Стихотворения на английском языке:   Francis Bret Harte (1836 - 1902)



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Brief words, when actions wait, are well:
The prompter's hand is on his bell;
The coming heroes, lovers, kings,
Are idly lounging at the wings;
Behind the curtain's mystic fold
The glowing future lies unrolled;
And yet, one moment for the Past,
One retrospect,--the first and last.

'The world's a stage,' the Master said.
To-night a mightier truth is read:
Not in the shifting canvas screen,
The flash of gas or tinsel sheen;
Not in the skill whose signal calls
From empty boards baronial halls;
But, fronting sea and curving bay,
Behold the players and the play.

Ah, friends! beneath your real skies
The actor's short-lived triumph dies:
On that broad stage of empire won,
Whose footlights were the setting sun,
Whose flats a distant background rose
In trackless peaks of endless snows;
Here genius bows, and talent waits
To copy that but One creates.

Your shifting scenes: the league of sand,
An avenue by ocean spanned;
The narrow beach of straggling tents,
A mile of stately monuments;
Your standard, lo! a flag unfurled,
Whose clinging folds clasp half the world,--
This is your drama, built on facts,
With 'twenty years between the acts.'

One moment more: if here we raise
The oft-sung hymn of local praise,
Before the curtain facts must sway;
HERE waits the moral of your play.
Glassed in the poet's thought, you view
What money can, yet cannot do;
The faith that soars, the deeds that shine,
Above the gold that builds the shrine.

And oh! when others take our place,
And Earth's green curtain hides our face,
Ere on the stage, so silent now,
The last new hero makes his bow:
So may our deeds, recalled once more
In Memory's sweet but brief encore,
Down all the circling ages run,
With the world's plaudit of 'Well done!'


A Sanitary Message

Last night, above the whistling wind,
I heard the welcome rain,--
A fusillade upon the roof,
A tattoo on the pane:
The keyhole piped; the chimney-top
A warlike trumpet blew;
Yet, mingling with these sounds of strife,
A softer voice stole through.

'Give thanks, O brothers!' said the voice,
'That He who sent the rains
Hath spared your fields the scarlet dew
That drips from patriot veins:
I've seen the grass on Eastern graves
In brighter verdure rise;
But, oh! the rain that gave it life
Sprang first from human eyes.

'I come to wash away no stain
Upon your wasted lea;
I raise no banners, save the ones
The forest waves to me:
Upon the mountain side, where Spring
Her farthest picket sets,
My reveille awakes a host
Of grassy bayonets.

'I visit every humble roof;
I mingle with the low:
Only upon the highest peaks
My blessings fall in snow;
Until, in tricklings of the stream
And drainings of the lea,
My unspent bounty comes at last
To mingle with the sea.'

And thus all night, above the wind,
I heard the welcome rain,--
A fusillade upon the roof,
A tattoo on the pane:
The keyhole piped; the chimney-top
A warlike trumpet blew;
But, mingling with these sounds of strife,
This hymn of peace stole through.


A Second Review Of The Grand Army

I read last night of the Grand Review
In Washington's chiefest avenue,-
Two hundred thousand men in blue,
I think they said was the number,-
Till I seemed to hear their trampling feet,
The bugle blast and the drum's quick beat,
The clatter of hoofs in the stony street,
The cheers of the people who came to greet,
And the thousand details that to repeat
Would only my verse encumber,-
Till I fell in a revery, sad and sweet,
And then to a fitful slumber.

When, lo! in a vision I seemed to stand
In the lonely Capitol. On each hand
Far stretched the portico, dim and grand
Its columns ranged, like a martial band
Of sheeted spectres whom some command
Had called to a last reviewing.
And the streets of the city were white and bare;
No footfall echoed across the square;
But out of the misty midnight air
I heard in the distance a trumpet blare,
And the wandering night-winds seemed to bear
The sound of a far tatooing.

Then I held my breath with fear and dread;
For into the square, with a brazen tread,
There rode a figure whose stately head
O'erlooked the review that morning.
That never bowed from its firm-set seat
When the living column passed its feet,
Yet now rode steadily up the street
To the phantom bugle's warning:

Till it reached the Capitol square, and wheeled,
And there in the moonlight stood revealed
A well known form that in State and field
Had led our patriot sires;
Whose face was turned to the sleeping camp,
Afar through the river's fog and damp,
That showed no flicker, nor warning lamp,
Nor wasted bivouac fires.

And I saw a phantom army come,
With never a sound of fife or drum,
But keeping time to a throbbing hum
Of wailing and lamentation:
The martyred heroes of Malvern Hill,
Of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville,
The men whose wasted figures fill
The patriot graves of the nation.

And there came the nameless dead,-the men
Who perished in fever-swamp and fen,
The slowly-starved of the prison-pen;
And marching beside the others,
Came the dusky martyrs of Pillow's fight,
With limbs enfranchised and bearing bright;
I thought-perhaps 'twas the pale moonlight-
They looked as white as their brothers!

And so all night marched the Nation's dead,
With never a banner above them spread,
Nor a badge, nor a motto brandished;
No mark-save the bare uncovered head
Of the silent bronze Reviewer;
With never an arch save the vaulted sky;
With never a flower save those that lie
On the distant graves-for love could buy
No gift that was purer or truer.

So all night long swept the strange array;
So all night long, till the morning gray,
I watch'd for one who had passed away,
With a reverent awe and wonder,-
Till a blue cap waved in the lengthening line,
And I knew that one who was kin of mine
Had come; amd I spake-and lo! that sign
Awakened me from my slumber.


After The Accident

What I want is my husband, sir,--
And if you're a man, sir,
You'll give me an answer,--
Where is my Joe?

Penrhyn, sir, Joe,--
Six months ago
Since we came here--
Eh?--Ah, you know!

Well, I am quiet
And still,
But I must stand here,
And will!
Please, I'll be strong,
If you'll just let me wait
Inside o' that gate
Till the news comes along.

That was the cause!--
Are there no laws,--
Laws to protect such as we?

Well, then!
I won't raise my voice.
There, men!
I won't make no noise,
Only you just let me be.

Four, only four--did he say--
Saved! and the other ones?--Eh?
Why do they call?
Why are they all
Looking and coming this way?

What's that?--a message?
I'll take it.
I know his wife, sir,
I'll break it.
Ay, ay!
'Out by and by,--
Just saved his life.
Say to his wife
Soon he'll be free.'
Will I?--God bless you!
It's me!



Here's yer toy balloons! All sizes!
Twenty cents for that. It rises
Jest as quick as that 'ere, Miss,
Twice as big. Ye see it is
Some more fancy. Make it square
Fifty for 'em both. That's fair.

That's the sixth I've sold since noon.
Trade's reviving. Just as soon
As this lot's worked off, I'll take
Wholesale figgers. Make or break,--
That's my motto! Then I'll buy
In some first-class lottery
One half ticket, numbered right--
As I dreamed about last night.

That'll fetch it. Don't tell me!
When a man's in luck, you see,
All things help him. Every chance
Hits him like an avalanche.
Here's your toy balloons, Miss. Eh?
You won't turn your face this way?
Mebbe you'll be glad some day.
With that clear ten thousand prize
This 'yer trade I'll drop, and rise
Into wholesale. No! I'll take
Stocks in Wall Street. Make or break,--
That's my motto! With my luck,
Where's the chance of being stuck?
Call it sixty thousand, clear,
Made in Wall Street in one year.

Sixty thousand! Umph! Let's see!
Bond and mortgage'll do for me.
Good! That gal that passed me by
Scornful like--why, mebbe I
Some day'll hold in pawn--why not?--
All her father's prop. She'll spot
What's my little game, and see
What I'm after's HER. He! he!

He! he! When she comes to sue--
Let's see! What's the thing to do?
Kick her? No! There's the perliss!
Sorter throw her off like this.
Hello! Stop! Help! Murder! Hey!
There's my whole stock got away,
Kiting on the house-tops! Lost!
All a poor man's fortin! Cost?
Twenty dollars! Eh! What's this?
Fifty cents! God bless ye, Miss!


