Wednesday, July 23, 2014

That Nantucket Limerick, and What Followed

There once was a man from Nantucket
Who kept all his cash in a bucket;
But his daughter, named Nan,
Ran away with a man,
And as for the bucket, Nantucket.
(Princeton Tiger)

But he followed the pair to Pawtucket
The man and. the girl with the bucket;
And he said to the man
He was welcome to Nan,
But as for the bucket, Pawtucket.
(Chicago Tribune)

Then the pair followed Pa to Manhasset,
Where he still held the cash as an asset;
But Nan and the man
Stole the money and ran,
And as for the bucket, Manhasset.
(New York Press)

The Seige of Belgrade

An Austrian army, awfully arrayed,
Boldly by battery besieged Belgrade.
Cossack commanders cannonading come,
Dealing destruction's devastating doom.
Every endeavor engineers essay,
For fame, for fortune fighting-furious fray!
Generals 'gainst general grapple-gracious God!
How honors Heaven heroic hardihood!
Infuriate, indiscriminate in ill,
Kindred kill kinsmen, kinsmen kindred kill.
Labor low levels longest, loftiest lines;
Men march 'mid mounds, 'mid moles, 'mid murderous mines;
Now noxious, noisy numbers nothing, naught
Of outward obstacles, opposing ought;
Poor patriots, partly purchased, partly pressed,
Quite quaking, quickly "Quarter! Quarter!" quest.
Reason returns, religious right redounds,
Suwarrow stops such sanguinary sounds.
Truce to thee, Turkey! Triumph to thy train,
Unwise, unjust, unmerciful Ukraine!
Vanish, vain victory! vanish, victory vain!
Why wish we warfare? Wherefore welcome were
Xerxes, Ximenes, Xanthus, Xavier?
Yield, yield, ye youths! ye yeomen, yield your yell
Zeus', Zarpater's, Zoroaster's zeal,
Attracting all, arms against acts appeal!

Alaric Alexander Watts

(this is one astonishing poem, the largest poem of alliteration I've ever seen, and in perfect alphabetical order)

To An Athlete Dying Young

The time you won your town the race
We chaired you through the market-place;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
And home we brought you shoulder-high.
To-day, the road all runners come,
Shoulder-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.
Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields where glory does not stay
And early though the laurel grows,
It withers quicker than the rose.
Eyes the shady night has shut
Cannot see the record cut,
And silence sounds no worse than cheers
After earth has stopped the ears:
Now you will not swell the rout
Of lads that wore their honours out,
Runners whom renown outran
And the name died before the man.
So set, before its echoes fade,
The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
And hold to the low lintel up
The still-defended challenge-cup.
And round that early-laurelled head
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
And find unwithered on its curls
The garland briefer than a girl's.

A. E. Housman

Breathes There The Man With Soul So Dead

Breathes there the man with soul so dead
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ne'er within him burned,
As home his footsteps he hath turned
From wandering on a foreign strand?
If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
For him no minstrel raptures swell;
High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim,
Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
The wretch, concentred all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonored, and unsung.
(From The Lay of the Last Minstrel)

Sir Walter Scott

truth and politics

You can always get the truth from an American statesman after he has turned seventy, or given up all hope for the Presidency.

