Abbildungen der Seite
PDF

FIRST APPEARANCE AT THE ODEON.

"I Am Nicholas Tacchlnardi,— hunchbacked, look you, and a fright;

Caliban himself might never interpose so foul a sight.

Granted; but I come not, masters, to exhibit form or size.

Gaze not on my limbs, good people; lend your ears, and not your eyes.

I'm a singer, not a dancer,— spare me for a while your din;

Let me try my voice to-night here,— keep your jests till I begin.

Have the kindness but to listen,— this is all I dare to ask.

See, I stand beside the footlights, waiting to begin my task,

If I fail to please you, curse me,— not before my voice you hear,

Thrust me not from the Odeon. Hearken, and I've naught to fear."

Then the crowd in pit and boxes jeered the dwarf, and mocked his shape;
Called him "monster," "thing abhorrent," crying, "Oif, presumptuous ape 1
Off, unsightly, baleful creature! off, and quit the insulted stage!
Move aside, repulsive figure, or deplore our gathering rage."

Bowing low, pale Tacchinardi, long accustomed to such threats,
Burst into a grand bravura, showering notes like diamond jets,—
sang until the ringing plaudits through the wide Odeon rang,—
Sang as never soaring tenor ere behind those footlights sang;
And the hunchback, ever after, like a god was hailed with cries,—
"King of minstrels, lice foreter! Shame on fools who hate but eyes!"

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

LISTENING FOR GOD.

I Hear it often in the dark,

I hear it in the light,—
Where is the voice that calls to me

With such a quiet might?
It seems but echo to my thought,

And yet beyond the stars;
It seems a heart-beat in a hush,

And yet the planet jars.

Oh, may it he that far within

My inmost soul there lies
A spirit-sky, that opens with

Those voices of surprise?
And can it be, by night and day,

That firmament serene
Is just the heaven where God himself,

The Father, dwells unseen?

Oh, God within, so close to me
That every thought is plain,

Be judge, be friend, be Father still,
And in thy heaven reign!

Thy heaven is mine, — my very soul!

Thy words are sweet and strong; They fill my inward silences With music and with song.

They send me challenges to right.

And loud rebuke my ill; They ring my bells of victory,

They breathe my "Peace, be still 1" They ever seem to say, "My child;

Why seek me so all day? Now journey inward to thyself,

And listen by the way."

William Lloyd Garrison.

TOE FREE MIND.

High walls and huge the body may confine,

And iron gates obstruct the prisoner's gaze,

And massive bolts may baffle his design,

And vigilant keepers watch his devious ways;

But scorns the immortal mind such base control;

No chains can bind it and no cell enclose.

Swifter than light it flies from pole to pole,

And in a flash from earth to heaven it goes.

It leaps from mount to mount, from

vale to vale It wanders plucking honeyed fruits

and flowers; It visits home to hear the fireside tale And in sweet converse pass the joyous hours; 'Tis up before the sun, roaming afar, And in its watches wearies every star.

Frank H.

BAY BILLY.

'twas the last fight at Fredericks-
burg,—
Perhaps the day you reck,
Our boys, the Twenty-Second Maine,

Kept Early's men in check. Just where Wade Hampton boomed away

The fight went neck and neck.

All day the weaker wing we held,

And held it with a will. Five several stubborn times we charged

The battery on the hill, And five times beaten back, re-formed,

And kept our column still.

At last from out the centre fight.

Spurred up a general's aid. "That battery must silenced be!"

He cried, as past he sped. Our colonel simply touched his cap,

And then, with measured tread,

To lead the crouching line once more The grand old fellow came.

No wounded man but raised his head And strove to gasp his name,

GASSAWAY.

And those who could not speak nor stir,

"God blessed him" just the same.

For he was all the world to us.

That hero gray and grim. Right well we knew that fearful slope

We'd climb with none but him, Though while his white head led the way

We'd charge helps portals in.

This time we were not half-way up, When, midst the storm of shell,

Our leader, with his sword upraised, Beneath our bayonets fell.

And, as we bore him back, the foe Set up a joyous yell.

Our hearts went with him. Back

we swept, And when the bugle said "Up, charge, again!" no man was

there

But hung his dogged head.
"We've no one left to lead us now,"
The sullen soldiers said.

Just then before the laggard line
The colonel's horse we spied,

Bay Billy with his trappings on,
His nostrils swelling wide,

As though still on his gallant back
The master sat astride.

Right royally he took the place
That was of old his wont,

And with a neigh that seemed to say,
Above the battle's brunt,

"How can the Twenty-Second charge if I am not in front?"

