The Poets and Poetry of Cecil County, Maryland
Part 5 out of 7
Mrs. Mary Eliza Ireland, the daughter of Joseph Haines and Harriet
(Kirk) Haines, was born in the village of Brick Meeting House, now
called Calvert, January 9, 1834. In early life she married John M.
Ireland, son of Colonel Joseph Ireland, of Kent county, Md. They are the
parents of three children, one of whom died in infancy. They now reside
in Baltimore, where Mr. Ireland holds the position of United States
storekeeper in the Internal Revenue Department.
Until the past few years Mrs. Ireland has always lived in the old
homestead where she was born and married, and from whence her parents
were removed by death.
Her first literary effort was a short story written when quite a young
girl, entitled "Ellen Linwood," and published in the _Cecil Whig_, then
edited by the late Palmer C. Ricketts, under the _nom de plume_ of
"Marie Norman." For several years after the publication of "Ellen
Linwood" Mrs. Ireland occasionally contributed to the _Cecil Whig_ and
Some years ago she wrote a story for _Arthur's Magazine_, and being in
Philadelphia soon after it was written, she took it to the publishing
house, and there met for the first time T.S. Arthur, whom she had known
from childhood through his books. He received her kindly, promised to
read her story, and to let her know his decision the next day. That
decision was, that though entertaining and well written, it was scarcely
suited to his magazine. He suggested another periodical where it would
likely meet with favor. He also asked for another story, and presented
her with a set of the magazines that she might see the style of writing
that he desired.
Her next story for _Arthur's_ was a success, and from that time until
his death he remained the candid critic of all she sent him for
publication, as well as of some stories published elsewhere, and the
kind literary adviser and friend. She retained her first story (which he
had declined) for three years, made some changes in it, and he accepted
and published it.
Since then she has been an acceptable contributor to _Cottage Hearth_,
_Household_, and other domestic magazines, besides the _Literary World_,
_Ladies' Cabinet_, _Woman's Journal_, and several church papers; and has
written two prize stories, which took first prizes.
In 1882 her short stories were collected and connected into a continued
story, which was accepted and published by J.B. Lippincott & Co., under
the title of "Timothy; His Neighbors and His Friends."
Many letters of appreciation from distant parts of the Union testified
to the merit of the book, and she was encouraged to accede to the
request of the Presbyterian Observer Company of Baltimore to write a
serial for their paper. It was entitled "Ivandale," and was warmly
commended by judges of literary work.
Wishing to read German literature in the original, she undertook the
study of German, and as she had no time which she was willing to devote
to regular lessons, she obtained a German pronouncing reader, and
without instruction from any one she succeeded in learning to read and
translate, pronouncing correctly enough to be understood by any German.
This knowledge of the language has been a well-spring of pleasure to
her, and well repays her for the few moments' attention she daily
bestowed upon it. She has translated several books, two of which were
published as serials in the _Oxford Press_, and the Lutheran Board of
Publication have published one of her translations, entitled "Betty's
Decision." Many beautiful short stories have found their way into our
language and periodicals through the medium of her pen.
Her time is well filled with her household duties, her missionary and
church work, and in reviewing new books for the press. She has no
specified time for writing, nor does she neglect her household or social
duties for the sake of it, always having looked upon her literary work
as a recreation. She leads a busy life, yet is rarely hurried; and,
although she enjoys the companionship of many people noted in
literature, it is powerless to weaken her attachment for friends who
have no inclination in that way. All have a warm place in her heart, and
a cordial welcome to her cheerful and happy home.
Mrs. Ireland, contrary to the experience of most writers, never wrote
any poetry until she had attained distinction as a writer of prose.
AT THE PARTY.
I gave her a rose, so sweet, so fair;
She picked it to pieces while standing there.
I praised the deep blue of her starry eyes;
She turned them upon me in cold surprise.
Her white hand I kissed in a transport of love;
My kiss she effaced with her snowy glove.
I touched a soft ringlet of golden brown;
She rebuked my daring with a haughty frown.
I asked her to dance in most penitent tone;
On the arm of a rival she left me alone.
This gave me a hint; I veered from my track,
And waltzed with an heiress, to win my love back.
I carried her fan, and indulged in a sigh,
And whispered sweet nothings when my loved one was nigh.
It worked like a charm; oh, joy of my life!
This stratagem wins me a sweet little wife.
MOTHER AND SON.
Postman, good postman, halt I pray,
And leave a letter for me to-day;
If it's only a line from over the sea
To say that my Sandy remembers me.
I have waited and hoped by day and by night;
I'll watch--if spared--till my locks grow white;
Have prayed--yet repent that my faith waxed dim,
When passing, you left no message from him.
My proud arms cradled his infant head,
My prayers arose by his boyhood's bed;
To better our fortunes, he traversed the main;
God guard him, and bring him to me again.
The postman has passed midst the beating rain,
And my heart is bowed with its weight of pain;
This dark, dark day, I am tortured with dread
That Sandy, my boy, may be ill or dead.
But hark! there's a step! my heart be still!
A step at the gate, in the path, on the sill;
Did the postman return? my letter forget?
Oh 'tis Sandy! Thank God, he loves me yet!
THE MISSIONARY'S STORY.
Hard were her hands, and brown;
Coarsest of stuff her gown:
Sod hut her home.
Pale was her care-worn face,
Beauty and youth and grace
Long since have flown.
Stern was her lot in life;
She was a drunkard's wife;
And forests drear
Shut not temptation out;
Strong drink was sold and bought;
Slave he to demon rum;
Houses and lands all gone;
Want came by stealth.
Yet her scant fare she shared
With me, who worse have fared
In homes of wealth.
Stranger was I to her
Save as Christ's messenger;
And for His sake
She, all her little store
Wishing it were but more,--
Bade me to take.
Oh like the widow's mite,
Given for love of right,
May it be blest.
When her last hour has come,
May angels bear her home,
Ever to rest.
She is lying in state, this fair June day,
While the bee from the rose its sweetness sips;
Her heart thrills not at the lark's clear lay,
Though a smile illumines her pallid lips.
What glorified form did the Angel of Death
Assume to her view, that it left the bright trace
Of a jubilant welcome, whose icy breath
Froze the sunny smile on her fair young face?
Did angels with snow-white wings come down
And hover about her dying bed?
Did they bear a white robe, and a starry crown
To place on their sainted comrade's head?
Did her gaze rest on valleys and pastures green,
Where roses in beauty supernal, bloom?
Where lilies in snowy and golden sheen
Fill the air with their heavenly, rare perfume?
Did strains of sweet music her senses entrance
While Earth, with her loved ones, receded in air?
Did friends who had left it, to greet her, advance
And joyfully lead her to dwell with them, there?
Did she cross the deep Jordan without any fears
For all were now calmed on her dear Saviour's breast?
On pinions of light did she mount to the spheres
Where all is contentment, and pleasure, and rest?
All this we may humbly and truly believe,
For Christ to the Bethany sisters did give
The comforting promise, which all may receive:
"He that believeth, though dead, yet shall live."
A bachelor gray, was Valentine Brown;
He lived in a mansion just out of the town,
A mansion spacious and grand;
He was wealthy as Vanderbilt, Astor or Tome,
Had money invested abroad and at home,
And thousands of acres of land.