 -Wendell Phillips

Eulogy At His Brother's Funeral

DEAR FRIENDS: I am going to do that which the dead oft promised he would do for me.
The loved and loving brother, husband, father, friend, died where manhood's morning almost touches noon, and while the shadows still were falling toward the west.
He had not passed on life's highway the stone that marks the highest point; but being weary for a moment, he lay down by the wayside, and using his burden for a pillow, fell into that dreamless sleep that kisses down his eyelids still. While yet in love with life and raptured with the world, he passed to silence and pathetic dust.
Yet, after all, it may be best, just in the happiest, sunniest hour of all the voyage, while eager winds are kissing every sail, to dash against the unseen rock, and in an instant hear the billows roar above a sunken ship. For whether in mid-sea or 'mong the breakers of the farther shore, a wreck at last must mark the end of each and all. And every life, no matter if its every hour is rich with love and every moment jeweled with a joy, will, at its close, become a tragedy as sad and deep and dark as can be woven of the warp and woof of mystery and death. This brave and tender man in every storm of life was oak and rock; but in the sunshine he was vine and flower. He was the friend of all heroic souls. He climbed the heights, and left all superstitions far below, while on his forehead fell the golden dawning of the grander day.
He loved the beautiful, and was with color, form and music touched to tears. He sided with the weak, the poor, the wronged, and lovingly gave alms. With loyal heart and with the purest hands he faithfully discharged all public trusts.
He was a worshiper of liberty, a friend of the oppressed. A thousand times I have heard him quote these words: "For Justice all places a temple, and all seasons, summer." He believed that hap¬piness was the only good, reason the only torch, justice the only worship, humanity the only religion, and love the only priest. He added to the sum of human joy; and were everyone to whom he did some loving service to bring a blossom to his grave, he would sleep tonight beneath a wilderness of flowers.
Life is a narrow vale between the cold and barren peaks of two eternities. We strive in vain to look beyond the heights. We cry aloud, and the only answer is the echo of our wailing cry. From the voiceless lips of the unreplying dead there comes no word; but in the night of death hope sees a star and listening love can hear the rustle of a wing.
He who sleeps here, when dying, mistaking the approach of death for the return of health, whispered with his latest breath, "I am better now." Let us believe, in spite of doubts and dogmas, of fears and tears, that these dear words are true of all the countless dead.
The record of a generous life runs like a vine around the memory of our dead, and every sweet, unselfish act is now a perfumed flower.
And now, to you, who have been chosen, from among the many men he loved, to do the last sad office for the dead, we give his sacred dust.
Speech cannot contain our love. There was, there is, no gentler, stronger, manlier man.

Robert G. Ingersoll

She Is More To Be Pitied Than Censured

At the old concert hall on the Bowery
Round the table were seated one night
A crowd of young fellows carousing;
With them life seemed cheerful and bright.

At the very next table was seated
A girl who had fallen to shame.
All the young fellows jeered at her weakness
Till they heard an old woman exclaim:

She is more to be pitied than censured,
She is more to be helped than despised,
She is only a lassie who ventured
On life's stormy path ill-advised.

Do not scorn her with words fierce and bitter,
Do not laugh at her shame and downfall;
For a moment just stop and consider
That a man was the cause of it all.

There's an old-fashioned church round the corner,
Where the neighbors all gathered one day
While the parson was preaching a sermon
O'er a soul that had just passed away.

Happy, in truth, that not one face
We missed from its accustomed place;
Thankful to work for all the seven,
Trusting the rest to One in heaven!

William B. Gray

Echoes To A Slave

Or ever the knightly years were gone
With the old world to the grave,
I was a King in Babylon
And you were a Christian Slave.

I saw, I took, I cast you by,
I bent and broke your pride.
You loved me well, or I heard them lie,
But your longing was denied.

Surely I knew that by and by
You cursed your gods and died.
And a myriad suns have set and shone
Since then upon the grave

Decreed by the King of Babylon
To her that had been his Slave.
The pride I trampled is now my scathe,
For it tramples me again.

The old resentment lasts like death,
For you love, yet you refrain.
I break my heart on your hard unfaith,
And I break my heart in vain.

Yet not for an hour do I wish undone
The deed beyond the grave,
When I was a King in Babylon
And you were a Virgin Slave.

