Where the Blue Begins by Various - HTML preview

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Oh, Autumn! why so soon
Depart the hues that make thy forests glad;
Thy gentle wind and thy fair sunny noon, And leave thee wild and sad?

Ah! 'twere a lot too blessed
Forever in thy colored shades to stray;
Amid the kisses of the soft southwest To rove and dream for aye;

And leave the vain low strife
That makes men mad--the tug for wealth and power,
The passions and the cares that wither life, And waste its little hour.

_William Cullen Bryant._

The Drummer Boy of Mission Ridge Did you ever hear of the Drummer Boy of Mission Ridge, who lay With his face to the foe, 'neath the enemy's guns, in the charge of

that terrible day?

They were firing above him and firing below, and the tempest of shot and shell
Was raging like death, as he moaned in his pain, by the breastworks where he fell.

"Go back with your corps," our colonel had said, but he waited the moment when
He might follow the ranks and shoulder a gun with the best of us bearded men;
And so when the signals from old Fort Wood set an army of veterans wild,
He flung down his drum, which spun down the hill like the ball of a wayward child.

And then he fell in with the foremost ranks of brave old company G,

As we charged by the flank, with our colors ahead, and our columns closed up like a V,
In the long, swinging lines of that splendid advance, when the flags of our corps floated out,
Like the ribbons that dance in the jubilant lines of the march of a gala day rout.

He charged with the ranks, though he carried no gun, for the colonel had said him nay,
And he breasted the blast of the bristling guns, and the shock of the sickening fray;
And when by his side they were falling like hail he sprang to a comrade slain,
And shouldered his musket and bore it as true as the hand that was dead in pain.

'Twas dearly we loved him, our Drummer Boy, with a fire in his bright, black eye,
That flashed forth a spirit too great for his form--he only was just so high,
As tall, perhaps, as your little lad who scarcely reaches your shoulder--
Though his heart was the heart of a veteran then, a trifle, it may be, bolder.

He pressed to the front, our lad so leal, and the works were almost won, A moment more and our flags had swung o'er the muzzle of murderous gun; But a raking fire swept the van, and he fell 'mid the wounded and slain, With his wee wan face turned up to Him who feeleth His children's pain.

Again and again our lines fell back, and again with shivering shocks They flung themselves on the rebels' works as ships are tossed on rocks; To be crushed and broken and scattered amain, as the wrecks of the

surging storm.


Where none may rue and none may reck of aught that has human form.

So under the ridge we were lying for the order to charge again, And we counted our comrades missing, and we counted our comrades slain; And one said, "Johnny, our Drummer Boy, is grievously shot and lies Just under the enemy's breastwork; if left on the field he dies."

Then all the blood that was in me surged up to my aching brow, And my heart leaped up like a ball in my throat--I can feel it even now, And I said I would bring that boy from the field, if God would spare my



If all the guns in Mission Ridge should thunder the threat of death.

I crept and crept up the ghastly ridge, by the wounded and the dead, With the moans of my comrades right and left, behind me and yet ahead, Till I came to the form of our Drummer Boy, in his blouse of dusty blue, With his face to the foe, 'neath the enemy's guns, where the blast of

the battle blew.

And his gaze as he met my own just there would have melted a heart of stone,
As he tried like a wounded bird to rise, and placed his hand in my own;
And he said in a voice half smothered, though its whispering thrills me yet,
"I think in a moment more that I would have stood on that parapet.

"But now I nevermore will climb, and, Sergeant, when you see The men go up those breastworks there, just stop and waken me; For though I cannot make the charge and join the cheers that rise, I may forget my pain to see the old flag kiss the skies."

Well, it was hard to treat him so, his poor limb shattered sore, But I raised him on my shoulder and to the surgeon bore; And the boys who saw us coming each gave a shout of joy, And uttered fervent prayers for him, our valiant Drummer Boy.