A friend of his boyhood was Archibald Gray;
And to prove what queer antics Dame Fortune will play
When she sets about trying to plan,
She heaped all her favors on Valentine, bold,
And always left Archibald out of her fold,
The harmless, and weak-minded man.
So, while Valentine reigned like a king on his throne,
Poor Archibald ne'er had a home of his own,
Yet never was known to complain;
Year in and year out, he wandered around,
In mansion and farmhouse a welcome he found
As long as he chose to remain.
The lilacs and snowballs which guarded the door
Of the ivy-decked cottage of good Parson Moore,
Were waking from out their long sleep;
For the last month of winter was hastening by,
The last hours of Valentine's day had drawn nigh,
When Archibald's travel-worn feet
Were heard on the door-step; he entered and smiled,
Then sat down and slept like a play-weary child,
Woke, and told them how long he would stay;
Then slumbered again, while sweet Dorothy Moore,
The motherless daughter, who loved all God's poor,
Made him welcome around the tea-tray.
And archly she said as she gave him his tea,
"Where's the valentine Archy, you promised to me?
All maidens expect one to-day;"
Then forgot it; nor noticed when supper was done,
And her father had gone to his study alone,
That Archie had stolen away.
But, drawing the curtains on darkness and night!
She sat down to spin by the cheery fire-light,
While before it, so cozy and warm,
Slept the kitten,--a snowy white ball of content--
And her wheel, with its humming activity, lent
To the hour, a picturesque charm.
No scene more enchanting could artist dream know,
Than this peaceful, calm spot, in the ruby-red glow
Of the pine knots aflame on the hearth;
But Dorothy thought, "Were he but there with me
And loved me as I love, a desert would be
The happiest place upon earth."
"Oh were he but poor, and forsaken;" she sighed,
"He then a poor maiden might seek for his bride,
But his love will some great lady crown;
Since all is so hopeless, dear Father above
Oh help me to cast out my unreturned love!
And forget the proud Valentine Brown."
In his elegant library, sat Valentine Brown,
The argand burned brightly, the rich curtains down,
Luxurious home of repose;--
Yet his handsome face saddened, his heart was oppressed;
He sighed, and his spirit was full of unrest,
For his love he should never disclose.
He had roamed over Europe, and Countesses fair
Had graciously smiled on the great millionaire.
Yet his heart had turned coldly away;
"From her childhood, I've loved her, sweet Dorothy Moore,"
Just then the latch clicked--through the half opened door
Crept humbly, poor Archibald Gray.
"I want you!" he whispered; "I promised her, come!"
And Valentine followed, till reaching the home
Where Dorothy spun by the hearth;
And when he had entered with Archibald Gray
And courteously waited, commands to obey,
Knew no lovelier picture on earth.
But the tact which had piloted Valentine there
Deserted poor Archie; then Dorothy fair,
Blushing deeply, yet smilingly said:
"Why, Archibald, why did you leave us I pray?
You said till to-morrow at noon, you would stay,
And in less than an hour you had fled."
The memory of Archibald took up the clew
Thus kindly supplied, and eager he grew;
"Yes, yes; Archie promised he would;
I have brought you a valentine, Valentine Brown,"
(Here he smoothed his gray beard, and looked helplessly down),
"He's so good to poor Archie, so good!"
The three stood in silence, two wondering no doubt
How this intricate problem would ever turn out,
And Valentine, thoughtful and kind,--
Felt pity for Archie, who meant for the best;
And for Dorothy--flushing like clouds in the west
And fearing he thought it designed.
He looked at the maiden--modest and sweet;
At her lovely blue eyes, her peach-blossom cheek
And sighed for his youth which had fled;
"She never could love me, good Archibald Gray,
Her beauty and youthfulness stand in the way,
Just look at my frost-covered head."
"Please tell him, good Archie," said Dorothy fair,
"That I love nothing better than silvery hair
When it crowns one so noble and true;
His heart all men say is exalted and grand,
He is known for his good deeds all over the land,
Loved by every one, equalled by few."
"That heart, my good Archie, I lay at her feet
To spurn or to thrill with an ecstasy sweet;"
(And he reverently took her white hand,)
"That hand is his, Archie, and so is my heart
To have and to keep until death do us part
To meet in the Heavenly land."
Good friends new and old, should you journey that way
And should anything happen, to cause a delay,
And you call upon Valentine Brown:
In the coziest nook, you'll see Archibald Gray,
Awaiting with patience the dallying day,
Till the sickle of Time mows him down.
And Fortune still favors her Valentine dear,
She winters and summers there year after year;
To thank her he never forgets;
With his rosy-cheeked children and beautiful wife
The heart of his heart, and the life of his life,
The sun of his peace never sets.
We grow in grace if day by day
We keep in mind to watch and pray,
Thus walking in the Heavenward way.
But, drifting from the guiding hand
Of Him who rules the sea and land,
We wreck ourselves on barren strand,
In name of Him who for us died,
We cry for help, when deeply tried,
Receive it, whatso'er betide.
Of good we sow some scattered seed,
We help to shield the bruised reed,
Supply to want, the urgent need.
Then once more hope to reach the goal,
For faith with works will save a soul,
Though hostile billows round it roll.
Thus tempest-tost, we struggle on;
Now sad, now cheered, till life is gone,
And trust to hear the bless'd, well done!
[The editor is indebted to his friend, George A. Blake, Esq., of the
Elkton Bar, for the following sketch of his life.]
George Johnston, the editor and compiler of this book, was born in
Philadelphia, May 15, 1829, the place of his birth being on Penn street,
one door south of the southeast corner of Penn and Lombard streets. He
is the oldest son of Isaac Johnston, and was named for his grandfather,
George Johnston, the youngest son of Isaac Johnson, who lived on his
farm, one mile west of the east end of Mason and Dixon's line, as early
as 1755. There is reason to believe that the earliest member of the
family who lived in that neighborhood was Samuel Johnston, who resided
there as early as 1708.
Mr. Johnston's mother, Susan Curry, was a cousin of his father, she
being the daughter of Ann Spear, the grandmother of Emma Alice Browne, a
sketch of whose life appears in this Volume.
When about two years of age, the subject of this sketch was placed in
charge of his paternal grandmother and his uncle, George Johnston, who
resided on the homestead, in Cecil county. Here he was carefully
nurtured and trained, and here were planted the seeds which have since
sprung up and brought forth fruit in his intellectual and moral life.
The family being Presbyterian in training, and of the type from which
sprang those who in earlier years drafted the Mecklenberg Declaration,
the lad was early imbued with those religious principles which ever
serve as the true basis of mental growth and moral purpose.
The educational advantages of a half century ago were not such as are
enjoyed by the youth of to-day; but such as the neighborhood provided
and his uncle's means afforded, were placed at the disposal of the boy,
who soon manifested an aptitude to learn. When but five years of age he
was sent to what was then called a "Subscription School," kept in the
neighborhood. This he attended during the next seven years, and in the
Winter time until the year 1849, when he took charge as teacher of a
school, in the Center School House, situated near Fair Hill, in Cecil
In the Spring of 1847 Mr. Johnston spent three months in Chesapeake City
(in this county) as an apprentice to the carpenter business. He
completed his trade in the neighborhood in which he had been raised, and
from the year 1851 to 1864 spent his time about equally in teaching
school and working at his trade.
When the war of the rebellion broke out in 1861, Mr. Johnston, without
hesitation, took the side of the Union, and was, during all those dark
days, an ardent supporter of the Government, the intensity of his
convictions being no doubt increased by the result of his observations
during a business trip to Texas and through the South in the Winter of
eighteen hundred and sixty and sixty-one.