An Arctic Vision

Where the short-legged Esquimaux
Waddle in the ice and snow,
And the playful Polar bear
Nips the hunter unaware;
Where by day they track the ermine,
And by night another vermin,--
Segment of the frigid zone,
Where the temperature alone
Warms on St. Elias' cone;
Polar dock, where Nature slips
From the ways her icy ships;
Land of fox and deer and sable,
Shore end of our western cable,--
Let the news that flying goes
Thrill through all your Arctic floes,
And reverberate the boast
From the cliffs off Beechey's coast,
Till the tidings, circling round
Every bay of Norton Sound,
Throw the vocal tide-wave back
To the isles of Kodiac.
Let the stately Polar bears
Waltz around the pole in pairs,
And the walrus, in his glee,
Bare his tusk of ivory;
While the bold sea-unicorn
Calmly takes an extra horn;
All ye Polar skies, reveal your
Very rarest of parhelia;
Trip it, all ye merry dancers,
In the airiest of 'Lancers;'
Slide, ye solemn glaciers, slide,
One inch farther to the tide,
Nor in rash precipitation
Upset Tyndall's calculation.
Know you not what fate awaits you,
Or to whom the future mates you?
All ye icebergs, make salaam,--
You belong to Uncle Sam!

On the spot where Eugene Sue
Led his wretched Wandering Jew,
Stands a form whose features strike
Russ and Esquimaux alike.
He it is whom Skalds of old
In their Runic rhymes foretold;
Lean of flank and lank of jaw,
See the real Northern Thor!
See the awful Yankee leering
Just across the Straits of Behring;
On the drifted snow, too plain,
Sinks his fresh tobacco stain,
Just beside the deep inden-
Tation of his Number 10.

Leaning on his icy hammer
Stands the hero of this drama,
And above the wild-duck's clamor,
In his own peculiar grammar,
With its linguistic disguises,
La! the Arctic prologue rises:
'Wall, I reckon 'tain't so bad,
Seein' ez 'twas all they had.

True, the Springs are rather late,
And early Falls predominate;
But the ice-crop's pretty sure,
And the air is kind o' pure;
'Tain't so very mean a trade,
When the land is all surveyed.
There's a right smart chance for fur-chase
All along this recent purchase,
And, unless the stories fail,
Every fish from cod to whale;
Rocks, too; mebbe quartz; let's see,--
'Twould be strange if there should be,--
Seems I've heerd such stories told;
Eh!--why, bless us,--yes, it's gold!'

While the blows are falling thick
From his California pick,
You may recognize the Thor
Of the vision that I saw,--
Freed from legendary glamour,
See the real magician's hammer.


An Idyl Of The Road

First Tourist
Second Tourist
Yuba Bill, Driver
A Stranger


Look how the upland plunges into cover,
Green where the pines fade sullenly away.
Wonderful those olive depths! and wonderful, moreover--


The red dust that rises in a suffocating way.


Small is the soul that cannot soar above it,
Cannot but cling to its ever-kindred clay:
Better be yon bird, that seems to breathe and love it--


Doubtless a hawk or some other bird of prey.
Were we, like him, as sure of a dinner
That on our stomachs would comfortably stay;
Or were the fried ham a shade or two just thinner,
That must confront us at closing of the day:
Then might you sing like Theocritus or Virgil,
Then might we each make a metrical essay;
But verse just now--I must protest and urge--ill
Fits a digestion by travel led astray.


Speed, Yuba Bill! oh, speed us to our dinner!
Speed to the sunset that beckons far away.


William of Yuba, O Son of Nimshi, hearken!
Check thy profanity, but not thy chariot's play.
Tell us, O William, before the shadows darken,
Where, and, oh! how we shall dine? O William, say!


It ain't my fault, nor the Kumpeney's, I reckon,
Ye can't get ez square meal ez any on the Bay,
Up at you place, whar the senset 'pears to beckon--
Ez thet sharp allows in his airy sort o' way.
Thar woz a place wor yer hash ye might hev wrestled,
Kept by a woman ez chipper ez a jay--
Warm in her breast all the morning sunshine nestled;
Red on her cheeks all the evening's sunshine lay.


Praise is but breath, O chariot compeller!
Yet of that hash we would bid you farther say.


Thar woz a snipe--like you, a fancy tourist--
Kem to that ranch ez if to make a stay,
Ran off the gal, and ruined jist the purist
Critter that lived--

STRANGER (quietly)

You're a liar, driver!

YUBA BILL (reaching for his revolver).

Here take my lines, somebody--


Hush, boys! listen!
Inside there's a lady! Remember! No affray!


Ef that man lives, the fault ain't mine or his'n.


Wait for the sunset that beckons far away,
Then--as you will! But, meantime, friends, believe me,
Nowhere on earth lives a purer woman; nay,
If my perceptions do surely not deceive me,
She is the lady we have inside to-day.
As for the man--you see that blackened pine tree,
Up which the green vine creeps heavenward away!
He was that scarred trunk, and she the vine that sweetly
Clothed him with life again, and lifted--


Yes; but pray
How know you this?


She's my wife.


The h-ll you say!


At The Hacienda

Know I not whom thou mayst be
Carved upon this olive-tree,--
'Manuela of La Torre,'--
For around on broken walls
Summer sun and spring rain falls,
And in vain the low wind calls
'Manuela of La Torre.'

Of that song no words remain
But the musical refrain,--
'Manuela of La Torre.'
Yet at night, when winds are still,
Tinkles on the distant hill
A guitar, and words that thrill
Tell to me the old, old story,--
Old when first thy charms were sung,
Old when these old walls were young,
'Manuela of La Torre.'



What was it filled my youthful dreams,
In place of Greek or Latin themes,
Or beauty's wild, bewildering beams?

What visions and celestial scenes
I filled with aerial machines,
Montgolfier's and Mr. Green's!

What fairy tales seemed things of course!
The roc that brought Sindbad across,
The Calendar's own winged horse!

How many things I took for facts,--
Icarus and his conduct lax,
And how he sealed his fate with wax!

The first balloons I sought to sail,
Soap-bubbles fair, but all too frail,
Or kites,--but thereby hangs a tail.

What made me launch from attic tall
A kitten and a parasol,
And watch their bitter, frightful fall?

What youthful dreams of high renown
Bade me inflate the parson's gown,
That went not up, nor yet came down?

My first ascent I may not tell;
Enough to know that in that well
My first high aspirations fell.

My other failures let me pass:
The dire explosions, and, alas!
The friends I choked with noxious gas.

For lo! I see perfected rise
The vision of my boyish eyes,
The messenger of upper skies.


Battle Bunny (Malvern Hill, 1864)

Bunny, lying in the grass,
Saw the shining column pass;
Saw the starry banner fly,
Saw the chargers fret and fume,
Saw the flapping hat and plume,--
Saw them with his moist and shy
Most unspeculative eye,
Thinking only, in the dew,
That it was a fine review.

Till a flash, not all of steel,
Where the rolling caissons wheel,
Brought a rumble and a roar
Rolling down that velvet floor,
And like blows of autumn flail
Sharply threshed the iron hail.

Bunny, thrilled by unknown fears,
Raised his soft and pointed ears,
Mumbled his prehensile lip,
Quivered his pulsating hip,
As the sharp vindictive yell
Rose above the screaming shell;
Thought the world and all its men,--
All the charging squadrons meant,--
All were rabbit-hunters then,
All to capture him intent.
Bunny was not much to blame:
Wiser folk have thought the same,--
Wiser folk who think they spy
Every ill begins with 'I.'

Wildly panting here and there,
Bunny sought the freer air,
Till he hopped below the hill,
And saw, lying close and still,
Men with muskets in their hands.
(Never Bunny understands
That hypocrisy of sleep,
In the vigils grim they keep,
As recumbent on that spot
They elude the level shot.)