William Ernest Henley

The Cloud

I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
In their noonday dreams.
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
The sweet buds everyone,
When rocked to rest on their mother's breast,
As she dances about the sun.
I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
And whiten the green plains under,
And then again I dissolve it in rain,
And laugh as I pass in thunder.
I sift the snow on the mountains below,
And their great pines groan aghast,
And all the nights 'tis my pillow white,
While I sleep in the arms of the blast.
Sublime on the towers of my skiey bowers,
Lightning, my pilot, sits,
In a cavern under is fettered the thunder,
It struggles and howls at fits;
Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion,
This pilot is guiding me,
Lured by the love of the genii that move
In the depths of the purple sea;
Over the rills, and the crags, and the hills,
Over the lakes and the plains,
Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream,
The Spirit he loves remains;
And I all the while bask in heaven's blue smile,
Whilst he is dissolving in rains.
The sanguine sunrise, with his meteor eyes,
And his burning plumes outspread,
Laps on the back of my sailing rack,
When the morning star shines dead,
As on the jag of a mountain crag,
Which an earthquake rocks and swings,
An eagle alit one moment may sit
In the light of its golden wings.
And when sunset may breathe, from the lit sea beneath,
Its ardours of rest and of love,
And the crimson pall of eve may fall
From the depth of heaven above,
With wings folded I rest, on mine airy nest,
As still as a brooding dove.
That orbed maiden with white fire laden,
Whom mortals call the moon,
Glides glimmering o'er my fleece-like floor,
By the midnight breezes strewn:
And wherever the beat of her unseen feet,
Which only the angels hear,
May have broken the woof of my tent's thin roof,
The stars peep behind her and peer;
And I laugh to see them whirl and flee,
Like a swarm of golden bees,
When I widen the rent in my wind-built tent,
Till the calm rivers, lakes, and seas,
Like strips of the sky fallen through me on high,
Are each paved with the moon and these.
I bind the sun's throne with a burning zone,
And the moon's with a girdle of pearl;
The volcanoes are dim, and the stars reel and swim,
When the whirlwinds my banner unfurl.
From cape to cape, with a bridge-like shape,
Over a torrent sea,
Sunbeam-proof, I hang like a roof,
The mountains its columns be.
The triumphal arch through which I march
With hurricane, fire, and snow,
When the powers of the air are chained to my chair,
Is the million-coloured bow;
The sphere-fire above its soft colours wove,
While the moist earth was laughing below.
I am the daughter of earth and water,
And the nursling of the sky;
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
I change, but I cannot die.
For after the rain, when with never a stain
The pavilion of heaven is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams, with their convex gleams,
Build up the blue dome of air,
I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
I arise and unbuild it again.

Percy Blythe Shelley

If I Should Die Tonight

If I should die tonight,
My friends would look upon my quiet face
Before they laid it in its resting place,
And deem that death had left it almost fair;
And laying snow-white flowers against my hair,
Would smooth it down with tearful tenderness,
And fold my hands with lingering caress;
Poor hands, so empty and so cold tonight!

If I should die tonight,
My friends would call to mind with loving thought,
Some kindly deed the icy hand had wrought,
Some gentle word the frozen lips had said;
Errands on which the willing feet had sped.
The memory of my selfishness and pride,
My hasty words, would all be put aside,
And so I should be loved and mourned tonight.

If I should die tonight,
Even hearts estranged would turn once more to me,
Recalling other days remorsefully.
The eyes that chill me with averted glance
Would look upon me as of yore, perchance,
Would soften in the old, familiar way;
For who could war with dumb, unconscious clay?
So I might rest, forgiven of all, tonight.

0 friends, I pray tonight,
Keep not your kisses for my dead, cold brow.
The way is lonely; let me feel them now.
Think gently of me; I am travel-worn;
My faltering feet are pierced with many a thorn.
Forgive, 0 hearts estranged, forgive, I plead!
When dreamless rest is mine I shall not need
The tenderness for which I long tonight.

Arabella Eugenia Smith

Words For Army Bugle Calls

 I can't get 'em up, I can't get 'em up, I can't get 'em up in the morning.
 I can't get 'em up, I can't get 'em up, I can't get 'em up at all.
The corp'ral's worse than privates; The sergeant's worse than corp'rals;
 Lieutenant's worse than sergeants; An' the captain's worst of all

Come and get your quinine, and come and get your pills;
Ohl Come and get your quinine,
And cure, and cure, all your ills, and cure your ills.

Soupy, soupy, soupy, without a single bean;
Porky, porky, porky, without a streak of lean;
Coffee, coffee, coffee, without any cream.

Come off to the stable, all you who are able,
And give your horses some oats and some corn;
For if you don't do it, your colonel will know it,
And then you will rue it, as sure as you're born.

With a pick and with a shovel, and with a hoe;
With a sentry at your back you won't say no;
With a pick and with a shovel, and with a hoe,
Down in the ditch you go!