In the Constitutional Convention of this State in 1864 he served with
ability as committee clerk, having accepted the position at the
solicitation of the late David Scott (of John), who was a member of that
body. While acting as committee clerk, Mr. Johnston had the honor of
engrossing that section of the Constitution which abolished slavery in
the State of Maryland. Many years afterwards he presented the pen used
on that occasion to Frederick Douglass, then United States Marshal of
the District of Columbia.
Mr. Johnston's health, which had always been precarious, became so bad
in 1875 that he was obliged to abandon his trade and turn his attention
to another occupation. Accordingly, two years later he became connected
with _The Cecil Whig_, and for about three years had charge of its local
columns. While associated with that journal, his attention was attracted
to the mine of wealth offered to the investigator by the early history
of Cecil county. Prompted by a love of historical investigation, he was
led to make researches into this mine--a task hitherto largely
unattempted or ineffectually prosecuted. The results of these studies
enriched the columns of _The Cecil Whig_ during a period of three years,
and attracted wide attention. In 1881 he published the "History of Cecil
County, Md., and the Early Settlements Around the Head of the Chesapeake
Bay and on the Delaware River, with Sketches of Some of the Old Families
of Cecil County." This work, which embodied the results of the author's
investigations during a period of some years, is one of rare value. To
those who have given but little thought to the subject, it is ever a
matter of surprise to learn how closely the history of Cecil and the
surrounding counties is interwoven with that of our common country, and
how valuable as data of the past are the materials which invited the
lover of truth to their discovery. One can scarcely estimate the
laborious research involved in the task of gathering the component parts
of a history which stretched over a period of nearly two hundred and
seventy-five years. Old volumes, musty records, masses of court
documents, correspondence (official and otherwise), previous historical
attempts, personal knowledge, tradition and personal interviews, were
all laid under contribution by the author, and served as sources of his
authority. These he has woven together with such judgment in selection,
skill in arrangement and force of style and diction, that just as
"Gray's Elegy" alone has placed him in the front rank of poets, so this
one work has given the author a high and permanent place among the
historians of our country. The work attempted is so well done, and
withal so accurate and reliable as one of reference and authority, that
in recognition of its merits Mr. Johnston has been elected a member of
the Historical Societies of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and
On January 1, 1883, he became local editor of _The Cecil Democrat_, and
was in such capacity connected with that newspaper for three years and a
Early in life Mr. Johnston was a pupil of David Scott (of James), who
then taught a school in the Fourth district of Cecil county, and whose
sister, Miss Hannah F. Scott, he subsequently married. The scholar being
advanced in studies beyond the other pupils of the school, naturally a
close intimacy was formed between him and his teacher. This afterwards
deepened into a friendship which continued without interruption until
Mr. Scott's death, and was the means of creating in Mr. Johnston an
ardent love of poetry. Since 1851 he has written a number of poems, some
of which have appeared in print. These have been so well received by the
public that the author, in deference to the wishes of some of his
friends, has ventured to include the following rhymes in this work:
HERE AND HEREAFTER.
Sad echoes of unequal strife,
Go sighing through the aftermath,
That skirts the dark uncertain path,
That leads me to the close of life;--
And years ago dark shadows fell
Athwart the amber sky of youth,
Blighting the bloom of hope and truth,
That erst had blossom'd all too well.
The world's great heart beats wild and high,
With wealth of bliss and love untold--
While I with unblanch'd eye behold
Its fading phantoms wane and die.
Without a sigh I mark their flight;
A stranger to the world unknown,
Amid its mazes all alone,
I wander in Egyptian night.
I worship not at its cold shrine,
Nor fear the terror of its frown,
It cannot chain my spirit down,
The soaring of my soul confine.
For ah! we parted at the tomb,
Where buried hopes of youthful years,
Embalm'd in sorrow's bitter tears,
Lie mouldering within the gloom.
Ah! few and dim the lights that gleam
Around me in life's dismal maze,
Scarce seen amid the somber haze
That shrouds me in life's dismal dream.
I never drank the wine of bliss,
Made sweeter by the wealth of joy;
My cup is mix'd with griefs alloy,
And I have tasted only this.
Life's problem oft to solve, I try,
And hope I have not lived in vain,
And borne this galling fetter chain
Through all its years without a sigh.
Some tears, perhaps, I may have dried--
My own in sympathy I shed
O'er joys and hopes of others dead,
By sorrow's legions crucified.
Earthly joys, alas! are fleeting,
Shadowy and evanescent,
Scarce full orb'd before the crescent
Tells us of their final setting.
And soon our starry dreams are wreck'd,
And all our earthly hopes sublime
Lie stranded on the shores of Time,
In drapery of woe bedeck'd,
Yet I know 'tis vain repining;--
Though to-day the sky with sorrow
May be overcast, to-morrow
All the love-lights may be shining,
Made brighter by the long eclipse;
And shadows of earth's dreary night,
That shrouded from my spirit's sight,
Life's glorious Apocalypse.
To tread this weary round of Toil
Is not the whole of mortal life;--
There is an unseen inner strife,
Where battling for the victor's spoil,
The wrong contendeth with the right,--
Passion and pride with gentleness
Pity with sorrow and distress--
And faith with sin's deep with'ring blight.
And truth my spirit oft beguiles,
While her dear face is wreath'd in smiles,
By whisp'ring sweetly unto me;
As thou hast measured, it shall be
In justice meted out to thee,
When thou hast reached the blissful isles
Beyond the misty veil of Time;
Thou'lt find a rest from earthly wars,
And healing for thy earthly scars,
Within that sweet supernal clime.
THE TURTLE'S SERMON.
An old and crafty terrapin,
Who lately found his speech,
Like many another simple lout,
Concluded he could preach.
And so he waddled to the shore,
And thus address'd his friends--
The bullfrogs and the snappers bold,
About their latter ends.
And told them all how they must be
Made into soup at last;
And how the serpent sharp can see
When last year's hide is cast.
And how the wary pickerel
Enjoys the minnow sweet,
Which he doth never fail to catch,
When it goes out to skate;
And how the beaver builds his house
Within his winter dam;
And how the oyster lays its egg,
And hatches out a clam;
And how the busy bumble bee,
Doth blow his little horn,
Whene'er he goes in quest of food,
Amid the standin' corn:
And how the gentle butterfly
Sings many a merry tune
Because he's glad he has escaped
From out the old cocoon;
And how the rabbit flies his kite,
When he can find a string;
And how the owl sits up all night,
To hear the squirrel sing;
And many other curious things
That did his hearers good,--
Of cats that did a swimmin' go
And eels that chew'd the cud;
And toads that dance upon their ears
When they a courtin' go;
And moles that stand upon their heads,
That they may see the show.
His sermon, as you see, was queer,
And muchly out of joint;--
And 'cause the preacher took no text,
He failed to make his point.
And soon his hearers all grew tired,
And mortified and vex'd,
Because he chose to play the fool,
And preach without a text.
And so they left him there alone--
And this is what befel--
He grew so mad it broke his heart,
And almost burst his shell.
If you successfully would preach,
Be sure a text to take,
And stick unto it like a leech
Until your point you make.
THE DOG WITH THE BEAUTIFUL EYE.