When sped the news that "Fighting Joe" had saved the Union right, With his legions fresh from Lookout; and that Thomas massed his might And forced the rebel center; and our cheering ran like wild; And Sherman's heart was happy as the heart of a little child;

When Grant from his lofty outlook saw our flags by the hundred fly Along the slopes of Mission Ridge, where'er he cast his eye; And when we heard the thrilling news of the mighty battle done, The fearful contest ended, and the glorious victory won;

Then his bright black eyes so yearning grew strangely rapt and wide, And in that hour of conquest our little hero died.
But ever in our hearts he dwells, with a grace that ne'er is old, For him the heart to duty wed can nevermore grow cold! And when they tell of heroes, and the laurels they have won, Of the scars they are doomed to carry, of the deeds that they have done; Of the horror to be biding among the ghastly dead,
The gory sod beneath them, the bursting shell o'erhead,

My heart goes back to Mission Ridge and the Drummer Boy who lay

With his face to the foe, 'neath the enemy's guns, in the charge of that terrible day;
And I say that the land that bears such sons is crowned and dowered with all
The dear God giveth nations to stay them lest they fall.

Oh, glory of Mission Ridge, stream on, like the roseate light of morn, On the sons that now are living, on the sons that are yet unborn! And cheers for our comrades living, and tears as they pass away! And three times three for the Drummer Boy who fought at the front that




If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating, And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream and not make dreams your master; If you can think and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken, And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch and toss.
And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with Kings nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you; If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

_Rudyard Kipling._


Second Table

Some boys are mad when comp'ny comes to stay for meals. They hate To have the other people eat while boys must wait and wait, But I've about made up my mind I'm different from the rest, For as for me, I b'lieve I like the second table best.

To eat along with comp'ny is so trying, for it's tough To sit and watch the victuals when you dassent touch the stuff. You see your father serving out the dark meat and the light Until a boy is sure he'll starve before he gets a bite.

And when, he asks you what you'll have,--you've heard it all before,-- You know you'll get just what you get and won't get nothing more; For, when you want another piece, your mother winks her eye, And so you say, "I've plenty, thanks!" and tell a whopping lie.

When comp'ny is a-watching you, you've got to be polite, And eat your victuals with a fork and take a little bite. You can't have nothing till you're asked and, 'cause a boy is small, Folks think he isn't hungry, and he's never asked at all.

Since I can first remember I've been told that when the cake Is passed around, the proper thing is for a boy to take The piece that's nearest to him, and so all I ever got, When comp'ny's been to our house, was the smallest in the lot.

It worries boys like everything to have the comp'ny stay A-setting round the table, like they couldn't get away.
But when they've gone, and left the whole big shooting match to me, Say! ain't it fun to just wade in and help myself? Oh, gee!

With no one round to notice what you're doing--bet your life!-- Boys don't use forks to eat with when they'd rather use a knife, Nor take such little bites as when they're eating with the rest And so, for lots of things, I like the second table best

_Nixon Waterman._


The Children

When the lessons and tasks are all ended, And the school for the day is dismissed,
And the little ones gather around me, To bid me good night and be kissed;
Oh, the little white arms that encircle My neck in their tender embrace!
Oh, the smiles that are halos of heaven, Shedding sunshine of love on my face!

And when they are gone, I sit dreaming Of my childhood, too lovely to last;
Of love that my heart will remember When it wakes to the pulse of the past,
Ere the world and its wickedness made me A partner of sorrow and sin,--
When the glory of God was about me, And the glory of gladness within.

All my heart grows weak as a woman's And the fountains of feeling will flow,
When I think of the paths steep and stony, Where the feet of the dear ones must go;
Of the mountains of sin hanging o'er them, Of the tempest of Fate blowing wild;
Oh, there's nothing on earth half so holy As the innocent heart of a child!