Like statues rooted there we stood,

And gazed a little space.
Above that floating mane we missed

The dear familiar face,
But we saw Bay Billy's eye of fire,

And it gave us heart of grace.

No bugle-call could rouse us all
As that brave sight had done,

Down all the battered line we felt
A lightning impulse run.

Up! up the hill we followed Bill,
And we captured every gun!

And when upon the conquered height
Died out the battle's hum,

Vainly mid living and the dead
We sought our leader dumb.

It seemed as if a spectre steed
To win that day had come.

And then the dusk and dew of night

Fell softly o'er the plain, As though o'er man's dread work of death

The angels wept again, And drew night's curtain gently round

A thousand beds of pain.

All night the surgeons' torches went,
The ghastly rows between,—

All night with solemn step I paced
The torn and bloody green.

But who that fought in the big war
Such dread sights have not seen?

At last the morning broke. The lark Sang in the merry skies,

As if to e'en the sleepers there

It bade awake, and rise! Though naught but that last trump of all

Could ope their heavy eyes.

And then once more with banners gay.

Stretched out the long brigade. Trimly upon the furrowed field

The troops stood on parade, And bravely mid the ranks were closed

The gaps the fight had made.

Not half the Twenty-Second's men Were in their place that morn;

And Corporal Dick, who yester-noon stood six brave fellows on,

Now touched my elbow in the ranks,
For all between were gone.

Ah! who forgets that dreary hour
When, as with misty eyes,

To call the old familiar roll
The solemn sergeant tries,—

One feels that thumping of the heart
As no prompt voice replies.

And as in faltering tone and slow
The last few names were said,

Across the field some missing horse
Toiled up the weary tread.

It caught the sergeant's eye, and quick

Bay Billy's name he read.

Yes! there the old bay hero stood.
All safe from battle's harms,

And ere an order could be heard.
Or the bugle's quick alarms,

Down all the front, from end to end,
The troops presented arms!

Not all the shoulder-straps on earth
Could still our mighty cheer;

And ever from that famous day,
When rang the roll call clear,

Bay Billy's name was read, and then

The whole line answered, "Here!"

Richard Watson Gilder.

THERE IS NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN.

There is nothing new under the sun;

There is no new hope or despair; The agony just begun

Is as old as the earth and the air. My secret soul of bliss

Is one with the singing star's, And the ancient mountains miss

No hurt that my being mars.

I know as I know my life,

I know as I know my pain, That there is no lonely strife,

That he is mad who would gain A separate balm for his woe,

A single pity and cover: The one great God I know

Hears the same prayer over and over.

I know it because at the portal

Of heaven I bowed and cried, And I said, " Was ever a mortal

Thus crowned and crucified 1 My praise thou hast made my blame;

My best thou hast made my worst; My good thou hast turned to shame;

My drink is a flaming thirst."

But scarce my prayer was said

Ere from that place I turned; I trembled, I hung my head,

My cheek, shame-smitten, burned; For there where I bowed down

In my boastful agony, I thought of thy cross and crown,—

O Christ! I remembered thee.

THE SOWER.

A Sower went forth to sow,
His eyes were dark with woe;
He crushed the flowers beneath his
feet, [sweet,
Nor smelt the perfume warm and
That prayed for pity everywhere.
He came to a field that was harried

By iron, and to heaven laid bare:
He shook the seed that he carried
O'er that brown and bladeless place.
He shook it, as God shakes hail
Over a doomed land,
When lightnings interlace
The sky and the earth, and his wand
Of love is a thunder flail.

Thus did that sower sow;
His seed was human blood,
And tears of women and men.
And I, who near him stood,
Said: When the crop comes, then
There will be sobbing and sighing,
Weeping and wailing and crying,
Flame and ashes and woe.

It was an autumn day

When next I went that way.

And what, think you, did I see?

What was it that I heard?

The song of a sweet-voiced bird?

Nay — but the songs of many,

Thrilled through with praise and

prayer. Of all those voices not any Were sad of memory: And a sea of sunlight flowed, And a golden harvest glowed! On my face I fell down there; And I said: Thou only art wise — God of the earth and skies! And I thank thee, again and again, For the sower whose name is Pain.

WEAL AND WOE.

O Highest, strongest, sweetest woman-soul!

Thou boldest in the compass of

thy grace All the strange fate and passion of

thy race; Of the old, primal curse thou

knowest the whole: Thine eyes, too wise, are heavy with

the dole,

The doubt, the dread of alt this human maze;

« ZurückWeiter »