Someone has written a song about "Tray,"
But no one has courage to write about Skye;
So methinks I will rhyme, in my own rugged way,
Of the queer little dog with the beautiful eye.
The land that he came from is said to be cold,
And nature has dress'd him its storms to defy--
In the ugliest coat that ever was seen--
But giv'n him a charming and beautiful eye.
His coat is so ugly it makes him look old
And scrawny and poor and most ready to die;
But you'd change your opinion, I think, if you saw
The life and the beauty that beams from his eye.
'Twere hard to conceive of an uglier thing
Than this queer little dog from the island of Skye--
Grotesque and uncouth, and ugly as sin--
Yet bless'd with a mild and a beautiful eye.
Among dogs, like the heathen Chinee among men,
His civilization is not very high;
But then his dark ways we can always excuse
On account of his lovely and charming bright eye.
He is sad and forlorn, yet so gentle and kind,
You could not but love him I'm sure it you'd try--
This dog so demure and so kindly inclined--
This dog with the mild and the beautiful eye.
Sometimes he will follow his master to church;
Tho' his piety's weak, I must say with a sigh,
Perhaps he's as good as some other ones there
Whose piety seems to be all in their eye.
He's full of strange antics--most little dogs are--
And tho' he's forlorn, he can mischief descry;
Indeed--I'm strongly impress'd with the fact--
It eternally lurks in his beautiful eye.
His hair is the queerest that dog ever wore;
Tho' kind to his master, of strangers he's shy;
He is wise in his way; deeply learned in dog lore;
Intelligence beams from his beautiful eye.
He's patient and faithful, affectionate too;
My love for his virtues time's lapse will defy;
I'm sure, if you knew him, you'd love him, like me,
This dog with the mild and the beautiful eye.
IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE IT, TRY IT.
'Tis better far to wear away
In honest strong endeavor,
Than idly rust in slow decay
And work and labor never;
By honest toil to earn your bread,
Or wherewithal to buy it;
'Tis very well, and truly said--
If you don't believe it, try it.
Ye idle loafers in the streets,
The honest workman spurning,
Know this--a living to be sweet
Is better for the earning.
To loaf and lounge and lie about,
On others' toil to riot,
Is only practiced by a lout;
No honest man will try it.
Oh! him that earns his daily bread!
Despise and spurn him never,
A thousand blessings on his head
'Tis he that feeds you ever.
Should others work no more than you
Quite spare would be your diet,
Your gills would turn a livid hue
If they would stop and try it.
Then go to work with hands or head,
You'll surely profit by it;
And strive to earn some honest bread--
You can, if you will try it.
Ye sweeter ones of gentler sex,
Who tread the pavement hourly,
I do not wish your hearts to vex,
Then pray don't take it sourly--
Methinks sometimes 'tis no disgrace
Tho' seldom you are nigh it,
To be at home, your proper place,--
If you don't believe it, try it.
Are there no duties there to do?
If so "be up and doing!"
No clothes to mend, that you could sew,
No beer that's worth the brewing?
Then stay at home, sometimes, at least,
My counsel, don't defy it,
A little rest's as good's a feast,
If you don't believe it, try it.
'Tis easy quite to do the right,
And in it there is beauty,
What e'er you do, do with your might,
But always do your duty.
Be true unto yourself, and then--
Wise counsel--don't decry it,
You can't be false to other men--
If you don't believe it, try it.
BYE AND BYE.
Shadowy, dreamy phantoms ever rising
Up before wild Fancy's eyes,
With their untold and beauteous splendor,
Make us present things despise.
And procrastination whispers softly,
Wait a little longer yet;
Rashness will defeat your purpose, mortal,
And be cause of deep regret.
Wait with patience just a moment longer,
Then with safety clutch them fast--
Thus the spirit of delay beguiles us,
Till the lucky time is past.
Moments freighted deep with joy ecstatic
All unheeded pass away;
While we musing scan the misty future,
Hoping they will ever stay.
Bye and bye! may gaily point us forward,
Unto scenes with joy o'ercast--
Only mirage of Life's barren desert,
They are found to be at last.
Bye and bye! with all its artful scheming,
Though it may seem most sublime,
Wisdom horror-stricken spurneth from her,
Knowing only present time.
Reason tells us now's the time for action,
And this truth will ever last,
Written as it is throughout all nature,
On the pages of the Past.
WILLIAM JAMES JONES.
William James Jones was born in Elkton, August 25, 1829, and received
his education at the common school and Academy in that town. His youth
and early manhood was spent in mechanical pursuits and in the
improvement of his mind by a desultory course of reading, and in
perfecting himself in the knowledge of the Latin language.
In 1852, Mr. Jones purchased a half interest in the _Cecil Whig_ and
became the editor of that journal for a short time, and until its
founder P.C. Ricketts, who was then editing the _Daily News_, of
Baltimore, returned from that city and resumed the duties of editor of
In 1853, Mr. Jones commenced the study of the law in the office of John
C. Groome, Esq., in Elkton and was admitted to the Bar, September 21,
In politics Mr. Jones was a Whig, but allied himself with the American
party when it was in course of formation and continued to be an active
member as long as the party lasted. In 1857 he was appointed State's
Attorney for Cecil county, to fill a vacancy, and in 1859 was elected to
the same office for the term of four years. At the outbreak of the war
of the rebellion Mr. Jones allied himself with the Union cause and was
elected to the House of Delegates by the Union party in 1863, and was
appointed two years afterwards, United States' District Attorney for the
district of Maryland, and held the office for about a year, and until he
was removed by President Andrew Johnson for opposing his policy of
reconstruction. In 1858 he married Miss Mary Jane Smith, of Connecticut.
They are the parents of one son and two daughters, the eldest of whom is
the wife of Rev. Walter E. Avery, of the Wilmington Conference.
Mr. Jones is one of the most earnest and successful members of the
Elkton Bar, and though not a voluminous writer, in early life
contributed poetry to the columns of the _Cecil Whig_, of which the
following poems are specimens.
The autumn winds are moaning round
And through the branches sighing,
And autumn leaves upon the ground
All seared and dead are lying.
The summer flowers have ceased to bloom
For autumn frosts have blighted,
And laid them in a cheerless tomb
By summer sun unlighted.
Thus all our "fondest hopes decay"
Beneath the chill of sorrow,
The joys that brightest seem to-day
Are withered by the morrow.
But there are flowers that bloom enshrin'd
In hearts by love united,
Unscathed by the autumn wind,
By autumn frost unblighted.
And there are hearts that ever thrill
With friendship warm and glowing,
And joys unseared by sorrow's chill
With hallowed truth o'erflowing.
In a quiet country churchyard
From the city far away,
Where no marble stands in mockery
Above the mould'ring clay;
Where rears no sculptured monument--
There grass and flowers wave
'Round a spot where mem'ry lingers--
My once-loved Mary's grave.
They laid her down to slumber
In this lonely quiet spot,
They raised no stone above her,
No epitaph they wrote;
They pressed the fresh mould o'er her
As earth to earth they gave--
Their hearts with anguish bursting,
They turned from Mary's grave.
She knew not much of grief or care
Ere yet by Death's cold hand,
Her soul was snatched from earth away
To join the spirit band:
Her mild blue eye hath lost its gleam,
No more her sufferings crave
The hand of pity, but the tear
Falls oft o'er Mary's grave.
I too would pay my tribute there,
I who have loved her well.