One--a grave and quiet man,
Thinking of his wife and child
Far beyond the Rapidan,
Where the Androscoggin smiled--
Felt the little rabbit creep,
Nestling by his arm and side,
Wakened from strategic sleep,
To that soft appeal replied,
Drew him to his blackened breast,
And-- But you have guessed the rest.

Softly o`er that chosen pair
Omnipresent Love and Care
Drew a mightier Hand and Arm,
Shielding them from every harm;
Right and left the bullets waved,
Saved the saviour for the saved.


Who believes that equal grace
God extends in every place,
Little difference he scans
Twixt a rabbit`s God and man`s.


Before the Curtain

Behind the footlights hangs the rusty baize,
A trifle shabby in the upturned blaze
Of flaring gas and curious eyes that gaze.

The stage, methinks, perhaps is none too wide,
And hardly fit for royal Richard's stride,
Or Falstaff's bulk, or Denmark's youthful pride.

Ah, well! no passion walks its humble boards;
O'er it no king nor valiant Hector lords:
The simplest skill is all its space affords.

The song and jest, the dance and trifling play,
The local hit at follies of the day,
The trick to pass an idle hour away,--

For these no trumpets that announce the Moor,
No blast that makes the hero's welcome sure,--
A single fiddle in the overture!


Cadet Grey - Canto I


Act first, scene first. A study. Of a kind
Half cell, half salon, opulent yet grave;
Rare books, low-shelved, yet far above the mind
Of common man to compass or to crave;
Some slight relief of pamphlets that inclined
The soul at first to trifling, till, dismayed
By text and title, it drew back resigned,
Nor cared with levity to vex a shade
That to itself such perfect concord made.


Some thoughts like these perplexed the patriot brain
Of Jones, Lawgiver to the Commonwealth,
As on the threshold of this chaste domain
He paused expectant, and looked up in stealth
To darkened canvases that frowned amain,
With stern-eyed Puritans, who first began
To spread their roots in Georgius Primus' reign,
Nor dropped till now, obedient to some plan,
Their century fruit,--the perfect Boston man.


Somewhere within that Russia-scented gloom
A voice catarrhal thrilled the Member's ear:
'Brief is our business, Jones. Look round this room!
Regard yon portraits! Read their meaning clear!
These much proclaim MY station. I presume
YOU are our Congressman, before whose wit
And sober judgment shall the youth appear
Who for West Point is deemed most just and fit
To serve his country and to honor it.


'Such is my son! Elsewhere perhaps 'twere wise
Trial competitive should guide your choice.
There are some people I can well surmise
Themselves must show their merits. History's voice
Spares me that trouble: all desert that lies
In yonder ancestor of Queen Anne's day,
Or yon grave Governor, is all my boy's,--
Reverts to him; entailed, as one might say;
In brief, result in Winthrop Adams Grey!'


He turned and laid his well-bred hand, and smiled,
On the cropped head of one who stood beside.
Ah me! in sooth it was no ruddy child
Nor brawny youth that thrilled the father's pride;
'Twas but a Mind that somehow had beguiled
From soulless Matter processes that served
For speech and motion and digestion mild,
Content if all one moral purpose nerved,
Nor recked thereby its spine were somewhat curved.


He was scarce eighteen. Yet ere he was eight
He had despoiled the classics; much he knew
Of Sanskrit; not that he placed undue weight
On this, but that it helped him with Hebrew,
His favorite tongue. He learned, alas! too late,
One can't begin too early,--would regret
That boyish whim to ascertain the state
Of Venus' atmosphere made him forget
That philologic goal on which his soul was set.


He too had traveled; at the age of ten
Found Paris empty, dull except for art
And accent. 'Mabille' with its glories then
Less than Egyptian 'Almees' touched a heart
Nothing if not pure classic. If some men
Thought him a prig, it vexed not his conceit,
But moved his pity, and ofttimes his pen,
The better to instruct them, through some sheet
Published in Boston, and signed 'Beacon Street.'


From premises so plain the blind could see
But one deduction, and it came next day.
'In times like these, the very name of G.
Speaks volumes,' wrote the Honorable J.
'Inclosed please find appointment.' Presently
Came a reception to which Harvard lent
Fourteen professors, and, to give esprit,
The Liberal Club some eighteen ladies sent,
Five that spoke Greek, and thirteen sentiment.


Four poets came who loved each other's song,
And two philosophers, who thought that they
Were in most things impractical and wrong;
And two reformers, each in his own way
Peculiar,--one who had waxed strong
On herbs and water, and such simple fare;
Two foreign lions, 'Ram See' and 'Chy Long,'
And several artists claimed attention there,
Based on the fact they had been snubbed elsewhere.


With this indorsement nothing now remained
But counsel, Godspeed, and some calm adieux;
No foolish tear the father's eyelash stained,
And Winthrop's cheek as guiltless shone of dew.
A slight publicity, such as obtained
In classic Rome, these few last hours attended.
The day arrived, the train and depot gained,
The mayor's own presence this last act commended
The train moved off and here the first act ended.


Caldwell Of Springfield

Here's the spot. Look around you. Above on the height
Lay the Hessians encamped. By that church on the right
Stood the gaunt Jersey farmers. And here ran a wall,--
You may dig anywhere and you'll turn up a ball.
Nothing more. Grasses spring, waters run, flowers blow,
Pretty much as they did ninety-three years ago.

Nothing more, did I say? Stay one moment: you've heard
Of Caldwell, the parson, who once preached the word
Down at Springfield? What, no? Come--that's bad; why, he had
All the Jerseys aflame! And they gave him the name
Of the 'rebel high priest.' He stuck in their gorge,
For he loved the Lord God--and he hated King George!

He had cause, you might say! When the Hessians that day
Marched up with Knyphausen, they stopped on their way
At the 'farms,' where his wife, with a child in her arms,
Sat alone in the house. How it happened none knew
But God--and that one of the hireling crew
Who fired the shot! Enough!--there she lay,
And Caldwell, the chaplain, her husband, away!

Did he preach--did he pray? Think of him as you stand
By the old church to-day,--think of him and his band
Of militant ploughboys! See the smoke and the heat
Of that reckless advance, of that straggling retreat!
Keep the ghost of that wife, foully slain, in your view--
And what could you, what should you, what would YOU do?

Why, just what HE did! They were left in the lurch
For the want of more wadding. He ran to the church,
Broke the door, stripped the pews, and dashed out in the road
With his arms full of hymn-books, and threw down his load
At their feet! Then above all the shouting and shots
Rang his voice: 'Put Watts into 'em! Boys, give 'em Watts!'

And they did. That is all. Grasses spring, flowers blow,
Pretty much as they did ninety-three years ago.
You may dig anywhere and you'll turn up a ball--
But not always a hero like this--and that's all.


California Madrigal

Oh, come, my beloved, from thy winter abode,
From thy home on the Yuba, thy ranch overflowed;
For the waters have fallen, the winter has fled,
And the river once more has returned to its bed.

Oh, mark how the spring in its beauty is near!
How the fences and tules once more reappear!
How soft lies the mud on the banks of yon slough
By the hole in the levee the waters broke through!

All nature, dear Chloris, is blooming to greet
The glance of your eye and the tread of your feet;
For the trails are all open, the roads are all free,
And the highwayman's whistle is heard on the lea.

Again swings the lash on the high mountain trail,
And the pipe of the packer is scenting the gale;
The oath and the jest ringing high o'er the plain,
Where the smut is not always confined to the grain.

Once more glares the sunlight on awning and roof,
Once more the red clay's pulverized by the hoof,
Once more the dust powders the 'outsides' with red,
Once more at the station the whiskey is spread.

Then fly with me, love, ere the summer's begun,
And the mercury mounts to one hundred and one;
Ere the grass now so green shall be withered and sear,
In the spring that obtains but one month in the year.


California's Greeting To Seward

We know him well: no need of praise
Or bonfire from the windy hill
To light to softer paths and ways
The world-worn man we honor still.