They are idols of hearts and of households; They are angels of God in disguise;
His sunlight still sleeps in their tresses, His glory still gleams in their eyes;
Oh, these truants from home and from heaven,-- They have made me more manly and mild;
And I know now how Jesus could liken
The kingdom of God to a child!

I ask not a life for the dear ones All radiant, as others have done,

But that life may have just enough shadow To temper the glare of the sun;
I would pray God to guard them from evil, But my prayer would bound back to myself;
Ah! a seraph may pray for a sinner,
But a sinner must pray for himself.

The twig is so easily bended,
I have banished the rule and the rod;
I have taught them the goodness of knowledge, They have taught me the goodness of God.
My heart is the dungeon of darkness,
Where I shut them for breaking a rule;
My frown is sufficient correction;
My love is the law of the school.

I shall leave the old house in the autumn, To traverse its threshold no more;
Ah! how shall I sigh for the dear ones That meet me each morn at the door!
I shall miss the "good nights" and the kisses, And the gush of their innocent glee.
The group on its green, and the flowers That are brought every morning to me.

I shall miss them at morn and at even, Their song in the school and the street;
I shall miss the low hum of their voices, And the tread of their delicate feet.
When the lessons of life are all ended, And death says, "The school is dismissed!"
May the little ones gather around me To bid me good night and be kissed!

_Charles M. Dickinson._


A Visit from St. Nicholas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads; And mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap,-- When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. The moon, on the breast of the new-fallen snow, Gave a luster of midday to objects below:
When what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer, With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled and shouted, and called them by name: "Now, Dasher! now Dancer! now, Prancer! now Vixen! On, Comet, on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!-- To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall! Now, dash away, dash sway, dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky, So, up to the house-top the coursers they flew, With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too, And then in a twinkling I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around, Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack. His eyes how they twinkled; his dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry; His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow. The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath. He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook, when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly. He was chubby and plump--a right jolly old elf-- And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself. A wink of his eye, and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread. He spake not a word, but went straight to his work, And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk, And laying his finger aside of his nose
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all flew like the down of a thistle; But I heard him exclaim, ere they drove out of sight, "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

_Clement C. Moore._ Your Mission

If you cannot on the ocean
Sail among the swiftest fleet,
Rocking on the highest billows, Laughing at the storms you meet,
You can stand among the sailors, Anchored yet within the bay,
You can lend a hand to help them, As they launch their boats away.

If you are too weak to journey Up the mountain steep and high,
You can stand within the valley, While the multitudes go by;
You can chant in happy measure, As they slowly pass along;
Though they may forget the singer, They will not forget the song.

If you have not gold and silver Ever ready to command,
If you cannot towards the needy Reach an ever-open hand,
You can visit the afflicted,
O'er the erring you can weep,
You can be a true disciple, Sitting at the Savior's feet.

If you cannot in the conflict,
Prove yourself a soldier true,
If where fire and smoke are thickest, There's no work for you to do,
When the battle-field is silent, You can go with careful tread,
You can bear away the wounded, You can cover up the dead.

Do not then stand idly waiting For some greater work to do,
Fortune is a lazy goddess, She will never come to you.
Go and toil in any vineyard, Do not fear to do or dare,
If you want a field of labor, You can find it anywhere.

_Ellen H. Gates._


The House by the Side of the Road

There are hermit souls that live withdrawn In the peace of their self-content;
There are souls, like stars, that dwell apart, In a fellowless firmament;
There are pioneer souls that blaze their paths Where highways never ran;
But let me live by the side of the road And be a friend to man.

Let me live in a house by the side of the road, Where the race of men go by,
The men who are good and the men who are bad, As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner's seat,
Or hurl the cynic's ban;
Let me live in a house by the side of the road And be a friend to man.

I see from my house by the side of the road, By the side of the highway of life,
The men who press with the ardor of hope, The men who are faint with the strife.
But I turn not away from their smiles nor their tears, Both parts of an infinite plan;
Let me live in my house by the side of the road And be a friend to man.