And drop one silent, sorrowing tear
This storm of grief to quell;
'Tis all the hope I dare indulge,
'Tis all the boon I crave,
To pay the tribute of a tear,
Loved Mary, o'er thy grave.
Anselmo was the nom de plume of David Scott, of James.
I know thee not, and yet I fain
Would call thee brother, friend;
I know that friendship, virtue, truth,
All in thy nature blend.
I know by thee the formal bow,
The half deceitful smile
Are valued not; they ill become
The man that's free from guile.
I know thee not, and yet my breast
Thrills ever at thy song,
And bleeds to know, that thou hast felt
The weight of "woe and wrong."
'Tis said the soul with care opprest
Grows patient 'neath the weight,
And after years can bear it well
E'en though the load be great.
And, that the heart oft stung by grief
Is senseless to the pain,
And bleeding bares it to the barb,
To bid it strike again.
I care not if the heart has borne
All that the world can give,
Of "disappointment, hate and scorn;"
In hope 'twill ever live,
And feel the barb'd and poison'd stings
Of anguish, grief and care,
As keenly as in years gone by,
When first they entered there.
The weary soul by care opprest
May utter no complaints,
But loaths the weight it cannot bear
And weakens till it faints.
Bring flowers for the youthful throng,
Of variegated glow,
And twine of them a gaudy wreath
Around each childish brow.
Bring flowers for the maiden gay,
Bring flowers rich and rare,
And weave the buds of brightest hue
Among her waving hair.
Bring flowers to the man of grief--
They hold the syren art,
To charm the care-look from his brow,
The sorrow from his heart.
Bring flowers for the sick girl's couch;
'Twill cheer her languid eye
To know the flowers have bloomed again,
And see them ere she die.
Bring flowers when her soul has fled,
And place them on her breast,
Tho' ere their blooming freshness fade
We lay her down to rest.
Life at best is but a dream,
We're launched upon a rapid stream,
Gushing from some unknown source,
Rushing swiftly on its course,
Save when amid some painful scene,
And then it flows calm and serene,
That we may gaze in mute despair
On every hated object there.
Fortune our bark and hope our chart,
With childish glee on our voy'ge we start,
The boat glides merrily o'er the wave.
But ah! there's many a storm to brave,
And many a dang'rous reef to clear,
And rushing rapid o'er which to steer.
Anon the stream grows wide and deep,
While here and there wild breakers leap,
O'er rocks half hidden by the flood,
Where for ages they have stood,
Upon whose bleak and rugged crest,
Many a proud form sank to rest,
And many a heart untouched by care
Laid its unstained offering there.
Ah! they have met a happier lot,
Whose bark was wrecked ere they forgot
The pleasing scenes of childhood's years,
'Mid that tempestuous vale of tears
Which farther on begirts the stream,
Where phantom hopes like lightning gleam
Through the murky air, and flit around
The brain with hellish shrieking sound
Conjuring up each mad'ning thought,
With black despair or malice fraught.
Swiftly, on in our course we go
To where sweetest flow'rs are hanging low
We stretch our hand their stems to clasp
But ah! they're crush'd within our grasp,
While forward th' rushing stream flows fast
And soon the beauteous scene is past.
At last we view another sight,
The shore with drifted snow is white,
The stream grows dark and soon we feel
An icy coldness o'er us steal,
We cast our eyes ahead and see
The ocean of Eternity.
When once amid its peaceful waves
No holier joy the bosom craves--
Ten thousand stars are shining bright
Yet one reflects a purer light--
No sooner does its glowing blaze
Attract the spirit's wand'ring gaze,
Than all is turned to joy we see--
That star is Immortality.
JOHN HENRY KIMBLE.
John Henry Kimble was born in Buckingham township, Bucks county,
Pennsylvania, September 8, 1850. He is the second son of Henry H.
Kimble, and is descended on his father's side from English stock, being
a lineal descendant from Governor John Carver, who came to this country
in the Mayflower in 1620. On his mother's side, his grandfather, Seruch
Titus, was a prominent citizen of Bucks county, and, as his name
indicates, was of Italian descent.
Mr. Kimble moved with his parents to the Fourth Election district of
Cecil county, in the Spring of 1855, and has been engaged in farming all
his life, except two years spent in teaching in our public schools. He
is a popular music teacher and performer on musical instruments, and has
won local distinction as a debater.
In 1870 his first verses were published in the _Morris Scholastic_ a
newspaper published in Grundy county, Illinois. He afterwards wrote for
the _Cecil Whig_. In 1875 he wrote "The Patrons of Husbandry," a serial
poem, which was published by the Grange organ of the State of
Pennsylvania, in seven parts, with illustrations. It was pronounced by
competent critics to be one of the "best and most natural descriptions
of farm life ever written." It attracted wide attention and received
favorable comment from the N.Y. _World_ and other leading papers. He
wrote another serial in 1876, entitled "Two Granges."
Mr. Kimble makes no pretensions as a writer and has never allowed his
love of literature to interfere with his farm work. In the Winters of
1872, '73 and '74 he taught in the public schools of this county with
satisfaction to his patrons.
In December, 1873, he was married to Miss Sarah Teresa Gallagher,
daughter of John E. Gallagher, of the Fourth district. They have five
children, three daughters and two sons. In 1880, Mr. Kimble moved from
the farm near Fair Hill, where he had spent twenty-five years, to
Appleton, where he still resides. He is now a frequent and popular
contributor to the _Cecil Democrat_.
HIS LAST TUNE.
The shade of death had haunted him
Through many a weary day;
With dread disease his youthful frame
Was wasting slow away.
He took his violin and sighed,--
"I am too weak to play."
But, rising in his cushioned chair,
He grasps, with trembling hand,
The neck and bow, and tunes the strings
And thinks of concerts grand;
And hears the crowd applauding loud
As when he led the band.
Inspired with supernatural power
He plays a melody,
Forgetting all the terrors of
His mortal malady;
And, as of yore, his soul once more
Is with the gay and free.
Something responsive in the soul
Wakes with melodious sound
A lively melody that makes
The languid pulse rebound,
While recollection takes the mind
Through many a happy round.
Now fast, now slow, he draws the bow
To suit his changing will;
A march, a waltz, a polka, and
An intricate quadrille,
Each in its turn is rendered with
An artist's ready skill.
With failing strength he strikes at length
His favorite--"Home, Sweet Home;"
His dreamy spirit ceases with
The pleasing past to roam,
And, through the future, seems to rise
Up, up to Heaven's high dome.
And mingling with his violin
He hears the joyful strains
That vibrate o'er angelic hosts,
Where song supernal reigns!
Oh! glimpse of glory! lifting him
Above all mortal pains.
The last sweet note of that sweet tune
Within the room has died--
And now he's playing on the harp
Upon the other side
Of death's dark river, safe and free,
Among the glorified.
ADVICE TO AN AMBITIOUS YOUTH.
You look with joy to-day along life's vista clear,
And great will be your deeds through many a happy year,
And smiling friends will come to crown with glad acclaim
A hero, when you reach the glittering heights of fame.
Your life will be above the common herd, I trow,
You will not toil and drudge as they are doing now:
Success attend your steps; a word I would not say
To chill your warmest hopes, or shade your sunny way.
Your mark is high, my child, then aim your arrow straight,
The world has need to-day, of heroes good and great,
You feel so strong; and wish life's battle would begin,
You'll find a chance ere long, to do your best and win.