No need to quote the truths he spoke
That burned through years of war and shame,
While History carves with surer stroke
Across our map his noonday fame.

No need to bid him show the scars
Of blows dealt by the Scaean gate,
Who lived to pass its shattered bars,
And see the foe capitulate:

Who lived to turn his slower feet
Toward the western setting sun,
To see his harvest all complete,
His dream fulfilled, his duty done,

The one flag streaming from the pole,
The one faith borne from sea to sea:
For such a triumph, and such goal,
Poor must our human greeting be.

Ah! rather that the conscious land
In simpler ways salute the Man,--
The tall pines bowing where they stand,
The bared head of El Capitan!

The tumult of the waterfalls,
Pohono's kerchief in the breeze,
The waving from the rocky walls,
The stir and rustle of the trees;

Till, lapped in sunset skies of hope,
In sunset lands by sunset seas,
The Young World's Premier treads the slope
Of sunset years in calm and peace.



Beautiful! Sir, you may say so. Thar isn't her match in the county;
Is thar, old gal,--Chiquita, my darling, my beauty?
Feel of that neck, sir,--thar's velvet! Whoa! steady,--ah, will you,
you vixen!
Whoa! I say. Jack, trot her out; let the gentleman look at her paces.

Morgan!--she ain't nothing else, and I've got the papers to prove it.
Sired by Chippewa Chief, and twelve hundred dollars won't buy her.
Briggs of Tuolumne owned her. Did you know Briggs of Tuolumne?
Busted hisself in White Pine, and blew out his brains down in 'Frisco?

Hedn't no savey, hed Briggs. Thar, Jack! that'll do,--quit that
Nothin' to what she kin do, when she's got her work cut out before her.
Hosses is hosses, you know, and likewise, too, jockeys is jockeys:
And 'tain't ev'ry man as can ride as knows what a hoss has got in him.

Know the old ford on the Fork, that nearly got Flanigan's leaders?
Nasty in daylight, you bet, and a mighty rough ford in low water!
Well, it ain't six weeks ago that me and the Jedge and his nevey
Struck for that ford in the night, in the rain, and the water all
round us;

Up to our flanks in the gulch, and Rattlesnake Creek just a-bilin',
Not a plank left in the dam, and nary a bridge on the river.
I had the gray, and the Jedge had his roan, and his nevey, Chiquita;
And after us trundled the rocks jest loosed from the top of the

Lickity, lickity, switch, we came to the ford, and Chiquita
Buckled right down to her work, and, a fore I could yell to her rider,
Took water jest at the ford, and there was the Jedge and me standing,
And twelve hundred dollars of hoss-flesh afloat, and a-driftin' to

Would ye b'lieve it? That night, that hoss, that 'ar filly, Chiquita,
Walked herself into her stall, and stood there, all quiet and dripping:
Clean as a beaver or rat, with nary a buckle of harness,
Just as she swam the Fork,--that hoss, that 'ar filly, Chiquita.

That's what I call a hoss! and-- What did you say?-- Oh, the nevey?
Drownded, I reckon,--leastways, he never kem beck to deny it.
Ye see the derned fool had no seat, ye couldn't have made him a
And then, ye know, boys will be boys, and hosses--well, hosses is



Cicely says you're a poet; maybe,--I ain't much on rhyme:
I reckon you'd give me a hundred, and beat me every time.
Poetry!--that's the way some chaps puts up an idee,
But I takes mine 'straight without sugar,' and that's what's the matter with me.

Poetry!--just look round you,--alkali, rock, and sage;
Sage-brush, rock, and alkali; ain't it a pretty page!
Sun in the east at mornin', sun in the west at night,
And the shadow of this 'yer station the on'y thing moves in sight.

Poetry!--Well now--Polly! Polly, run to your mam;
Run right away, my pooty! By-by! Ain't she a lamb?
Poetry!--that reminds me o' suthin' right in that suit:
Jest shet that door thar, will yer?--for Cicely's ears is cute.

Ye noticed Polly,--the baby? A month afore she was born,
Cicely--my old woman--was moody-like and forlorn;
Out of her head and crazy, and talked of flowers and trees;
Family man yourself, sir? Well, you know what a woman be's.

Narvous she was, and restless,--said that she 'couldn't stay.'
Stay!--and the nearest woman seventeen miles away.
But I fixed it up with the doctor, and he said he would be on hand,
And I kinder stuck by the shanty, and fenced in that bit o' land.

One night,--the tenth of October,--I woke with a chill and a fright,
For the door it was standing open, and Cicely warn't in sight,
But a note was pinned on the blanket, which it said that she
'couldn't stay,'
But had gone to visit her neighbor,--seventeen miles away!

When and how she stampeded, I didn't wait for to see,
For out in the road, next minit, I started as wild as she;
Running first this way and that way, like a hound that is off the
For there warn't no track in the darkness to tell me the way she went.

I've had some mighty mean moments afore I kem to this spot,--
Lost on the Plains in '50, drownded almost and shot;
But out on this alkali desert, a-hunting a crazy wife,
Was ra'ly as on-satis-factory as anything in my life.

'Cicely! Cicely! Cicely!' I called, and I held my breath,
And 'Cicely!' came from the canyon,--and all was as still as death.
And 'Cicely! Cicely! Cicely!' came from the rocks below,
And jest but a whisper of 'Cicely!' down from them peaks of snow.

I ain't what you call religious,--but I jest looked up to the sky,
And--this 'yer's to what I'm coming, and maybe ye think I lie:
But up away to the east'ard, yaller and big and far,
I saw of a suddent rising the singlerist kind of star.

Big and yaller and dancing, it seemed to beckon to me:
Yaller and big and dancing, such as you never see:
Big and yaller and dancing,--I never saw such a star,
And I thought of them sharps in the Bible, and I went for it then
and thar.

Over the brush and bowlders I stumbled and pushed ahead,
Keeping the star afore me, I went wherever it led.
It might hev been for an hour, when suddent and peart and nigh,
Out of the yearth afore me thar riz up a baby's cry.

Listen! thar's the same music; but her lungs they are stronger now
Than the day I packed her and her mother,--I'm derned if I jest know
But the doctor kem the next minit, and the joke o' the whole thing is
That Cis never knew what happened from that very night to this!

But Cicely says you're a poet, and maybe you might, some day,
Jest sling her a rhyme 'bout a baby that was born in a curious way,
And see what she says; and, old fellow, when you speak of the star,
don't tell
As how 'twas the doctor's lantern,--for maybe 'twon't sound so well.


Concepcion De Arguello


Looking seaward, o'er the sand-hills stands the fortress, old and
By the San Francisco friars lifted to their patron saint,--

Sponsor to that wondrous city, now apostate to the creed,
On whose youthful walls the Padre saw the angel's golden reed;

All its trophies long since scattered, all its blazon brushed away;
And the flag that flies above it but a triumph of to-day.

Never scar of siege or battle challenges the wandering eye,
Never breach of warlike onset holds the curious passer-by;

Only one sweet human fancy interweaves its threads of gold
With the plain and homespun present, and a love that ne'er grows old;

Only one thing holds its crumbling walls above the meaner dust,--
Listen to the simple story of a woman's love and trust.


Count von Resanoff, the Russian, envoy of the mighty Czar,
Stood beside the deep embrasures, where the brazen cannon are.

He with grave provincial magnates long had held serene debate
On the Treaty of Alliance and the high affairs of state;

He from grave provincial magnates oft had turned to talk apart
With the Commandante's daughter on the questions of the heart,

Until points of gravest import yielded slowly one by one,
And by Love was consummated what Diplomacy begun;

Till beside the deep embrasures, where the brazen cannon are,
He received the twofold contract for approval of the Czar;

Till beside the brazen cannon the betrothed bade adieu,
And from sallyport and gateway north the Russian eagles flew.