I know there are brook-gladdened meadows ahead And mountains of wearisome height;
That the road passes on through the long afternoon And stretches away to the night.
But still I rejoice when the travelers rejoice, And weep with the strangers that moan.
Nor live in my house by the side of the road Like a man who dwells alone.

Let me live in my house by the side of the road
Where the race of men go by;
They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong, Wise, foolish--so am I.
Then why should I sit in the scorner's seat, Or hurl the cynic's ban?
Let me live in my house by the side of the road And be a friend to man.

_Sam Walter Foss._


Asleep at the Switch


The first thing that I remember was Carlo tugging away,

With the sleeve of my coat fast in his teeth, pulling, as much as to say:
"Come, master, awake, attend to the switch, lives now depend upon you.
Think of the souls in the coming train, and the graves you are sending them to.
Think of the mother and the babe at her breast, think of the father and son,
Think of the lover and the loved one too, think of them doomed every one
To fall (as it were by your very hand) into yon fathomless ditch,
Murdered by one who should guard them from harm, who now lies asleep at the switch."

I sprang up amazed--scarce knew where I stood, sleep had o'ermastered me so;
I could hear the wind hollowly howling, and the deep river dashing below,
I could hear the forest leaves rustling, as the trees by the tempest were fanned,
But what was that noise in the distance? That, I could not understand.
I heard it at first indistinctly, like the rolling of some muffled drum,
Then nearer and nearer it came to me, till it made my very ears hum;
What is this light that surrounds me and seems to set fire to my brain?
What whistle's that, yelling so shrill? Ah! I know now; it's the train.

We often stand facing some danger, and seem to take root to the place;

So I stood--with this demon before me, its heated breath scorching my face;
Its headlight made day of the darkness, and glared like the eyes of some witch,--
The train was almost upon me before I remembered the switch.
I sprang to it, seizing it wildly, the train dashing fast down the track;
The switch resisted my efforts, some devil seemed holding it back;
On, on came the fiery-eyed monster, and shot by my face like a flash;
I swooned to the earth the next moment, and knew nothing after the crash.

How long I lay there unconscious 'twas impossible for me to tell; My stupor was almost a heaven, my waking almost a hell,-- For then I heard the piteous moaning and shrieking of husbands and wives, And I thought of the day we all shrink from, when I must account for

their lives;
Mothers rushed by me like maniacs, their eyes glaring madly and wild; Fathers, losing their courage, gave way to their grief like a child; Children searching for parents, I noticed, as by me they sped, And lips, that could form naught but "Mamma," were calling for one

perhaps dead.

My mind was made up in a moment, the river should hide me away, When, under the still burning rafters I suddenly noticed there lay A little white hand; she who owned it was doubtless an object of love To one whom her loss would drive frantic, though she guarded him now

from above;
I tenderly lifted the rafters and quietly laid them one side; How little she thought of her journey when she left for this dark, fatal


I lifted the last log from off her, and while searching for some spark of life,
Turned her little face up in the starlight, and recognized--Maggie, my wife!

O Lord! my scourge is a hard one, at a blow thou hast shattered my pride; My life will be one endless nightmare, with Maggie away from my side. How often I'd sat down and pictured the scenes in our long, happy life; How I'd strive through all my lifetime, to build up a home for my wife; How people would envy us always in our cozy and neat little nest; How I should do all the labor, and Maggie should all the day rest; How one of God's blessings might cheer us, how some day I perhaps should

be rich:--


But all of my dreams had been shattered, while I lay there asleep at the switch!

I fancied I stood on my trial, the jury and judge I could see; And every eye in the court room was steadily fixed upon me; And fingers were pointed in scorn, till I felt my face blushing blood-red, And the next thing I heard were the words, "Hanged by the neck until


Then I felt myself pulled once again, and my hand caught tight hold of a dress,
And I heard, "What's the matter, dear Jim? You've had a bad nightmare, I guess!"
And there stood Maggie, my wife, with never a scar from the ditch,
I'd been taking a nap in my bed, and had not been "asleep at the switch."