But may be you will fail, 'tis ten to one you will,
And men will laugh, to see your lack of pluck and skill,
Perhaps you will not have one mighty thing to do;
But many little things will prove if you are true.
To carry brick and stone for someone else's wall,
To do the hardest part and get no praise at all,
To see a weaker man upheld by circumstance,
And find the path hedged high, just when you would advance;
Or, in the jostling crowd, to slip, and fall, and see,
How many men will scoff at your adversity,
And though your heart may ache, you must not shed a tear,
But plan, and push, and work, and smother all your fear.
No darling mother then can sympathize with you,--
No father when you stick, will kindly pull you through;
Through years of grasping toil the wealth you gain, and fame,
May vanish all, and leave you poverty and shame.
But you need not be lost, all people are not bad,
The Lord has servants good, as He has ever had;
They'll find you in your grief, and lend a helping hand,
And point the road that leads up to the "Better Land."
Remember this, my child, wherever you may go,
That God rules over all, though it may not seem so;
And what you sow, you'll reap, with joy or misery,
If not in time, O, surely in eternity.
A dear old friend of mine is very ill, I hear,
I have not seen his face for many a weary year.
Ah, many toilsome days we've spent with little train,
And he was poor and weak, but never would complain.
I knew his fears and hopes, he knew my hopes and fears.
We shared each other's joys and wept each other's tears!
He had his faults, and I oft sinned in word and deed;
But through our troubles all, we seldom disagreed.
And when we did, we soon were truly reconciled;
So, while we might have quarrelled, we compromised and smiled.
But fortune bade us part; we bid good-bye at last,
Each toiled as bravely on as both had in the past.
I've written him, and he has answered prompt and true;
But we have never met as we had promised to.
For he was busy there and I was busy here,
And so our lots were cast apart from year to year.
But when a mutual friend told me this afternoon
That he was very sick and wished to see me soon,
I left my home at once and on the earliest train
I'm speeding to his home across the distant plain.
He looks for me! and I, to reach him scarce can wait,
O, for the lightning's speed! that I may not be late.
The fields seem spinning round, the trees seem flying past,
The engine thunders on, the station's reached at last.
And to my friend I haste, to greet him as of yore,
Rejoicing in his thrift, I pause beside his door.
A servant asks me in, and there upon his bed,
Behold my dear old friend, who sent for me--just dead!
I speak his name once more, and check the rising tears,
And kiss his honest face, changed little through the years.
"He asked for you," they said, but could no longer wait;
Alas! alas! to be but fifteen minutes late.
AFTER THE SHOWER.
After the shower the fields are green,
The winds are hushed, the air is cool,
The merry children now are seen
Barefoot wading the wayside pool,
Loitering on their way to school,
After the morning shower.
After the shower the farmers walk
Around their homes with thanks sincere.
The shower is foremost in their talk,
See! how it makes their crops appear,
The finest seen for many a year.
Thanks for the gentle shower.
Westward the dark clouds roll away
To vanish in the ether blue,
Eastward the curtains light and gay
Exclude the glorious sun from view
Till, as they shift, he flashes through
And lights the charming scene.
Against the melting clouds, behold
The lofty arch, the beauteous bow,
The sacred sign to saints of old,
As bright as when first seen below,
How fair the matchless colors glow
After the cooling shower.
Washed by the countless, crystal drops,
Awhile from swarming insects free,
The cattle clip the clover tops
Forth wandering o'er the fertile lea,
The birds sing with unusual glee
After the drenching shower.
Over the hills and valleys green
Wild flowers are blooming fresh and fair,
In cottage lawns and yards are seen
The good results of woman's care,
Tulips and pinks and lillies rare
Fresh from the timely shower.
TO THE MEMORY OF DAVID SCOTT (OF JOHN.)
I weep for the loss of a leader in thought,
Whose lessons of truth, with simplicity taught,
Have bless'd and encouraged the humble and poor,
Who always were welcomed with joy at his door.
How happy the hours when we gathered around,
To hear his solutions of problems profound;
And bright through my mem'ry what pleasure returns
When I think of his rendering of Byron and Burns.
The "Saturday Night," and "To Mary in Heaven,"
With true Scottish accent were touchingly given,
And reckless "Don Juan's" most comical plight,--
And pathos of "Harold" he gave with delight.
The pages of Hebraic sages divine,
Made vocal by him with new beauties did shine;
His choice conversation with children and men,
Was often enriched with a song from his pen.
In public debate, whosoever arose,
His well-grounded argument firm to oppose,
Though sharp the contention, was forced to declare,
That he was an honorable champion there.
And, those he offended, as everyone must,
Whose thoughts are progressive, whose actions are just,
With kindness he reasoned all errors to show,
And made a staunch friend of a bickering foe.
He owned like a hero the penalty dread--
"By the sweat of thy brow shalt thou earn thy bread,"
And his toil through summer, and mid-winter snows,
Has made the wild wilderness bloom as the rose.
The choicest of fruits in profusion appeared,
On trees that he planted, and vines that he reared;
And few things delighted him more than to send,
A rare little treat to an invalid friend.
He scorned false pretences and arrogant pride,
The follies of fashion he loved to deride;
But acknowledged true merit wherever 'twas shown,
By a serf in his hut, or a king on his throne.
His faults be forgotten, we've all gone astray,
Lord, show us in mercy, the straight, narrow way,
Peace, peace to his ashes, and sweet be his rest,
With angels of light, in the home of the blest.
Rosy morn is brightly breaking,
Cheerful birds melodious sing,
Earth with thankful songs awaking
Hails with joy the merry Spring,
Silver clouds in sunlight glowing
Slowly float the azure dome,
Tender flowers are sweetly blowing
Round each cozy cottage home.
Dreary winter's icy fingers
Have released the bending tree,
Genial life reviving, lingers
O'er the cold and sterile lea.
From the rocky, snow-clad mountains,
Where the breath of sunny Spring
Has unfettered muffled fountains,
Hear the songs of gladness ring.
In the morn of playful childhood,
With dear friends 'mid sylvan bowers,
O'er the fields and through the wildwood,
Culling all the choicest flow'rs;
Twining wreaths, each other crowning,
Dew-drops bright for royal gems,
Ne'er a thought of worldly frowning
On the precious diadems.
Marched we on with true devotion,
While the scenes of after years,
Stirr'd the spirits deep emotion,
With alternate hopes and fears.
While before us lay life's prizes,
Dazzling in the sunlight gleam,--
How we gazed with sad surprises,
When they vanished like a dream.
Many happy hearts grew weary,
Rosy cheeks grew pale and white,
Pleasant paths grew dark and dreary,
Swept by storms of withering blight;
How the changing years have fleeted,
Strewing wrecks on either side,
Cherished schemes have been defeated,
And the cares of age abide.
But when cheery Spring advances,
Crowned with gems of beauty rare,
Pleasure like a fairy, dances
O'er the landscape everywhere,
And the tide of life flows higher,
Gloom's dark curtains are withdrawn,
And again youth's hidden fire,
Thrills me as in life's fresh dawn.
James McCauley was born August 23, 1809, near Mechanics Valley, in Cecil
county, and received his education in the log schoolhouse in that
neighborhood known as Maffit's schoolhouse. He learned the trade of a
cooper with his father John McCauley. After coming of age he taught
school for a few years, and then commenced making threshing machines and
horse powers, doing the wood and iron work himself. In 1836 he removed
to New Leeds, where he has since resided.
