TO THE WALKING-STICK OF MY DEAD FRIEND
To my hand thou com’st at last,
Wand of ebon, tipped with gold,—
Often carried in the past
By a hand that now lies cold
In his grave beyond the sea,
Many thousand miles from me.
Faithful staff! for many years
Thou didst travel far and wide
Through a life of smiles and tears,—
Rarely absent from his side,
As the light of day for him
Grew pathetically dim.
When with thee he walked abroad,
Every crossing, every stair
By thy touch was first explored,
Ere his feet were planted there,
With a sort of rhythmic beat
On the pavement of the street.
Hence, when brought to face the gloom
Of a way, to all unknown,
Called to leave his sunlit room
For death’s darkness, quite alone,
He instinctively again
Called to mind his faithful cane.
To whose grasp should it descend,
Since with him it could not go?
Surely no one save a friend
Would receive and prize it so!
Thus to me wast thou bequeathed,
To console a heart bereaved.
Friendship’s gift, belovd wand!
Thou shalt likewise go with me
To the shore of the Beyond,
To the dark, untravelled sea;
Only left upon the strand,
When my bark puts forth from land.
Behind a laughing waterfall
There lies a little fount of tears,
Deep, dark, and rarely seen at all
By those the sparkling torrent cheers.
Beneath a suit of armor bright,
Shaft-proof and burnished, hard and cold,
There beats, concealed from common sight,
A tender woman’s heart of gold!
To Mr. and Mrs. A.H.S., Brussels
BIRDS OF PASSAGE
Two homeless birds, fatigued by flight,
Have rested on the Belgian shore;
And now, at the approach of night,
Must spread their wings, and fly once more.
Two others, when they saw them come
From out the dark and stormy west,
Conveyed them to their pleasant home,
And fed and warmed them, breast to breast.
Dear Birds of Brussels, do not crave
The long, long route by which we came;
More safe than any restless wave
The sheltered nest of Auderghem.
Henceforth, however far we roam,
’Neath clouds that chill, or suns that burn,
The memory of your lovely home
Will make us certain to return.
For, stronger than the subtle spell
That homeward draws the carrier-dove,
Are the sweet bonds that clearly tell
Of Friendship welded into Love.
TO M.C. OF ATHENS
Son of the race that gave the world its best,
Of ancient Greece a noble type thou art,—
An Attic spirit transferred to the West,
The blood of Hellas pulsing at thy heart;
In homage to thyself and to thy land,
Accept, I pray, these simple lines of mine;
To one I offer both my heart and hand,
Before the other kneel, as at a shrine.