_George Hoey._ Each in His Own Tongue

A fire-mist and a planet,
A crystal and a cell,
A jellyfish and a saurian,
And caves where the cavemen dwell;
Then a sense of law and beauty, And a face turned from the clod,--
Some call it Evolution,
And others call it God.

A haze in the far horizon,
The infinite, tender sky;
The ripe, rich tints of the cornfields, And the wild geese sailing high;
And all over upland and lowland The charm of the goldenrod,--
Some of us call it Nature,
And others call it God.

Like tides on a crescent sea-beach, When the moon is new and thin,
Into our hearts high yearnings Come welling and surging in,--
Come from the mystic ocean. Whose rim no foot has trod,--
Some of us call it Longing,
And others call it God.

A picket frozen on duty,

A mother starved for her brood,
Socrates drinking the hemlock,
And Jesus on the rood;
The millions who, humble and nameless,
The straight, hard pathway trod,-- Some call it Consecration,
And others call it God.

_William Herbert Carruth._


How Cyrus Laid the Cable

Come, listen all unto my song; It is no silly fable;
'Tis all about the mighty cord They call the Atlantic Cable.

Bold Cyrus Field he said, says he, I have a pretty notion
That I can run the telegraph Across the Atlantic Ocean.

Then all the people laughed, and said They'd like to see him do it;
He might get half-seas over, but He never could go through it;

To carry out his foolish plan He never would be able;
He might as well go hang himself With his Atlantic Cable.

But Cyrus was a valiant man, A fellow of decision;
And heeded not their mocking words, Their laughter and derision.

Twice did his bravest efforts fail, And yet his mind was stable;
He wa'n't the man to break his heart Because he broke his cable.

"Once more, my gallant boys!" he cried; "_Three times!_--you know the fable,--
(_I'll make it thirty_," muttered he, "But I will lay this cable!")

Once more they tried--hurrah! hurrah! What means this great commotion?
The Lord be praised! the cable's laid Across the Atlantic Ocean.

Loud ring the bells,--for, flashing through Six hundred leagues of water,
Old Mother England's benison
Salutes her eldest daughter.

O'er all the land the tidings speed, And soon, in every nation,
They'll hear about the cable with Profoundest admiration!

* * * * *


And may we honor evermore The manly, bold, and stable;


And tell our sons, to make them brave, How Cyrus laid the cable.


_John G. Saxe._


Jane Jones

Jane Jones keeps talkin' to me all the time, An' says you must make it a rule
To study your lessons 'nd work hard 'nd learn, An' never be absent from school.
Remember the story of Elihu Burritt,
An' how he clum up to the top,
Got all the knowledge 'at he ever had
Down in a blacksmithing shop?
Jane Jones she honestly said it was so! Mebbe he did--
I dunno!
O' course what's a-keepin' me 'way from the top,
Is not never havin' no blacksmithing shop.

She said 'at Ben Franklin was awfully poor, But full of ambition an' brains;
An' studied philosophy all his hull life, An' see what he got for his pains!
He brought electricity out of the sky, With a kite an' a bottle an' key,
An' we're owing him more'n any one else For all the bright lights 'at we see.
Jane Jones she honestly said it was so! Mebbe he did--
I dunno!
O' course what's allers been hinderin' me
Is not havin' any kite, lightning er key.

Jane Jones said Abe Lincoln had no books at all, An' used to split rails when a boy;
An' General Grant was a tanner by trade
An' lived 'way out in Illinois.
So when the great war in the South first broke out He stood on the side o' the right,
An' when Lincoln called him to take charge o' things, He won nearly every blamed fight.
Jane Jones she honestly said it was so!
Mebbe he did--
I dunno!
Still I ain't to blame, not by a big