In 1841, Mr. McCauley was appointed County Surveyor by Governor Pratt,
and served in that capacity for several years and has ever since
practiced land surveying with much success in all parts of Cecil county.
In 1857 he was elected Register of Wills and served until the Fall of
1863. In 1864 he was elected a delegate to the General Assembly of the
State, and served in the session of 1865, and the special session of
1866. Mr. McCauley has always been deeply interested in the cause of
education and was chairman of the committee on that subject in the House
of Delegates. While in the Legislature he was instrumental in securing
the passage of the law prohibiting the sale of intoxicating liquors in
Cecil county on election day.
In the early part of 1868 Mr. McCauley was appointed School
Commissioner, and soon afterwards Chief Judge of the Orphan's Court, to
fill the vacancy caused by the death of the late Levi H. Evans, which he
did with so much acceptability that he has since been elected for four
terms of four years each.
In 1834, Mr. McCauley married Sarah, the youngest daughter of Hugh
Beard, a well-known surveyor of this county. His first wife died in
1846, leaving five children. In 1849 he married Millicent, daughter of
Jacob Price, of Sassafras Neck.
Mr. McCauley commenced to write poetry when a young man and has
contributed poetry, but much more prose, to the newspapers of this
county during the last half century.
He needs no monument, no marble pile,
'Tis vain thus to commemorate a name
That must endure in noble grandeur while
His country lives,--the temple of his fame.
As early youth in brightness vies,
With advent of the day,
When Sol first opes his golden eyes,
And chases night away.
So may the virtuous man compare,
In his declining day,
With setting sun, in ev'ning fair,
Passing from earth away.
And though his face no more we see,
He still reflects his light,
And shines with glorious majesty,
In other realms more bright.
And still his light doth ne'er decline,
But gath'ring up fresh store,
Through ages yet to come, shall shine,
And shine, forever more.
Enraptured thoughts intuitive,
Make haste to greet thy page.
Melodious with sweet accord,
And classic too with age.
And ever may the sacred nine,
Lead thee to their embrace,
Inspire thy song with themes divine,
Choice gems select from nature's mine,
Enriched with matchless grace.
Be thine a life of social joy,
Removed from care and pain,
On earth thy early years employ,
With prospect of that gain
No mortal here can realize,
Eternal bliss beyond the skies.
Youth's the time; Youth's the season!
Learn and labor while you may,
Hear the voice of age and reason,--
Labor hard in morning's prime,
Hasten on without delay,
Make the most of early time--
Up betimes, nor let the sun
Find you sleeping or at play,
Sleep enough when life is done--
Cull the sweets from ev'ry flower,
Seize the moments while you may,
Nor idly pass one sunny hour--
ON THE DEATH OF A CHILD.
Dear sister, has thy little son,
Been snatched from thy embrace,
Thy fav'rite child, thy darling one,
Has left a vacant place.
His father oft with little John
Beguil'd the hours away,
To watch his little fav'rite son,
Enjoy his childish play;
For there was laughter in his eye,
And health was on his cheek,
I fancy that he's standing by,
And almost hear him speak.
The patt'ring of his little feet,
In fancy's ear is heard,
The music of his voice as sweet,
As singing of a bird.
The objects that we fondly prize,
How soon they pass away,
And we are left to realize,
The emblems of decay.
Dear sister, be resigned then,
Nor let your faith grow dim,
He cannot come to you again,
But you can go to him.
Awake and sing, for early Spring
Comes forth with beauty gay,
With joy elate, both small and great
Now bless the happy day.
Through all the earth comes beauty forth,
So sweet, so fresh and fair,
And ev'ry sound that echoes round,
Comes with a gladsome air.
While from the hill the little rill,
Comes trickling down so clear,
Its bubbling voice made me rejoice,
In many an early year.
Along the mead where'er we tread,
Will little flow'rets spring,
And through the air in colors rare,
Waves many a tiny wing.
Back to their home, the songsters come,
And gaily, blithely sing,
The sun looks gay, I love the day,
The sweet and early spring.
When storms arise, and tumults jar,
And wreck this mortal form,
There is a bright, a lovely star,
That shines above the storm.
'Tis hope that buoys our spirits up,
Along the chequer'd way,
And when we drain the bitter cup
It points a brighter day.
Though all the ills of life stand by,
It proffers still to save;
And when the shades of death are nigh,
It looks beyond the grave.
How sad the breath of autumn sighs,
With mourning and decay;
The woods are clothed in varying dyes,
Of funeral array.
Where beauty bloomed of late around,
On mountain top and vale,
Now wither'd foliage strews the ground,
And tells a piteous tale.
And summer birds are on the wing,
Bound for a warmer sky,
They greeted us in early spring--
They bid us now good bye.
So pass away our early years,
Youth sinks into decay,
And age, like autumn soon appears,
And quick we pass away.
MRS. IDA McCORMICK.
Mrs. Ida McCormick was born at Cameron Park, the family
homestead, one mile south of the pleasant little village of Zion,
Cecil county, Maryland, December 31, 1850. She is the daughter
of William Cameron (of Robert,) and a cousin of Annie M. Biles;
her mother Anna M. Oldham, being a sister of Catherine R. Oldham,
the mother of Annie M. Darlington, whose biography may
be found in this volume. She was educated at the Church-side
Seminary, at Zion, and at an early age engaged in teaching in the
public schools of her native county. She commenced to write
poetry when quite young, and for some years occasionally contributed
to the columns of the _Cecil Whig_.
On the 7th of August, 1873, she married James McCormick, of
Woodlawn, and for about a year after her marriage resided with
her husband near that place. In 1876 the family removed to
Philadelphia where they have since resided, except short intervals
MY FANCY LAND.
I'm roaming to-day in a far-away land
Where the roses and violets grow,
Where white waves break on a silvery strand,
And are lost on the cliffs below.
High up in a palace of sparkling gold
Where voices are hushed and still,
Where lips are silent and hearts are cold,
And the days are rich with a glory untold,
And no one disputes my will.
The walls are rich with an amber light,
And waters in fountains fall,
There are landscapes which vie with Italy bright,
And servants within my call;
There are sounds of music, bewitchingly sweet,
With tender, plaintive chords,
Like the patter of tiny innocent feet,
Or the voices of joy when loved ones meet
And their hearts speak out, their words.
All day from my turret I watch the sails
That fleck the sweep of the tide,--
Whose passengers all are joyous and hale,
As into the harbor they ride.
They enter my golden castle gate,--
They roam thro' my stately halls,--
They rest in chambers furnished in state,
Then close by my glory-throne they wait,
Until I shall answer their call.
There are faces bright with a merry light
And the music of long ago;
And others dark as Lethe's night
And as cold as the winter's snow.
Hands that meet mine in a trusty clasp
With blushes that come and go,
Strangers to pain in this world so vast,
With its pleasure now and sorrow at last,
In the land we do not know.
They are bound for this strangely mystical land
So shadowy, lone and so dim,
And my castle's a port on the ocean strand,
Where they wait for the ferryman grim,
To row them away from the silvery beach
Beyond the foam of the tide,
Where a palace looms far away from their reach,
Whose gates are closed with a clang to each
Who have chosen the pathway wide.
They tell me I'm treading with careless feet
This thorny, deceitful path,
When the Master cometh my face to greet
He will open his vials of wrath.