Fading light
Dims the sight,
And a star gems the sky,
Gleaming bright,
From a-far,
Drawing nigh,
Falls the night.
Dear one, rest!
In the west
Sable night
Lulls the day on her breast.
Sweet, good night!
Now away
To thy rest.
Love, sweet dreams
Lo, the beams
Of the light
Fairy moon kiss the streams.
Love, good night
Ah, so soon!
Peaceful dreams!

The Marines Hymn

From the Halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli
We fight our country's battles
On the land as on the sea.
First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean;
We are proud to claim the title
Of United States Marine.

Our flag's unfurled to every breeze
From dawn to setting sun;
We have fought in every clime and place
Where we could take a gun;
In the snow of far-off Northern lands
And in sunny tropic scenes;
You will find us always on the job
The United States Marines.

Here's health to you and to our Corps
Which we are proud to serve;
In many a strife we've fought for life
And never lost our nerve;
If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven's scenes,
They will find the streets are guarded
By United States Marines.

In Time of "The Breaking of Nations"

Only a man harrowing clods
 In a slow silent walk,
 With an old horse that stumbles and nods
 Half asleep as they stalk.

Only thin smoke without flame 
From the heaps of couch grass:
Yet this will go onward the same
 Though Dynasties pass.

Yonder a maid and her wight
 Come whispering by;
War's annals will fade into night
 Ere their story die.

Thomas Hardy

Battle slain

He that fights and runs away
May turn and fight another day;
 But he that is in battle slain
Will never rise to fight again.


From Evangeline

This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
 Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,
 Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic,
 Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.
 Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep-voiced neighboring ocean
 Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest.
This is the forest primeval; but where are the hearts that beneath it
 Leaped like the roe, when he hears in the woodland the voice of the huntsman?
 Where is the thatched-roofed village, the home of Acadian farmers,
 Men whose lives glided on like rivers that water the woodlands,
 Darkened by shadows of earth, but reflecting an image of heaven?
 Waste are those pleasant farms, and the farmers forever departed!
 Scattered like dust and leaves, when the mighty blasts of October
 Seize them, and whirl them aloft, and sprinkle them far o'er the ocean.
Naught but tradition remains of the beautiful village of Grand Pre.
Ye who believe in affection that hopes, and endures, and is patient,
 Ye who believe in the beauty and strength of woman's devotion,
 List to the mournful tradition still sung by the pines of the forest;
 List to a Tale of Love in Acadie, home of the happy.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Church Scene