Long beside the deep embrasures, where the brazen cannon are,
Did they wait the promised bridegroom and the answer of the Czar;

Day by day on wall and bastion beat the hollow, empty breeze,--
Day by day the sunlight glittered on the vacant, smiling seas:

Week by week the near hills whitened in their dusty leather cloaks,--
Week by week the far hills darkened from the fringing plain of oaks;

Till the rains came, and far breaking, on the fierce southwester tost,
Dashed the whole long coast with color, and then vanished and were

So each year the seasons shifted,--wet and warm and drear and dry
Half a year of clouds and flowers, half a year of dust and sky.

Still it brought no ship nor message,--brought no tidings, ill or meet,
For the statesmanlike Commander, for the daughter fair and sweet.

Yet she heard the varying message, voiceless to all ears beside:
'He will come,' the flowers whispered; 'Come no more,' the dry hills

Still she found him with the waters lifted by the morning breeze,--
Still she lost him with the folding of the great white-tented seas;

Until hollows chased the dimples from her cheeks of olive brown,
And at times a swift, shy moisture dragged the long sweet lashes down;

Or the small mouth curved and quivered as for some denied caress,
And the fair young brow was knitted in an infantine distress.

Then the grim Commander, pacing where the brazen cannon are,
Comforted the maid with proverbs, wisdom gathered from afar;

Bits of ancient observation by his fathers garnered, each
As a pebble worn and polished in the current of his speech:

''Those who wait the coming rider travel twice as far as he;'
'Tired wench and coming butter never did in time agree;'

''He that getteth himself honey, though a clown, he shall have flies;'
'In the end God grinds the miller;' 'In the dark the mole has eyes;'

''He whose father is Alcalde of his trial hath no fear,'--
And be sure the Count has reasons that will make his conduct clear.'

Then the voice sententious faltered, and the wisdom it would teach
Lost itself in fondest trifles of his soft Castilian speech;

And on 'Concha' 'Conchitita,' and 'Conchita' he would dwell
With the fond reiteration which the Spaniard knows so well.

So with proverbs and caresses, half in faith and half in doubt,
Every day some hope was kindled, flickered, faded, and went out.


Yearly, down the hillside sweeping, came the stately cavalcade,
Bringing revel to vaquero, joy and comfort to each maid;

Bringing days of formal visit, social feast and rustic sport,
Of bull-baiting on the plaza, of love-making in the court.

Vainly then at Concha's lattice, vainly as the idle wind,
Rose the thin high Spanish tenor that bespoke the youth too kind;

Vainly, leaning from their saddles, caballeros, bold and fleet,
Plucked for her the buried chicken from beneath their mustang's feet;

So in vain the barren hillsides with their gay serapes blazed,--
Blazed and vanished in the dust-cloud that their flying hoofs had

Then the drum called from the rampart, and once more, with patient
The Commander and his daughter each took up the dull routine,--

Each took up the petty duties of a life apart and lone,
Till the slow years wrought a music in its dreary monotone.


Forty years on wall and bastion swept the hollow idle breeze,
Since the Russian eagle fluttered from the California seas;

Forty years on wall and bastion wrought its slow but sure decay,
And St. George's cross was lifted in the port of Monterey;

And the citadel was lighted, and the hall was gayly drest,
All to honor Sir George Simpson, famous traveler and guest.

Far and near the people gathered to the costly banquet set,
And exchanged congratulations with the English baronet;

Till, the formal speeches ended, and amidst the laugh and wine,
Some one spoke of Concha's lover,--heedless of the warning sign.

Quickly then cried Sir George Simpson: 'Speak no ill of him, I pray!
He is dead. He died, poor fellow, forty years ago this day,--

'Died while speeding home to Russia, falling from a fractious horse.
Left a sweetheart, too, they tell me. Married, I suppose, of course!

'Lives she yet?' A deathlike silence fell on banquet, guests, and
And a trembling figure rising fixed the awestruck gaze of all.

Two black eyes in darkened orbits gleamed beneath the nun's white hood;
Black serge hid the wasted figure, bowed and stricken where it stood.

'Lives she yet?' Sir George repeated. All were hushed as Concha drew
Closer yet her nun's attire. 'Senor, pardon, she died, too!'



Blown out of the prairie in twilight and dew,
Half bold and half timid, yet lazy all through;
Loath ever to leave, and yet fearful to stay,
He limps in the clearing, an outcast in gray

A shade on the stubble, a ghost by the wall,
Now leaping, now limping, now risking a fall,
Lop-eared and large-jointed, but ever alway
A thoroughly vagabond outcast in gray.

Here, Carlo, old fellow,-he 's one of your kind,-
Go, seek him, and bring him in out of the wind.
What! snarling, my Carlo! So even dogs may
Deny their own kin in the outcast in gray

Well, take what you will-though it be on the sly,
Marauding or begging,-
I shall not ask why,
But will call it a dole, just to help on his way
A four-footed friar in orders of gray!

No life in earth, or air, or sky;
The sunbeams, broken silently,
On the bared rocks around me lie,—

Cold rocks with half-warmed lichens scarred,
And scales of moss; and scarce a yard
Away, one long strip, yellow-barred.

Lost in a cleft! T is but a stride
To reach it, thrust its roots aside,
And lift it on thy stick astride!

Yet stay! That moment is thy grace!
For round thee, thrilling air and space,
A chattering terror fills the place!

A sound as of dry bones that stir
In the Dead Valley! By yon fir
The locust stops its noonday whir!

The wild bird hears; smote with the sound,
As if by bullet brought to ground,
On broken wing, dips, wheeling round!

The hare, transfixed, with trembling lip,
Halts, breathless, on pulsating hip,
And palsied tread, and heels that slip.

Enough, old friend!—’t is thou. Forget
My heedless foot, nor longer fret
The peace with thy grim castanet!

I know thee! Yes! Thou mayst forego
That lifted crest; the measured blow
Beyond which thy pride scorns to go,

Or yet retract! For me no spell
Lights those slit orbs, where, some think, dwell
Machicolated fires of hell!

I only know thee humble, bold,
Haughty, with miseries untold,
And the old Curse that left thee cold,

And drove thee ever to the sun,
On blistering rocks; nor made thee shun
Our cabin’s hearth, when day was done,

And the spent ashes warmed thee best;
We knew thee,—silent, joyless guest
Of our rude ingle. E’en thy quest

Of the rare milk-bowl seemed to be
Naught but a brother’s poverty
And Spartan taste that kept thee free

From lust and rapine. Thou! whose fame
Searches the grass with tongue of flame,
Making all creatures seem thy game;

When the whole woods before thee run,
Asked but—when all was said and done—
To lie, untrodden, in the sun!


Crotalus [Rattlesnake Bar, Sierras]

No life in earth, or air, or sky;
The sunbeams, broken silently,
On the bared rocks around me lie,-

Cold rocks with half-warmed lichens scarred
And scales of moss; and scarce a yard
Away, one long strip, yellow-barred.

Lost in a cleft! 'T is but a stride
To reach it, thrust its roots aside,
And lift it on thy stick astride!

Yet stay! That moment is thy grace!
For round thee, thrilling air and space,
A chattering terror fills the place!

A sound as of dry bones that stir
In the Dead Valley! By yon fir
The locust stops its noonday whir!

The wild bird hears; smote with the sound,
As if by bullet brought to ground,
On broken wing, dips, wheeling round!

The hare, transfixed, with trembling lip,
Halts, breathless, on pulsating hip,
And palsied tread, and heels that slip.

Enough, old friend !-'t is thou. Forget
My heedless foot, nor longer fret
The peace with thy grim castanet !

I know thee ! Yes ! Thou mayst forego
That lifted crest; the measured blow
Beyond which thy pride scorns to go,

Or yet retract ! For me no spell
Lights those slit orbs, where, some think, dwell
Machicolated fires of hell!