But I turn again to the world so real,
And my "Fancy Land" grows dim,
Time's hand has taught me not to feel
The wounds which sympathy cannot heal,
And I anchor my faith in Him.
WITH THE TIDE.
Beneath the bright sun's dazzling ray,
She watched his vessel sail away
To distant, far-famed lands.
Her heart was gone,--upon her hand
Sparkled a diamond fair and grand,
Telling in silent jubilee
"His love is all the world to me."
Time goes by wings,--the years flew on,
The days had come,--the summers gone,
And still no loved one came
To feed the burning passion flame
Still glowing in her heart.
They told her "in another land
He captive held a heart and hand
And graced Dame Fashion's mart."
She listened to love's second tale
That came with Autumn's misty gale,
And hid her heart within the fold
Of satins rare, and lustrous gold,
Sadness so deep, must live untold
Shut in her marble palace high,
Reared almost up to touch the sky.
Haughty and cold her heart had grown,
For wealth and glory she lived alone,
Yet as oft she watched an out bound ship
Its prow in foamy waters dip,
The day came back when lip to lip
Her heart met his in a sad farewell.
Murmuring this sad and low refrain,
As cold and chill as winter rain--
"He's falser than human tongue can tell."
* * * * *
September's sun with yellow heat,
Fell burning where the waves had beat
With restless motion, against the shore,
And music like unto that of yore,
When a tiny speck in the clouds she saw,
Moving and nearing the pleasant land
Quietly, swiftly, as by a law.
Screening her brown eyes with her hand,
She saw it strike the pebbled sand,
And heard a glad shout cleave the air,
And saw a noble, manly form,
With locks of silvered raven hair,
And a heart with love and passion warm.
She held her breath in silent dread,
The crimson from her soft cheek fled,
Low at her feet he knelt;--
"No welcome for the leal and true?
Speak, darling, speak! it is my due,
Back through the years I've come to you
Faithful as when I went!"
"No answer still? my love, oh, why
No answer to my pleading cry?"
Thou'rt dead! Why have I lived for this?
To gain a life of shipwrecked bliss?
To distant lands to roam and then
Dead lips to welcome me again?
* * * * *
A funeral train,--all mourners great,
Pall-bearers clothed in robes of state,
The form they love more fair in death
Than when 'twas warmed by living breath,
A haughty man with silvered hair,
Among the strangers gathered there;--
A rose dropped by an unknown hand
With perfume from a foreign land,
Upon the casket lid,--
A ship at anchor in the bay,
That in the evening bore away
A form that landed yesterday.
THE OLD FASHION.
"The old, old fashion,--Death! Oh, thank God, all who see it, for
that older fashion yet, of Immortality!"
Despite all human passion,
And all that we can do,--
There is an old, old fashion
That comes to me and you.
It has come to me so often
That I know its meaning well,
Nothing its pain can soften
Nothing its power can quell.
When the battle-field was silent,
Gone to their final rest,
Dead in their last encampment
Lay the ones I loved the best.
And then, when my heart was lightest,
It came with a snake-like tread,
And darkened the day that was brightest,
Then left me with my dead.
It came in the wild March weather
With bluster of storm and sleet,
And stilled in our home forever
The patter of boyish feet.
And then,--God pity my treason,
When life again had smiled,
It came in the holiday season
And took from me my child.
"Give thanks for the old, old fashion,"
No, that can never be.
Where is the Divine compassion
That God has shown to me?
Fling wide each shining portal,--
Let me--a sinner through,--
Thank God for the immortal
Is all that I can do.
No prayer of love or passion
Can give my dead to me,
But I bless the old, old fashion,
MY BABY AND THE ROSE.
A rose tree grew by the garden wall,
And its highest blossom was just as tall
As my baby's curly head;
A lovely, fragrant, perfect rose,--
But sweeter from head to dimpled toes,
Was the baby I fondly led.
Now summer is over and winter gone,
And the winds of March are whistling on
Where the rose its petals shed;
No trace of rose perfumed and rare,
No baby face as seraph fair,
My baby sweet is dead.
The summer sun will shine again,
And 'neath the pattering, warm June rain,
Again the rose will bloom,
And so beyond these lowering skies
My baby dear, with smiling eyes,
Shall peer through earthly gloom,
And guide me with her angel hand
Through Heaven's gates,--and with me stand
Away from worldly woes,--
Where Heaven's flowers, divinely sweet,
Soften the path for weary feet
With perfume of the rose.
Folger McKinsey was born in Elkton, on the 29th of August, 1866, in the
cottage on Bow street now occupied by Thomas W. Green. His early life
was spent in Elkton, except a few years in childhood when his parents
resided in the West and South, until 1879, when they removed to
Philadelphia, taking their son with them. His paternal grandfather was a
Scotchman, and his grand parents on his mother's side were Germans, from
the country bordering on the Rhine. Through the marriage of his maternal
great grandmother he is distantly related to Daniel Defoe, the author of
Robinson Crusoe. Both his parents are persons of intellectual ability,
and have written verse, his mother having been a contributor to the
local newspapers of this county, and to several western journals.
Mr. McKinsey received his education at the primary school of Miss
Tabitha Jones, on Main street, in Elkton, where he was sent when seven
years of age. Except an attendance of eight months at the public school
of Elkton, he never attended any other schools. In early childhood he
showed a great desire to read, and is indebted to his relative, William
J. Jones, and to L. Marshall Haines and E.E. Ewing for the means of
gratifying his early thirst for information. Shortly after removing to
Philadelphia Mr. McKinsey entered a mercantile establishment as clerk,
but soon afterwards accepted a position in the office of a publishing
house, and subsequently entered the office of the Philadelphia and
Reading railroad company as clerk in the record department. While in the
office of the railroad company he wrote and published his first poem. It
is called "Satana Victo" and is written in blank verse. Since that time
he has been a prolific writer of both poetry and prose, much of which
has been published.
In October, 1884, Mr. McKinsey accepted the position of editor of the
_Shore Gazette_, a weekly journal published at Ocean Beach, N.J., which
he continued to fill for some months, when he returned to Philadelphia
and accepted a position as special writer on a prominent daily journal
of that city. In October, 1885, Mr. McKinsey accepted the position of
associate editor of the _Cecil Whig_, which he continued to fill until
the following March when he became editor of the _Daily_ and _Weekly
News_, of Frederick City, Maryland. During the time he was connected
with the _Whig_ he began the publication of a journal in Darby, called
the _Delaware County Independent_.
In January, 1886, Mr. McKinsey married Miss Fannie Holenrake Dungan, an
estimable young English lady of Camden, N.J. Mr. McKinsey is a great
admirer of Joaquin Miller and Walt Whitman, and a warm personal friend
of the latter.
Though young in years he writes with as much fluency and ease as if he
had been writing poetry for half an ordinary lifetime, and gives promise
of a brilliant career that will be creditable to his native town, and
beneficial to the human race.
WAITING THEIR CROWNS.
They wait, the forest monarchs tall,
In naked beauty on the hills,
Until the snows of Winter fall,
And icy arms embrace the rills.
The golden glory of the days,
When Indian Summer fills the land,
Descends in gleams and dreamful haze,
Like blessings from the Lord's right hand.
No matin call of tardy bird,
Long stayed by sunshine in the north,
Above the fluttering clouds is heard.
A moment's pause, then bursting forth
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