendors on the eastern hills,Bless I the Year that now makes haste to goWhile sad Earth listens for its dying thrills.
Not that its days were sweet with sun and showers;Its summer nights all luminous with stars:Not that its vales were studded thick with flowers;Not that its mountains pierced the azure bars;
Not that from our dear land, by slow degrees,Some mists of error it hath blown away;Not for its noble deeds—ah! not for these--Fain would I twine this wreath of song to-day.
But for one gift that it has brought to meMy grateful heart would crown the dying Year:Because, O best-beloved, it gave me thee,I drop this garland on the passing bier!
A PICTUREA lovely bit of dappled greenShut in the circling hills between,While farther off blue mountains standLike giant guards on either hand.
The quiet road in still reposeFollows where’er the river flows;And in and out it glides along,Enchanted by the rippling song.
Afar, I see the steepled townFrom yonder hillside looking down;And sometimes, when the south wind swells,Hear the faint chiming of its bells.
But under these embowering trees,Lulled by the hum of droning bees,The old brown farmhouse seems to sleep,So calm its rest is and so deep.
Yonder, beside the rustic bridge,From which the path climbs yonder ridge,The lazy cattle seek the shadeBy the umbrageous willows made.
The sky is like a hollow pearl,Save where warm sunset clouds unfurlTheir flaming colors. Lo! a star,Even as I gaze, gleams forth afar!
HYMN TO LIFEAh, Life, dear Life, how beautiful art thou!All day sweet, chiming voices in my heartHave hymned thy praises joyfully as now,Telling how fair thou art!
This morn, while yet the dew was on the flowers,They sang like skylarks, soaring while they sing;This noon, like birds within their leafy bowers,Warbled with folded wing.
Slow fades the twilight from the glowing west,And one pale star hangs o’er yon mountain’s brow;With deeper joy, that may not be repressed,O Life, they hail thee now!
And not alone from this poor heart of mineDo these glad notes of grateful love ascend;Voices from mount and vale and woodland shrineIn the full chorus blend.
The young leaves feel thy presence and rejoiceThe while they frolic with the happy breeze;And pæans sweeter than a seraph’s voiceRise from the swaying trees.
Each flower that hides within the forest dim,Where mortal eye may ne’er its beauty see,Waves its light censer, while it breathes a hymnIn humble praise of thee.
Through quivering pines the gentle south winds stray,Singing low songs that bid the tear-drops start;And thoughts of thee are in each trembling lay,Thrilling the listener’s heart.
Old Ocean lifts his solemn voice on high,Thy name, O Life, repeating evermore,While sweeping gales and rushing storms replyFrom many a far-off shore.
The stars are gathering in the darkening skies,But our dull ears their music may not hear,Though, while we list, their swelling anthems riseExultingly and clear!
O Earth is beautiful! She weareth stillThe golden radiance of life’s early day;Still Love and Hope for me their chalice fill,--Life, turn not thou away!
THE CHIMNEY SWALLOWOne night as I sat by my table,Tired of books and pen,With wandering thoughts far strayingOut into the world of men;--That world where the busy workersSuch magical deeds are doing,Each one with a steady purposeHis own pet plans pursuing;
When the house was wrapt in silence,And the children were all asleep,And even the mouse in the wainscotHad ceased to run and leap,All at once from the open chimneyCame a hum and a rustle and whirring,That startled me out of my dreaming,And set my pulses stirring.
What was it? I paused and listened;The roses were all in bloom,And in from the garden floatedThe violet’s rich perfume.So it could not be Kriss Kringle,For he only comes, you know,When the Christmas bells are chiming,And the hills are white with snow.
Hark! a sound as of rushing waters,Or the rustle of falling leaves,Or the patter of eager raindropsYonder among the eaves!Then out from the dark, old chimney,Blackened with soot and smoke,With a whir of fluttering pinionsA startled birdling broke.
Dashing against the window;Lighting a moment whereMy sculptured angel foldedIts soft white wings in prayer;Swinging upon the curtains;Perched on the ivy-vine;At last it rested tremblingIn tender hands of mine.
No stain upon its plumage;No dust upon its wings;No hint of its companionshipWith darkly soiling things!O, happy bird, thou spirit!Stretch thy glad plumes and soarWhere breath of soil or sorrowShall reach thee nevermore!
HEIRSHIPLittle store of wealth have I;Not a rood of land I own;Nor a mansion fair and highBuilt with towers of fretted stone.Stocks, nor bonds, nor title-deeds,Flocks nor herds have I to show;When I ride, no Arab steedsToss for me their manes of snow.
I have neither pearls nor gold,Massive plate, nor jewels rare;Broidered silks of worth untold,Nor rich robes a queen might wear.In my garden’s narrow boundFlaunt no costly tropic blooms,Ladening all the air aroundWith a weight of rare perfumes.
Yet to an immense estateAm I heir, by grace of God,--Richer, grander than doth waitAny earthly monarch’s nod.Heir of all the Ages, I--Heir of all that they have wrought,All their store of emprise high,All their wealth of precious thought.
Every golden deed of theirsSheds its lustre on my way;All their labors, all their prayers,Sanctify this present day!Heir of all that they have earnedBy their passion and their tears,--Heir of all that they have learnedThrough the weary, toiling years!
Heir of all the faith sublimeOn whose wings they soared to heaven;Heir of every hope that TimeTo Earth’s fainting sons hath given!Aspirations pure and high--Strength to dare and to endure--Heir of all the Ages, I--Lo! I am no longer poor!