So passed the morning away. And lot with a summons sonorous
Sounded the bell from its tower, and over the meadows a drum beat.
Thronged erelong was the church with men. Without, in the churchyard,
Waited the women. They stood by the graves, and hung on the headstones
Garlands of autumn-leaves and evergreens fresh from the forest.
Then came the guard from the ships and marching proudly among them
Entered the sacred portal. With loud and dissonant clangor
Echoed the sound of their brazen drums from ceiling and casement
Echoed a moment only, and slowly the ponderous portal
Closed, and in silence the crowd awaited the will of the soldiers.
Then uprose their commander, and spake from the steps of the
Holding aloft in his hands, with its seals, the royal commission.
"You are convened this day," he said, "by his Majesty's orders,
Clement and kind has he been; but how you have answered his kindness,
Let your own hearts reply! To my natural make and my temper
Painful the task is I do, which to you I know must be grievous.
Yet must I bow and obey, and deliver the will of our monarch:.
Namely, that all your lands, and dwellings, and cattle of all kinds
Forfeited be to the crown; and that you yourselves from this province
Be transported to other lands. God grant you may dwell there
Ever as faithful subjects, a happy and peaceable people!
Prisoners now I declare you, for such is his Majesty's pleasure!"
As, when the air is serene in sultry solstice of summer,
Suddenly gathers a storm, and the deadly sling of the hailstones
Beats down the farmer's corn in the field, and shatters his windows,
Hiding the sun, and strewing the ground with thatch from the house-roofs,
Bellowing fly the herds, and seek to break their enclosures;
So on the hearts of the people descended the words of the speaker.
Silent a moment they stood in speechless wonder, and then rose
Louder and ever louder a wail of sorrow and anger,
And, by one impulse moved, they madly rushed to the doorway.
Vain was the hope of escape; and cries and fierce imprecations
Rang through the house of prayer; and high o'er the heads of the others
Rose, with his arms uplifted, the figure of Basil the blacksmith,
As, on a stormy sea, a spar is tossed by the billows.
Flushed was his face and distorted with passion; and wildly he shouted-
"Down with the tyrants of England! we never have sworn them allegiance!
Death to these foreign soldiers, who seize on our homes and our harvests!"
More he fain would have said, but the merciless hand of a soldier
Smote him upon the mouth, and dragged him down to the pavement.
In the midst of the strife and tumult of angry contention,
La! the door of the chancel opened, and Father Felician
Entered, with serious mien, and ascended the steps of the altar.
Raising his reverend hand, with a gesture he awed into silence
All that clamorous throng; and thus he spake to his people;
Deep were his tones and solemn; in accents measured and mournful
Spake he, as, after the tocsin's alarum, distinctly the clock strikes.
"What is that ye do, my children? what madness has seized you?
Forty years of my life have I labored among you, and taught you
, Not in word alone, but in deed, to love one another!
Is this the fruit of my toils, of my vigils and prayers and priva¬tions?
Have you so soon forgotten all lessons of love and forgiveness?
This is the house of the Prince of Peace, and would you profane it
Thus with violent deeds and hearts overflowing with hatred?
Lo! where the crucified Christ from His cross is gazing upon you!
See! in those sorrowful eyes what meekness and holy compassion!
Hark! how those lips still repeat the prayer, '0 Father, forgive them!'
Let us repeat: that prayer in the hour when the wicked assail us,
Let us repeat it now, and say, '0 Father, forgive them!' "
Few were his words of rebuke, but deep in the hearts of his people
Sank they, and sobs of contrition succeeded the passionate outbreak,
While they repeated his prayer, and said, "0 Father, forgive them! "

Monday, July 21, 2014

the Walloping Window Blind

A capital ship for an ocean trip
 Was the Walloping Window-Blind!
 No wind that blew dismayed her crew,
 Or troubled the Captain's mind.
The man at the wheel was made to feel
 Contempt for the wildest blow,
 Tho' it often appeared when the gale had cleared
 That he'd been in his bunk below.

 Then winds, heigh-ho!.
 A-roving I will go!

 I'll stay no more
on this bright shore,
 So let the music play,
 I'm off for the morning train,
I'll cross the raging main!
I'm off to my love with a boxing glove,
 Ten thousand miles away.

The bo'swain's mate was very sedate,
Yet fond of amusement too;
 He played hopscotch
 with the starboard watch
 While the Captain, he tickled the crew,
And the gunner we had was apparently mad,
 For he sat on the after rail,
And fired salutes
with the Captain's boots,
In the teeth of the booming gale!

 The Captain sat on the Commodore's hat,
 And dined in a royal way,
Off toasted pigs
 and pickles and figs,
And gunnery bread each day
And the cook was Dutch,
and behaved as such,
 For the diet he gave the crew
 Was a number of tons
 of hot cross buns
Served up with sugar and glue!

 All nautical pride we laid aside,
 And we ran the vessel ashore
On the Gullibly Isles,
 where the Poo-poo smiles,
 And the Rubly Ubdugs roar.
 And we sat on the edge
 of a sandy ledge
 And shot at the whistling bee;
 And the cinnamon bats
 wore wet-proof hats
 As they dipped in the shiny sea.

 On Rugbug bark,
 from morn till dark,
We dined till we all had grown
 Uncommonly shrunk
 when a Chinese junk
 Came up from the Torribly Zone.
 She was chubby and square,
 But we didn't much care,
So we cheerily put to sea;
And we left all the crew
 of the junk to chew
 On the bark of the Rugbug tree.

Charles E. Carryl


Methuselah ate what he found on his plate,
 And never, as people do now,
 Did he note the amount of the calorie count:
 He ate it because it was chow.
He wasn't disturbed as at dinner he sat,
 Devouring a roast or a pie,
 To think it was lacking in granular fat
Or a couple of vitamins shy.
 He cheerfully chewed each species of food,
 Unmindful of troubles or fears
Lest his health might be hurt
 By some fancy dessert;
And he lived over nine hundred years.