I only know thee humble, bold,
Haughty, with miseries untold,
And the old Curse that left thee cold,

And drove thee ever to the sun,
On blistering rocks; nor made thee shun
Our cabin's hearth, when day was done,

And the spent ashes warmed thee best;
We knew thee,-silent, joyless guest
Of our rude ingle. E'en thy quest

Of the rare milk-bowl seemed to be
Naught but a brother's poverty,
And Spartan taste that kept thee free

From lust and rapine.
Thou! whose fame Searchest the grass with tongue of flame,
Making all creatures seem thy game;

When the whole woods before thee run,
Asked but-when all was said and done-
To lie, untrodden, in the sun!


Dickens In Camp

Above the pines the moon was slowly drifting,
The river sang below;
The dim Sierras, far beyond, uplifting
Their minarets of snow.

The roaring camp-fire, with rude humor, painted
The ruddy tints of health
On haggard face and form that drooped and fainted
In the fierce race for wealth;

Till one arose, and from his pack`s scant treasure
A hoarded volume drew,
And cards were dropped from hands of listless leisure
To hear the tale anew.

And then, while round them shadows gathered faster,
And as the firelight fell,
He read aloud the book wherein the Master
Had writ of 'Little Nell.'

Perhaps `twas boyish fancy,--for the reader
Was youngest of them all,--
But, as he read, from clustering pine and cedar
A silence seemed to fall;

The fir-trees, gathering closer in the shadows,
Listened in every spray,
While the whole camp with 'Nell' on English meadows
Wandered and lost their way.

And so in mountain solitudes--o`ertaken
As by some spell divine--
Their cares dropped from them like the needles shaken
From out the gusty pine.

Lost is that camp and wasted all its fire;
And he who wrought that spell?
Ah! towering pine and stately Kentish spire,
Ye have one tale to tell!

Lost is that camp, but let its fragrant story
Blend with the breath that thrills
With hop-vine`s incense all the pensive glory
That fills the Kentish hills.

And on that grave where English oak and holly
And laurel wreaths entwine,
Deem it not all a too presumptuous folly,
This spray of Western pine!


Dolly Varden

Dear Dolly! who does not recall
The thrilling page that pictured all
Those charms that held our sense in thrall
Just as the artist caught her,--
As down that English lane she tripped,
In bowered chintz, hat sideways tipped,
Trim-bodiced, bright-eyed, roguish-lipped,--
The locksmith's pretty daughter?

Sweet fragment of the Master's art!
O simple faith! O rustic heart!
O maid that hath no counterpart
In life's dry, dog-eared pages!
Where shall we find thy like? Ah, stay!
Methinks I saw her yesterday
In chintz that flowered, as one might say,
Perennial for ages.

Her father's modest cot was stone,
Five stories high; in style and tone
Composite, and, I frankly own,
Within its walls revealing
Some certain novel, strange ideas:
A Gothic door with Roman piers,
And floors removed some thousand years,
From their Pompeian ceiling.

The small salon where she received
Was Louis Quatorze, and relieved
By Chinese cabinets, conceived
Grotesquely by the heathen;
The sofas were a classic sight,--
The Roman bench (sedilia hight);
The chairs were French in gold and white,
And one Elizabethan.

And she, the goddess of that shrine,
Two ringed fingers placed in mine,--
The stones were many carats fine,
And of the purest water,--
Then dropped a curtsy, far enough
To fairly fill her cretonne puff
And show the petticoat's rich stuff
That her fond parent bought her.

Her speech was simple as her dress,--
Not French the more, but English less,
She loved; yet sometimes, I confess,
I scarce could comprehend her.
Her manners were quite far from shy.
There was a quiet in her eye
Appalling to the Hugh who'd try
With rudeness to offend her.

'But whence,' I cried, 'this masquerade?
Some figure for to-night's charade,
A Watteau shepherdess or maid?'
She smiled and begged my pardon:
'Why, surely you must know the name,--
That woman who was Shakespeare's flame
Or Byron's,--well, it's all the same:
Why, Lord! I'm Dolly Varden!'


Don Diego Of The South

Good!--said the Padre,--believe me still,
'Don Giovanni,' or what you will,
The type's eternal! We knew him here
As Don Diego del Sud. I fear
The story's no new one! Will you hear?

One of those spirits you can't tell why
God has permitted. Therein I
Have the advantage, for I hold
That wolves are sent to the purest fold,
And we'd save the wolf if we'd get the lamb.
You're no believer? Good! I am.

Well, for some purpose, I grant you dim,
The Don loved women, and they loved him.
Each thought herself his LAST love! Worst,
Many believed that they were his FIRST!
And, such are these creatures since the Fall,
The very doubt had a charm for all!

You laugh! You are young, but I--indeed
I have no patience . . . To proceed:--
You saw, as you passed through the upper town,
The Eucinal where the road goes down
To San Felipe! There one morn
They found Diego,--his mantle torn,
And as many holes through his doublet's band
As there were wronged husbands--you understand!

'Dying,' so said the gossips. 'Dead'
Was what the friars who found him said.
May be. Quien sabe? Who else should know?
It was a hundred years ago.
There was a funeral. Small indeed--
Private. What would you? To proceed:--

Scarcely the year had flown. One night
The Commandante awoke in fright,
Hearing below his casement's bar
The well-known twang of the Don's guitar;
And rushed to the window, just to see
His wife a-swoon on the balcony.

One week later, Don Juan Ramirez
Found his own daughter, the Dona Inez,
Pale as a ghost, leaning out to hear
The song of that phantom cavalier.
Even Alcalde Pedro Blas
Saw, it was said, through his niece's glass,
The shade of Diego twice repass.

What these gentlemen each confessed
Heaven and the Church only knows. At best
The case was a bad one. How to deal
With Sin as a Ghost, they couldn't but feel
Was an awful thing. Till a certain Fray
Humbly offered to show the way.

And the way was this. Did I say before
That the Fray was a stranger? No, Senor?
Strange! very strange! I should have said
That the very week that the Don lay dead
He came among us. Bread he broke
Silent, nor ever to one he spoke.
So he had vowed it! Below his brows
His face was hidden. There are such vows!

Strange! are they not? You do not use
Snuff? A bad habit!

Well, the views
Of the Fray were these: that the penance done
By the caballeros was right; but one
Was due from the CAUSE, and that, in brief,
Was Dona Dolores Gomez, chief,
And Inez, Sanchicha, Concepcion,
And Carmen,--well, half the girls in town
On his tablets the Friar had written down.

These were to come on a certain day
And ask at the hands of the pious Fray
For absolution. That done, small fear
But the shade of Diego would disappear.

They came; each knelt in her turn and place
To the pious Fray with his hidden face
And voiceless lips, and each again
Took back her soul freed from spot or stain,
Till the Dona Inez, with eyes downcast
And a tear on their fringes, knelt her last.

And then--perhaps that her voice was low
From fear or from shame--the monks said so--
But the Fray leaned forward, when, presto! all
Were thrilled by a scream, and saw her fall
Fainting beside the confessional.

And so was the ghost of Diego laid
As the Fray had said. Never more his shade
Was seen at San Gabriel's Mission. Eh!
The girl interests you? I dare say!
'Nothing,' said she, when they brought her to--
'Only a faintness!' They spoke more true
Who said 'twas a stubborn soul. But then--
Women are women, and men are men!

So, to return. As I said before,
Having got the wolf, by the same high law
We saved the lamb in the wolf's own jaw,
And that's my moral. The tale, I fear,
But poorly told. Yet it strikes me here
Is stuff for a moral. What's your view?
You smile, Don Pancho. Ah! that's like you!


Dow's Flat

Dow's Flat. That's its name;
And I reckon that you
Are a stranger? The same?
Well, I thought it was true,--
For thar isn't a man on the river as can't spot the place at first

It was called after Dow,--
Which the same was an ass,--
And as to the how
Thet the thing kem to pass,--
Jest tie up your hoss to that buckeye, and sit ye down here in the

You see this 'yer Dow
Hed the worst kind of luck;
He slipped up somehow
On each thing thet he struck.
Why, ef he'd a straddled thet fence-rail, the derned thing'd get up
and buck.

