As they who watch by sick-beds find relief Unwittingly from the great stress of grief And anxious care, in fantasies outwrought From the hearth's embers flickering low, or caught From whispering wind, or tread of passing feet, Or vagrant memory calling up some sweet Snatch of old song or romance, whence or why They scarcely know or ask,--so, thou and I, Nursed in the faith that Truth alone is strong In the endurance which outwearies Wrong, With meek persistence baffling brutal force, And trusting God against the universe,-- We, doomed to watch a strife we may not share With other weapons than the patriot's prayer, Yet owning, with full hearts and moistened eyes, The awful beauty of self-sacrifice, And wrung by keenest sympathy for all Who give their loved ones for the living wall 'Twixt law and treason,--in this evil day May haply find, through automatic play Of pen and pencil, solace to our pain, And hearten others with the strength we gain. I know it has been said our times require No play of art, nor dalliance with the lyre, No weak essay with Fancy's chloroform To calm the hot, mad pulses of the storm, But the stern war-blast rather, such as sets The battle's teeth of serried bayonets, And pictures grim as Vernet's. Yet with these Some softer tints may blend, and milder keys Relieve the storm-stunned ear. Let us keep sweet, If so we may, our hearts, even while we eat The bitter harvest of our own device And half a century's moral cowardice. As Nurnberg sang while Wittenberg defied, And Kranach painted by his Luther's side, And through the war-march of the Puritan The silver stream of Marvell's music ran, So let the household melodies be sung, The pleasant pictures on the wall be hung-- So let us hold against the hosts of night And slavery all our vantage-ground of light. Let Treason boast its savagery, and shake From its flag-folds its symbol rattlesnake, Nurse its fine arts, lay human skins in tan, And carve its pipe-bowls from the bones of man, And make the tale of Fijian banquets dull By drinking whiskey from a loyal skull,-- But let us guard, till this sad war shall cease, (God grant it soon!) the graceful arts of peace No foes are conquered who the victors teach Their vandal manners and barbaric speech. And while, with hearts of thankfulness, we bear Of the great common burden our full share, Let none upbraid us that the waves entice Thy sea-dipped pencil, or some quaint device, Rhythmic, and sweet, beguiles my pen away From the sharp strifes and sorrows of to-day. Thus, while the east-wind keen from Labrador Sings it the leafless elms, and from the shore Of the great sea comes the monotonous roar Of the long-breaking surf, and all the sky Is gray with cloud, home-bound and dull, I try To time a simple legend to the sounds Of winds in the woods, and waves on pebbled bounds,-- A song for oars to chime with, such as might Be sung by tired sea-painters, who at night Look from their hemlock camps, by quiet cove Or beach, moon-lighted, on the waves they love. (So hast thou looked, when level sunset lay On the calm bosom of some Eastern bay, And all the spray-moist rocks and waves that rolled Up the white sand-slopes flashed with ruddy gold.) Something it has--a flavor of the sea, And the sea's freedom--which reminds of thee. Its faded picture, dimly smiling down From the blurred fresco of the ancient town, I have not touched with warmer tints in vain, If, in this dark, sad year, it steals one thought from pain. . . . . . . . . . . . . Her fingers shame the ivory keys They dance so light along; The bloom upon her parted lips Is sweeter than the song. O perfumed suitor, spare thy smiles! Her thoughts are not of thee; She better loves the salted wind, The voices of the sea. Her heart is like an outbound ship That at its anchor swings; The murmur of the stranded shell Is in the song she sings. She sings, and, smiling, hears her praise, But dreams the while of one Who watches from his sea-blown deck The icebergs in the sun. She questions all the winds that blow, And every fog-wreath dim, And bids the sea-birds flying north Bear messages to him. She speeds them with the thanks of men He perilled life to save, And grateful prayers like holy oil To smooth for him the wave. Brown Viking of the fishing-smack! Fair toast of all the town!-- The skipper's jerkin ill beseems The lady's silken gown! But ne'er shall Amy Wentworth wear For him the blush of shame Who dares to set his manly gifts Against her ancient name. The stream is brightest at its spring, And blood is not like wine; Nor honored less than he who heirs Is he who founds a line. Full lightly shall the prize be won, If love be Fortune's spur; And never maiden stoops to him Who lifts himself to her. Her home is brave in Jaffrey Street, With stately stairways worn By feet of old Colonial knights And ladies gentle-born. Still green about its ample porch The English ivy twines, Trained back to show in English oak The herald's carven signs. And on her, from the wainscot old, Ancestral faces frown,-- And this has worn the soldier's sword, And that the judge's gown. But, strong of will and proud as they, She walks the gallery floor As if she trod her sailor's deck By stormy Labrador. The sweetbrier blooms on Kittery-side, And green are Elliot's bowers; Her garden is the pebbled beach, The mosses are her flowers. She looks across the harbor-bar To see the white gulls fly; His greeting from the Northern sea Is in their clanging cry. She hums a song, and dreams that he, As in its romance old, Shall homeward ride with silken sails And masts of beaten gold! Oh, rank is good, and gold is fair, And high and low mate ill; But love has never known a law Beyond its own sweet will!
Five Homely Songs [incomplete]
Song Cycle by Rupert Hughes (1872 - 1956)
?. Amy Wentworth  [sung text not yet checked]
- by John Greenleaf Whittier (1807 - 1892), "Amy Wentworth", appears in In War-Time, and Other Poems, first published 1864 [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
2. Gone  [sung text not yet checked]
Everybody loved Chick Lorimer in our town. Far off Everybody loved her. So we all love a wild girl keeping a hold On a dream she wants. Nobody knows now where Chick Lorimer went. Nobody knows why she packed her trunk. . a few old things And is gone, Gone with her little chin Thrust ahead of her And her soft hair blowing careless From under a wide hat, Dancer, singer, a laughing passionate lover. Were there ten men or a hundred hunting Chick? Were there five men or fifty with aching hearts? Everybody loved Chick Lorimer. Nobody knows where she's gone.
- by Carl Sandburg (1878 - 1967), "Gone", appears in Chicago Poems, first published 1916 [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
See other settings of this text.Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]