Casey's Revenge

Being a Reply to the Famous Baseball Classic, "Casey at the Bat" James Wilson

 There were saddened hearts in Mudville for a week or even more;
 There were muttered oaths and curses-every fan in town was sore.
 "Just think," said one, "how soft it looked with Casey at the bat!
 And then to think he'd go and spring a bush-league trick like that."
All his past fame was forgotten; he was now a hopeless "shine,"
 They called him "Strike-out Casey" from the mayor down the line,
 And as he came to bat each day his bosom heaved a sigh,
While a look of helpless fury shone in mighty Casey's eye.
The lane is long, someone has said, that never turns again,
 And Fate, though fickle, often gives another chance to men.
 And Casey smiled-his rugged face no longer wore a frown;
 The pitcher who had started all the trouble came to town.
 All Mudville had assembled; ten thousand fans had come
 To see the twirler who had put big Casey on the bum;
 And when he stepped into the box the multitude went wild.
 He doffed his cap in proud disdain-but Casey only smiled.
"Play ball!" the umpire's voice rang out, and then the game began;
 But in that throng of thousands there was not a single fan
Who thought that Mudville had a chance; and with the setting sun
 Their hopes sank low-the rival team was leading "four to one."
 The last half of the ninth came round, with no change in the score;
 But when the first man up hit safe the crowd began to roar.
The din increased, the echo of ten thousand shouts was heard
 When the pitcher hit the second and gave "four balls" to the third.
Three men on base-nobody out-three runs to tie the game!
A triple meant the highest niche in Mudville's hall of fame;
 But here the rally ended and the gloom was deep as night
When the fourth one "fouled to catcher" and the fifth "flew out to right;"
 A dismal groan in chorus came-a scowl was on each face
When Casey walked up, bat in hand, and slowly took his place;
 His bloodshot eyes in fury gleamed; his teeth were clinched in hate;
He gave his cap a vicious hook and pounded on the plate.
But fame is fleeting as the wind, and glory fades away;
There were no wild and woolly cheers, no glad acclaim this day.
 They hissed and groaned and hooted as they clamored, "Strike him out!"
But Casey gave no outward sign that he had heard this shout.
The pitcher smiled and cut one loose; across the plate it spread;
Another hiss, another groan. "Strike one!" the umpire said. .
 Zip! Like a shot, the second curve broke just below his knee
" Strike two!" the umpire roared aloud; but Casey made no plea.
No roasting for the umpire now-his was an easy lot;
 But here the pitcher whirled again-was that a rifle shot!
 A whack! a crack! and out through space the leather pellet flew,
 A blot against the distant sky, a speck against the blue.
Above the fence in center field, in rapid whirling flight,
The sphere sailed on; the blot grew dim and then was lost to sight.
 Ten thousand hats were thrown in air, ten thousand threw a fit;
 But no one ever found the ball that mighty Casey hit!
Oh, somewhere in this favored land dark clouds may hide the sun,
 And somewhere bands no longer play and children have no fun;
 And somewhere over blighted lives there hangs a heavy pall;
 But Mudville hearts are happy now-for Casey hit the ball!