He mined on the bar
Till he couldn't pay rates;
He was smashed by a car
When he tunneled with Bates;
And right on the top of his trouble kem his wife and five kids from
the States.

It was rough,--mighty rough;
But the boys they stood by,
And they brought him the stuff
For a house, on the sly;
And the old woman,--well, she did washing, and took on when no one
was nigh.

But this 'yer luck of Dow's
Was so powerful mean
That the spring near his house
Dried right up on the green;
And he sunk forty feet down for water, but nary a drop to be seen.

Then the bar petered out,
And the boys wouldn't stay;
And the chills got about,
And his wife fell away;
But Dow in his well kept a peggin' in his usual ridikilous way.

One day,--it was June,
And a year ago, jest--
This Dow kem at noon
To his work like the rest,
With a shovel and pick on his shoulder, and derringer hid in his

He goes to the well,
And he stands on the brink,
And stops for a spell
Jest to listen and think:
For the sun in his eyes (jest like this, sir!), you see, kinder made
the cuss blink.

His two ragged gals
In the gulch were at play,
And a gownd that was Sal's
Kinder flapped on a bay:
Not much for a man to be leavin', but his all,--as I've heer'd the
folks say.

And--That's a peart hoss
Thet you've got,--ain't it now?
What might be her cost?
Eh? Oh!--Well, then, Dow--
Let's see,--well, that forty-foot grave wasn't his, sir, that day,

For a blow of his pick
Sorter caved in the side,
And he looked and turned sick,
Then he trembled and cried.
For you see the dern cuss had struck--'Water?'--Beg your parding,
young man,--there you lied!

It was GOLD,--in the quartz,
And it ran all alike;
And I reckon five oughts
Was the worth of that strike;
And that house with the coopilow's his'n,--which the same isn't bad
for a Pike.

Thet's why it's Dow's Flat;
And the thing of it is
That he kinder got that
Through sheer contrairiness:
For 'twas water the derned cuss was seekin', and his luck made him
certain to miss.

Thet's so! Thar's your way,
To the left of yon tree;
But--a--look h'yur, say?
Won't you come up to tea?
No? Well, then the next time you're passin'; and ask after Dow,--
and thet's me.



The sky is clouded, the rocks are bare,
The spray of the tempest is white in air;
The winds are out with the waves at play,
And I shall not tempt the sea to-day.

'The trail is narrow, the wood is dim,
The panther clings to the arching limb;
And the lion's whelps are abroad at play,
And I shall not join in the chase to-day.'

But the ship sailed safely over the sea,
And the hunters came from the chase in glee;
And the town that was builded upon a rock
Was swallowed up in the earthquake shock.


Further Language From Truthful James

Do I sleep? do I dream?
Do I wonder and doubt?
Are things what they seem?
Or is visions about?
Is our civilization a failure?
Or is the Caucasian played out?

Which expressions are strong;
Yet would feebly imply
Some account of a wrong--
Not to call it a lie--
As was worked off on William, my pardner,
And the same being W. Nye.

He came down to the Ford
On the very same day
Of that lottery drawed
By those sharps at the Bay;
And he says to me, 'Truthful, how goes it?'
I replied, 'It is far, far from gay;

'For the camp has gone wild
On this lottery game,
And has even beguiled
'Injin Dick' by the same.'
Then said Nye to me, 'Injins is pizen:
But what is his number, eh, James?'

I replied, '7, 2,
9, 8, 4, is his hand;'
When he started, and drew
Out a list, which he scanned;
Then he softly went for his revolver
With language I cannot command.

Then I said, 'William Nye!'
But he turned upon me,
And the look in his eye
Was quite painful to see;
And he says, 'You mistake; this poor Injin
I protects from such sharps as you be!'

I was shocked and withdrew;
But I grieve to relate,
When he next met my view
Injin Dick was his mate;
And the two around town was a-lying
In a frightfully dissolute state.

Which the war dance they had
Round a tree at the Bend
Was a sight that was sad;
And it seemed that the end
Would not justify the proceedings,
As I quiet remarked to a friend.

For that Injin he fled
The next day to his band;
And we found William spread
Very loose on the strand,
With a peaceful-like smile on his features,
And a dollar greenback in his hand;

Which the same, when rolled out,
We observed, with surprise,
Was what he, no doubt,
Thought the number and prize--
Them figures in red in the corner,
Which the number of notes specifies.

Was it guile, or a dream?
Is it Nye that I doubt?
Are things what they seem?
Or is visions about?
Is our civilization a failure?
Or is the Caucasian played out?


Grandmother Tenterden

I mind it was but yesterday:
The sun was dim, the air was chill;
Below the town, below the hill,
The sails of my son's ship did fill,--
My Jacob, who was cast away.

He said, 'God keep you, mother dear,'
But did not turn to kiss his wife;
They had some foolish, idle strife;
Her tongue was like a two-edged knife,
And he was proud as any peer.

Howbeit that night I took no note
Of sea nor sky, for all was drear;
I marked not that the hills looked near,
Nor that the moon, though curved and clear,
Through curd-like scud did drive and float.

For with my darling went the joy
Of autumn woods and meadows brown;
I came to hate the little town;
It seemed as if the sun went down
With him, my only darling boy.

It was the middle of the night:
The wind, it shifted west-by-south,--
It piled high up the harbor mouth;
The marshes, black with summer drouth,
Were all abroad with sea-foam white.

It was the middle of the night:
The sea upon the garden leapt,
And my son's wife in quiet slept,
And I, his mother, waked and wept,
When lo! there came a sudden light.

And there he stood! His seaman's dress
All wet and dripping seemed to be;
The pale blue fires of the sea
Dripped from his garments constantly,--
I could not speak through cowardness.

'I come through night and storm,' he said.
'Through storm and night and death,' said he,
'To kiss my wife, if it so be
That strife still holds 'twixt her and me,
For all beyond is peace,' he said.

'The sea is His, and He who sent
The wind and wave can soothe their strife
And brief and foolish is our life.'
He stooped and kissed his sleeping wife,
Then sighed, and like a dream he went.

Now, when my darling kissed not me,
But her--his wife--who did not wake,
My heart within me seemed to break;
I swore a vow, nor thenceforth spake
Of what my clearer eyes did see.

And when the slow weeks brought him not,
Somehow we spake of aught beside:
For she--her hope upheld her pride;
And I--in me all hope had died,
And my son passed as if forgot.

It was about the next springtide:
She pined and faded where she stood,
Yet spake no word of ill or good;
She had the hard, cold Edwards' blood
In all her veins--and so she died.

One time I thought, before she passed,
To give her peace; but ere I spake
Methought, 'HE will be first to break
The news in heaven,' and for his sake
I held mine back until the last.

And here I sit, nor care to roam;
I only wait to hear his call.
I doubt not that this day next fall
Shall see me safe in port, where all
And every ship at last comes home.

And you have sailed the Spanish Main,
And knew my Jacob? . . . Eh! Mercy!
Ah! God of wisdom! hath the sea
Yielded its dead to humble me?
My boy! . . . My Jacob! . . . Turn again!



Coward of heroic size,
In whose lazy muscles lies
Strength we fear and yet despise;
Savage,-whose relentless tusks
Are content with acorn husks;
Robber,-whose exploits ne'er soared
O'er the bee's or squirrel's hoard;
Whiskered chin and feeble nose,
Claws of steel on baby toes,-
Here, in solitude and shade,
Shambling, shuffling plantigrade,
Be thy courses undismayed!

Here, where Nature makes thy bed,
Let thy rude, half-hurnan tread
Point to hidden Indian springs,
Lost in ferns and fragrant grasses,
Hovered o'er by timid wings,
Where the wood-duck lightly passes,
Where the wild bee holds her sweets,-
Epicurean retreats,
Fit for thee, and better than
Fearful spoils of dangerous man.
In thy fat-jowled deviltry
Friar Tuck shall live in thee;
Thou mayst levy tithe and dole;
Thou shalt spread the woodland cheer,
From the pilgrim taking toll;
Match thy cunning with his fear;
Eat and drink and have thy fill;
Yet remain an outlaw still!