Letter from a Yugoslavian guerrilla fighter to his unborn child

(Found on his body sometime in 1942)
 My Child, sleeping now in the dark and gathering strength for the struggle of birth, I wish you well. At present you have no proper shape, and you do not breathe, and you are blind. Yet, when your time comes, your time and the time of your mother, whom I deeply love, there will be something in you that will give you power to fight for air and life. Such is your heritage, such is your destiny as a child born of woman-to fight for light and hold on without knowing why.
 May the flame that tempers the bright steel of your youth never die, but burn always; so that when your work is done and your long day is ended, you may still be like a watchman's fire at the end of a lonely road-loved and cherished for your gracious glow by all good wayfarers who need light in their darkness and warmth for their comfort.
The spirit of wonder and adventure, the token of immortality, will be given to you as a child. May you keep it forever, with that in your heart which always seeks the gold beyond the rainbow, the pasture beyond the desert, the dawn beyond the sea, the light beyond the dark.
 May you seek always and strive in good faith and high courage, in this world where men grow so tired.
 Keep your capacity for faith and belief, but let your judgment watch what you believe.
 Keep your power to receive everything, only learn to select what your instinct tells you is right.
 Keep your love of life, but throwaway your fear of death. Life must be loved or it is lost; but it should never be loved too well.
 Keep your delight in friendship; only learn to know your friends.
 Keep your intolerance-only save it for what your heart tells you is bad.
 Keep your wonder at great and noble things like sunlight and thunder, the rain and the stars, the wind and the sea, the growth of trees and the return of harvests, and the greatness of heroes.
 Keep your heart hungry for new knowledge; keep your hatred of a lie; and keep your power of indignation. Now I know I must die, and you must be born to stand upon the rubbish heap of my errors. Forgive me for this. I am ashamed to leave you an untidy world. But so it must be.
 In thought, as a last benediction, I kiss your forehead.
 Good night to you-and good morning and a clear dawn.

Little Giffen

Out of the focal and foremost fire,
Out of the hospital walls as dire,
 Smitten of grapeshot and gangrene, 
Eighteenth battle and he sixteen
 Specter such as you seldom see,
 Little Giffen of Tennessee.
 "Take him and welcome," the surgeon said;
 "Not the doctor can help the deadl"
 So we took him and brought him where
 The balm was sweet in our summer air;
 And we laid him down on a wholesome bed;
 Utter Lazarus, heel to head!
 And we watched the war with abated breath
 Skeleton boy against skeleton death!
 Months of torture, how many such!
 Weary weeks of the stick and crutch
And still a glint in the steel-blue eye
Told of a spirit that wouldn't die,
And didn't! Nay! more! in death's despite
 The crippled skeleton learned to write
 "Dear mother!" at first, of course, and then
 "Dear Captainl" inquiring about the men.
 Captain's answer: "Of eighty and five,
 Giffen and I are left alive."
 "Johnston pressed at the front," they say;
 Little Giffen was up and away!
 A tear, his first, as he bade good-by,
 Dimmed the glint of his steel-blue eye.
 "I'll write, if spared!" There was news of fight,
 But none of Giffen-he did not write
 I sometimes fancy that were I King
Of the courtly Knights of Arthur's ring,
 With the voice of the minstrel in mine ear
 And the tender legend that trembles here,
I'd give the best on his bended knee
The whitest soul of my chivalry
For Little Giffen of Tennessee.

Francis Orray Ticknor

Lincoln Challenges Robert Allen

New Salem, June 21, 1836

Dear Colonel: I am told that during my absence last week you passed through this place, and stated publicly that you were in possession of a fact or facts which, if known to the. public, would entirely destroy the prospects of N. W. Edwards and myself at the ensuing election; but that, through favor to us, you should forbear to divulge them. No one has needed favors more than I, and, generally, few have been less unwilling to accept them; but in this case favor tome would be injustice to the public, and therefore I must beg your pardon for declining it. That I once had the confidence of the people of Sangamon, is sufficiently evident; and if I have since done anything, either by design or misadventure, which if known would subject me to a forfeiture of that confidence, he that knows of that thing, and conceals it, is a traitor to his country's interest. .

I find myself wholly unable to form any conjecture of what fact or facts, real or supposed, you spoke; but my opinion of your veracity will not permit me for a moment to doubt you at least believed what you said. I am flattered with the personal regard you manifested for me; but I do hope that, on more mature reflection, you will view the public interest as a paramount consideration, and therefore determine to let the worst come. I here assure you that the candid statement of facts on your part, however low it may sink me, shall never break the tie of personal friendship between us. I wish an answer to this, and you are at liberty to publish both, if you choose.