Guild's Signal

Two low whistles, quaint and clear:
That was the signal the engineer--
That was the signal that Guild, 'tis said--
Gave to his wife at Providence,
As through the sleeping town, and thence,
Out in the night,
On to the light,
Down past the farms, lying white, he sped!

As a husband's greeting, scant, no doubt,
Yet to the woman looking out,
Watching and waiting, no serenade,
Love-song, or midnight roundelay
Said what that whistle seemed to say:
'To my trust true,
So, love, to you!
Working or waiting, good-night!' it said.

Brisk young bagmen, tourists fine,
Old commuters along the line,
Brakemen and porters glanced ahead,
Smiled as the signal, sharp, intense,
Pierced through the shadows of Providence:
'Nothing amiss--
Nothing!--it is
Only Guild calling his wife,' they said.

Summer and winter the old refrain
Rang o'er the billows of ripening grain,
Pierced through the budding boughs o'erhead,
Flew down the track when the red leaves burned
Like living coals from the engine spurned;
Sang as it flew,
'To our trust true,
First of all, duty. Good-night!' it said.

And then, one night, it was heard no more
From Stonington over Rhode Island shore,
And the folk in Providence smiled and said
As they turned in their beds, 'The engineer
Has once forgotten his midnight cheer.'
ONE only knew,
To his trust true,
Guild lay under his engine, dead.


Half An Hour Before Supper

So she's here, your unknown Dulcinea, the lady you met on the train,
And you really believe she would know you if you were to meet her

'Of course,' he replied, 'she would know me; there never was
womankind yet
Forgot the effect she inspired. She excuses, but does not forget.'

'Then you told her your love?' asked the elder. The younger looked
up with a smile:
'I sat by her side half an hour--what else was I doing the while?

'What, sit by the side of a woman as fair as the sun in the sky,
And look somewhere else lest the dazzle flash back from your own to
her eye?

'No, I hold that the speech of the tongue be as frank and as bold as
the look,
And I held up herself to herself,--that was more than she got from
her book.'

'Young blood!' laughed the elder; 'no doubt you are voicing the mode
of To-Day:
But then we old fogies at least gave the lady some chance for delay.

'There's my wife (you must know),--we first met on the journey from
Florence to Rome:
It took me three weeks to discover who was she and where was her home;

'Three more to be duly presented; three more ere I saw her again;
And a year ere my romance BEGAN where yours ended that day on the

'Oh, that was the style of the stage-coach; we travel to-day by
Forty miles to the hour,' he answered, 'won't admit of a passion
that's less.'

'But what if you make a mistake?' quoth the elder. The younger half
'What happens when signals are wrong or switches misplaced?' he

'Very well, I must bow to your wisdom,' the elder returned, 'but
Your chances of winning this woman your boldness has bettered no whit.

'Why, you do not at best know her name. And what if I try your ideal
With something, if not quite so fair, at least more en regle and real?

'Let me find you a partner. Nay, come, I insist--you shall follow--
this way.
My dear, will you not add your grace to entreat Mr. Rapid to stay?

'My wife, Mr. Rapid-- Eh, what! Why, he's gone--yet he said he
would come.
How rude! I don't wonder, my dear, you are properly crimson and


Her Last Letter: Being a Reply to 'His Answer'

June 4th! Do you know what that date means?
June 4th! By this air and these pines!
Well,--only you know how I hate scenes,--
These might be my very last lines!
For perhaps, sir, you'll kindly remember--
If some other things you've forgot--
That you last wrote the 4th of december,--
Just six months ago I--from this spot;

From this spot, that you said was 'the fairest
For once being held in my thought.'
Now, really I call that the barest
Of--well, I won't say what I ought!
For here I am back from my 'riches,'
My 'triumphs,' my 'tours,' and all that;
And YOU'RE not to be found in the ditches
Or temples of Poverty Flat!

From Paris we went for the season
To London, when pa wired, 'Stop.'
Mama says 'his health' was the reason.
(I've heard that some things took a 'drop.')
But she said if my patience I'd summon
I could go back with him to the Flat--
Perhaps I was thinking of some one
Who of me--well--was not thinking that!

Of course you will SAY that I 'never
Replied to the letter you wrote.'
That is just like a man! But, however,
I read it--or how could I quote?
And as to the stories you've heard (No,
Don't tell me you haven't--I know!),
You'll not believe one blessed word, Joe;
But just whence they came, let them go!

And they came from Sade Lotski of Yolo,
Whose father sold clothes on the Bar--
You called him Job-lotski, you know, Joe,
And the boys said HER value was par.
Well, we met her in Paris--just flaring
With diamonds, and lost in a hat
And she asked me 'how Joseph was faring
In his love-suit on Poverty Flat!'

She thought it would shame me! I met her
With a look, Joe, that made her eyes drop;
And I said that your 'love-suit fared better
Than any suit out of THEIR shop!'
And I didn't blush then--as I'm doing
To find myself here, all alone,
And left, Joe, to do all the 'sueing'
To a lover that's certainly flown.

In this brand-new hotel, called 'The Lily'
(I wonder who gave it that name?)
I really am feeling quite silly,
To think I was once called the same;
And I stare from its windows, and fancy
I'm labeled to each passer-by.
Ah! gone is the old necromancy,
For nothing seems right to my eye.

On that hill there are stores that I knew not;
There's a street--where I once lost my way;
And the copse where you once tied my shoe-knot
Is shamelessly open as day!
And that bank by the spring--I once drank there,
And you called the place Eden, you know;
Now I'm banished like Eve--though the bank there
Is belonging to 'Adams and Co.'

There's the rustle of silk on the sidewalk;
Just now there passed by a tall hat;
But there's gloom in this 'boom' and this wild talk
Of the 'future' of Poverty Flat.
There's a decorous chill in the air, Joe,
Where once we were simple and free;
And I hear they've been making a mayor, Joe,
Of the man who shot Sandy McGee.

But there's still the 'lap, lap' of the river;
There's the song of the pines, deep and low.
(How my longing for them made me quiver
In the park that they call Fontainebleau!)
There's the snow-peak that looked on our dances,
And blushed when the morning said, 'Go!'
There's a lot that remains which one fancies--
But somehow there's never a Joe!

Perhaps, on the whole, it is better,
For you might have been changed like the rest;
Though it's strange that I'm trusting this letter
To papa, just to have it addressed.
He thinks he may find you, and really
Seems kinder now I'm all alone.
You might have been here, Joe, if merely
To LOOK what I'm willing to OWN.

Well, well! that's all past; so good-night, Joe;
Good-night to the river and Flat;
Good-night to what's wrong and what's right, Joe;
Good-night to the past, and all that--
To Harrison's barn, and its dancers;
To the moon, and the white peak of snow;
And good-night to the canyon that answers
My 'Joe!' with its echo of 'No!'

P. S.

I've just got your note. You deceiver!
How dared you--how COULD you? Oh, Joe!
To think I've been kept a believer
In things that were six months ago!
And it's YOU'VE built this house, and the bank, too,
And the mills, and the stores, and all that!
And for everything changed I must thank YOU,
Who have 'struck it' on Poverty Flat!

How dared you get rich--you great stupid!--
Like papa, and some men that I know,
Instead of just trusting to Cupid
And to me for your money? Ah, Joe!
Just to think you sent never a word, dear,
Till you wrote to papa for consent!
Now I know why they had me transferred here,
And 'the health of papa'--what THAT meant!

Now I know why they call this 'The Lily;'
Why the man who shot Sandy McGee
You made mayor! 'Twas because--oh, you silly!--
He once 'went down the middle' with me!
I've been fooled to the top of my bent here,
So come, and ask pardon--you know
That you've still got to get MY consent, dear!
And just think what that echo said--Joe!

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