A. Lincoln

The Common People

The genius of the United States is not best or most in its executives or legislatures, nor in its ambassadors or authors or colleges or churches or parlors, nor even in its newspapers or inventors . . but always most in the common people. Their manners, speech, dress, friendships,-the freshness and candor of their physiognomy-the picturesque looseness of their carriage. . . their deathless attachment to freedom-their aversion to anything indecorous or soft or mean-the practical acknowledgment of the citizens of one state by the citizens of all other states-the fierceness of their roused resentment-their curiosity and susceptibility to a slight-the air they have of persons who never knew how it felt to stand in the presence of superiors-the fluency of their speech-their delight in music, the sure symptom of manly tenderness and native elegance of soul. . . their good temper and openhandedness-the terrible significance of their elections-the President's taking off his hat to them and not they to him-these too are unrhymed poetry.

 (From the preface to Leaves of Grass)

Walt Whitman

Abraham Lincooln's letter to Johnston, his step-brother

Dear Johnston:
 Your request for eighty dollars I do not think it best to comply with now. At the various times when I have helped you a little you-have said to me, "We can get along very well now"; but in a very short time I find you in the same difficulty again. Now this can only happen by some defect in your conduct. What that defect is, I think I know. You are not lazy, and still you are an idler. I doubt whether, since I saw you, you have done a good whole day's work in anyone day. You do not very much dislike to work, and still you do not work much, merely because it does not seem to you that you could get much for it. This habit of uselessly wasting time is the whole difficulty; it is vastly important to you, and still more so to your children, that you should break the habit. It is more important to them, because they have longer to live, and can keep out of an idle habit before they are in it, easier than they can get out of it after they are in.
 You are now in need of some money; and what I propose is, that you shall go to work, "tooth and nail," for somebody who will give you money for it. Let father and your boys take charge of your things at home, prepare for a crop, and make a crop, and you go to work for the best money wages, or in discharge of any debt you owe, that you can get; and, to secure you a fair reward for your labor, I now promise you, that for every dollar you will, between this and the first of May, get for your own labor, either in money or as your own indebtedness, I will then give you one other dollar. By this, if you hire yourself at ten dollars a month, from. me you will get ten more, making twenty dollars a month for your work. In this I do not mean you shall go off to St. Louis, or the lead mines, or the gold mines in California, but I mean for you to go at it for the best wages you can get close to home in Coles County. Now, if you will do this, you will soon be out of debt, and, what is better, you will have a habit that will keep you from getting in debt again. But if I should now clear you out of debt, next year you would be just as deep in as ever. You say you would almost give your place in heaven for seventy or eighty dollars. Then you value your place in heaven very cheap, for I am sure you can, with the offer I make, get the seventy or eighty dollars for four or five months' work. You say if I will furnish you the money you will deed me the land, and, if you don't pay the money back, you will deliver possession. Nonsense! If you can't live with the land, how will you then live without it? You have always been kind to me, and I do not mean to be unkind to you. On the contrary, if you will but follow my advice, you will find it worth more than eighty times eighty dollars to you.
 Affectionately your brother,
 A. Lincoln

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Newspaper Hoax That Fooled the Nation

Popular Young Couple Married This Week
 The groom is a popular young bum who hasn't done a lick of work since he got shipped in the middle of his junior year at college. He manages to dress well and to keep a supply of spending money because his dad is a soft-hearted old fool who takes up his bad checks instead of letting him go to jail where he belongs.
 The bride is a skinny, fast little idiot who has been kissed and handled by every boy in town since she was twelve years old. She paints like a Sioux Indian, sucks cigarettes in secret, and drinks mean corn-liquor when she is out joy-riding in her dad's car at night. She doesn't know how to cook, sew or keep house.
 The groom wore a rented dinner suit over athletic underwear of imitation silk. His pants were held up by pale green suspenders. His number eight patent-leather shoes matched his state in tightness and harmonized nicely with the axle-grease polish of his hair. In addition to his jag he carried a pocket-knife, a bunch of keys, a dun for the ring and his usual look of imbecility.
 The bride wore some kind of white thing that left most of her legs sticking out at one end and her bony upper end sticking out at the other.
 The young people will make their home with the bride's parents, which means they will sponge on the old man until he dies and then she will take in washing. The happy couple anticipate a great event in about five months.
 Postscript.- This may be the last issue of The Tribune, but my life ambition has been to write up one wedding and tell the unvarnished truth. Now that it is done, death can have no sting.
 (By Robert E. Quillen in the Fountain Inn, S. C., Tribune)